The centerpiece of the 650S Spider is a mid-mounted 3.8-liter V8 engine that uses two turbochargers to generate 650 horsepower and 500 lb-ft. of torque between 3,000 and 7,000 rpms. McLaren says the 650S can accelerate to 62 mph from a stop in three seconds flat and a reach a track-worthy top speed of 204 mph.
Power is transferred to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission called Seamless Shift Gearbox (SSG). It features a Pre-Cog (short for pre-cognition) system that cuts down on shift times by enabling to preselect the next gear of a downshift or upshift by half-pressing one of the shift paddles.
Like all members of McLaren's current lineup, the 650S Spider is crafted largely out of lightweight materials such as carbon fiber, aluminum and SMC plastics. It tips the scale at just 3,070 pounds, 88 pounds more than its coupe counterpart.
Looking the Part
It doesn't take a well-trained eye to spot the visual similarities between the 650S Spider and the MP4-12C Spider as both cars share the same overall silhouette in addition to several body panels. The 650S' design stands out thanks to a unique front fascia with boomerang-shaped head lights that are noticeably inspired by the sold-out P1 hybrid supercar.
Moving past the front end, the 12C's gill-shaped air vents have been replaced by one large vent on each side, while the rear end is carried over from the 12C to the 650S with only minor modifications such as a new bumper.
650S Spider owners can take advantage of sunny weather thanks to a two-piece retractable hard top that folds up or down in 17 seconds at the push of a button. It is possible to raise or lower the top at speeds of up to 19 mph.
Interestingly, the heated rear window can be operated independently in order to let the engine's growl into the cabin even if the retractable hard top is up.
Like the coupe, the 650S Spider is equipped with a large spoiler called Active Airbrake that automatically deploys at a 32-degree angle when sensors indicate the car needs extra downforce or under heavy braking.
Step inside and it becomes immediately evident the 650S is as well-appointed as big-name luxury sedans in spite of its performance-focused nature. The convertible offers seating for two passengers on supportive bucket seats upholstered with Alcantara.
The cockpit is dominated by a slanted center console that houses several buttons and a large screen that groups the car's navigation, connectivity and entertainment functions into a single unit. The high-tech treatment continues behind the flat-bottomed three-spoke steering wheel with a fully digital instrument cluster that can be configured to provide a host of information about the car and its surroundings.
Options include additional paint colors, different alloy wheel designs, a sport exhaust, a Meridian surround sound system, a height-adjustable suspension that raises the ground clearance to avoid scraping the front end on steep driveways and a wide variety of carbon fiber trim pieces inside, outside and in the engine bay.
The 650S Spider comes standard with front, side curtain and knee airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems.
For those who want a car with mighty performance, a folding roof and double-take-inducing looks, alternatives to the 650S Spider include the Ferrari 488 Spider and the Lamborghini Huracan Spyder.