McLaren 650S – Life as a Daily Driver

I have been using a McLaren 650S Spider as my daily driver for the last 2 ½ years. I was originally quite hesitant to trade in the last of our McLaren 12C Spider’s for the 650S Spider. I really was not sure the upgrade would be worth the cost of exchange as the 2014 model year 12C was already very very good. Having owned three 12C’s, the difference between the early 2012 and late 2014 was significant. Looking back 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 better at everything it does. The other bonus has been the 650S’ 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 been tantrum free and the Bluetooth phone connection almost works well. During this same period, we have had three major issues with the allegedly bullet-proof Porsche Cayenne. The maintenance costs on the 650S have been less than half vs. the Cayenne.

In its role as a daily driver, the 650S continues to perform with distinction. The short stretch of highway I take on my daily commute seems to be under constant construction which 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. I have never arrived at a destination in the 650S feeling like I have been beaten up. The never ending construction has also resulted in a couple of the ramps connecting the two highways I use being cut to one lane. The resulting corners are now quite tight and nearly everyone takes the ramps at 30 mph which is quite tricky as you then get dropped into traffic moving at 60+ mph. The 650S handles these corners easily at 50+ mph which makes for a much more comfortable situation.
The McLaren 650S Spider continues to show just how far supercars have come in terms of both reliability and usability. In the searing late summer heat, the temperature gauge never rises above normal, it never fails to immediately start up, the air-conditioning works, and it never hesitates when you want to suddenly unleash it should traffic open up. In winter, the rear always remains planted and the heated seats immediately take any chill off. 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.

On top of being the daily driver, the 650S has become our default choice for Sunday outings, airport runs, and even smaller supermarket trips. Whoever designed the front boot 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 here bouncing all over the place the last couple of months, the McLaren’s brilliance in both coupe and spider configurations has made it an easy choice for weekend duty.
My current plan is to keep using the 650S as my daily driver for the foreseeable future. The initial plan was to trade in the 650S when we took delivery of the 720S last November. After a bit of debate with Mrs. SSO, it was the Ferrari 599 GTB HGTE that got the axe. We both agreed that the 650S was just too good to let go of at this point.

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February 2018

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