McLaren 650S Spider: 3 1/2 years as my Daily Driver

I was originally quite hesitant to trade the McLaren 12C Spider in for the 650S Spider.  I really was not sure the upgrade would be worth the cost as the 12C was already very good.  After nearly 4 years now, I am delighted I took the plunge.  While none of the changes are dramatic, together they add up to a car that is simply a little bit better at everything it does.  The other bonus has been complete reliability and a noticeable lack of any unexpected mystery warning lights that are such a staple of the Ferrari experience.  Even the notorious IRIS entertainment system has never thrown a tantrum.  At one point we discussed retiring the 650S Spider from its daily duties and turning those over to our 720S.  However, given how great the 650S Spider has been I couldn’t see the point of making the switch and so it continues on as my daily transport.

In terms of my expectations for any daily driver; it is reliability, comfort from both a ride quality and internal ergonomics standpoint, a decent stereo, boot space for at least a couple of bags, and the ability to deliver the joy of driving should the opportunity present itself.  Against these expectations, the McLaren 650S continues to perform with distinction.  The short stretch of highway I take on my daily commute has been under construction for over 3 years now and the work has left the road surface quite chewed up in places.  While I can see other cars bouncing around, the McLaren suspension soaks it all up and remains well planted.  The construction has also resulted in one of the hairpin ramps connecting two of the highways being cut to one lane before it drops you right into the oncoming flow. Given the tightness of the corner, nearly everyone takes the ramp at 25-30 mph which is quite a challenge as you need to then merge with traffic moving at 60+ mph.   The 650S handles the ramp easily at 40+ mph and within a second of hitting the merge point, it is up past 60 mph.

On top of being my daily driver, the 650S Spider is now the default choice for everything from airport runs to supermarket trips.  Its versatility has allowed us to ship the Porsche Cayenne up to our ski house as its just no longer needed for the weekend chore runs.  Whoever designed the front boot on the 650S did a great job as it easily swallows not only a cart full of groceries but also any bag that will fit in the overhead bin on a plane. With the mercury in March now starting to bounce all over the place, the McLaren 650S Spider has seen plenty of time recently in both coupe and spider configuration.

The 650S Spider continues to show just how far supercars have come in terms of both reliability and usability.  In the searing mid-summer Texas heat, the temperature gauge has never risen above normal.  The 650S has never failed to start, and it never hesitates when you want to suddenly unleash it should the opportunity present itself.  The one surprising negative though has been the discovery on what happens when the car is left parked in the scorching sun for an extended period.  The glue under the dash headliner vaporizes and leaves a nasty, very difficult to remove, film on the windscreen.  Having made this mistake once, we now always hunt for shade when parking.  Overall though, the McLaren 650S Spider continues to be the best supercar daily driver I have ever had.  Looking at recent prices, the 650S is becoming quite the bargain. My guess is you could now run one as a daily driver for a few years and lose less in depreciation than you would on a new Mercedes or BMW.  I know which one I would want to be climbing into every morning.

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March 2019

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5 Thoughts on McLaren 650S Spider: 3 1/2 years as my Daily Driver
    31 Mar 2019

    Nice long term review. How would you compare the 650S with the 570S?

    6 Apr 2019

    It’s clearly a fantastic car. I also get the feeling you’re slightly underwhelmed by the 720, is that correct?

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