McLaren has been a racing powerhouse for 50 years, but they’re a relative newcomer to the consumer supercar scene. Their F1 was produced from 1992 to 1998; a limited run of 375 P1 absurdities sold out in 2013. It was just three years ago that their MP4-12C ripped onto the stage, a rocket that hit the apex on its head with its first try. Now it’s dead. Before you get upset, know this: its replacement, the 650S, is better by a fair clip.
McLaren’s new beast leans heavily on both the MP4-12C — its engine and chassis are the same in many ways — but its genetics are also closer to the brand’s P1 monstrosity than the 12C ever was. As McLaren’s Head of Project Jamie Corstophine told us, the 650S’s place in the family gives it close ties to the 12C in terms of features with a few major divergences (exhaust, springs, aerodynamics and downforce numbers); the application of those features was largely inspired by McLaren’s racing program and the P1. The blend makes for a supercar that’s wicked fast yet eminently drivable (and pretty damn good looking, too). If you’re both a rich playboy driver and a late-night TV fan, take heed: Jay Leno logged 1,100 miles in his in just two weeks. Anything that can put the prolific stand-up guy in a seat for that long bears further inspection. We do so above.