McLaren 650S Spider: 4 Years as my Daily Driver

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September 30, 2019
Too Much of a Good Thing?
October 31, 2019

It has now been over four years since the McLaren 650S Spider became my daily driver.  It gets used every day regardless of the weather.  It’s spent plenty of time in the boiling Texas summer sun, been driven through light snow, handled ice, and survived plenty of thunderstorms without ever putting a foot wrong. For the majority of its life it’s been subject to short drives, lots of traffic and some pretty crappy roads.  It’s really only this year that the 650S Spider had a chance to really stretch its legs on some longer drives, including the recent trip from Texas to Massachusetts.

There is a perception in some corners that supercars are fragile machines that need special pampering constantly to stay in good condition.  This is anything but the case with the 650S Spider.  In our four plus years together, it gets valeted once a year, washed on a semi regular basis, and the interior is vacuumed out about every 6-8 weeks.  This is no different from how the Porsche Cayenne S or Mercedes ML550 get treated. Despite the lack of being wrapped in cashmere every night after being feather dusted daily, the interior looks as good as it did the day I picked up the car at McLaren Dallas.  The paint work has also held up extremely well and a close inspection found only two very small stone chips on the front nose.  We opted not to have paint protection film applied when we purchased the 650S Spider and in this case, on a cost vs. benefit basis, I’m glad we didn’t.  The only other battle scar the 650S Spider has picked up is one lightly curbed wheel thanks to the lunar surface like roads of Dallas.  It was about $200 to repair.

In terms of my expectations for any daily driver; reliability is job #1.  Here the McLaren 650S Spider has been perfect.  It has never left me stranded and has been devoid of random warning lights that excel at driving blood pressure up unnecessarily.  The only times it has seen the McLaren service center is for its four annual services.  I’ve never had to add either oil or coolant between services but do check the levels on a semi regular basis.  The wheels hold air pressure well and only need a small top up once a quarter.  There have been a couple of recalls but all have been performed when the car was in for its annual service and none where for items I ever noticed.  The only quirk I have run across is related to Iris, the infotainment system.  It seems to have a massive distaste for large capacity Scandisk USB drives.  If you insert a 64GB or large drive it crashes.  Replace the USB drive with a smaller capacity one and Iris reverts to normal.  

In terms of living with the 650S Spider on a day in day out basis, getting in and out of the car is a learned skill and easy once you have mastered it.  The magical McLaren suspension soaks up imperfections in the road surface better than anything else in its class.  Boot space is decent with room for at least a couple of duffle bags or a week’s worth of groceries.

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.  During the recent cross-country road trip we ran into a major traffic jam five hours into the drive.  Despite going from hours of running at high speed to suddenly zero, the 650S Spider sat for over an hour far more calmly than the driver.  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.  

Overall though, the McLaren 650S Spider continues to be the best daily driver, and not just best supercar daily driver, I have ever had.  The currently plan is to at least continue using it in this capacity for at least the next several years.  In terms of both comfort and reliability, it has been outstanding.

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October 2019

1 Comment

  1. […] For the record, McLaren does not do either BOGOFs (buy one get one free) or gifts with purchase like most UK based retailers.   While I did hint that either would be highly appreciated, I was very politely informed that McLaren trading approach is very different to Tesco’s or Sainsburys.  In fact, these two acquisitions were not related, and it was only a coincidence that the delivery timing on the cars happened to overlap.  The P1 had been in the works for quite some time and the deal on the 650S Spider came together in just a few days.  At the time I wasn’t even looking to trade the year old 12C Spider for a 650S Spider but a very persuasive McLaren Sales Manager convinced me of the significant merits to do so.  Looking back, I’m very glad I did and the 650S Spider has been a terrific daily driver for the past 4 ½ years (650S Spider Daily Driver).  […]

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