As we have finished the service cycle for our McLaren’s this year, I thought it would be a good time to update the article on reliability. This year, more so than any in the past, we really put the cars to the test. On top of its duties as my daily driver, the McLaren 650S Spider also got to stretch its legs on a 2,000 mile road trip from Dallas to Boston. The 675LT Spider spent several months being run hard in the mountains and then was called to duty for a 2,750 mile road trip from Montana to California. The Senna arrived in June and has seen plenty of road time lately. As the Senna and I continue to bond, I can only see this growing once the season of snow, salt, and ice passes. Of our four McLaren’s the only one that has had a quiet year is the 720S for reasons that will be explained in an upcoming article.
McLaren #5 – 2015 650S Spider: This car has been my daily driver for the last 4 ½ years now. No issues and only time it has been back to the dealership is for its yearly service. There have been a couple of minor recalls, all of which have been handled as part of the annual service. This year we also replaced all four tires and did a full wheel alignment. Four years of driving around the lunar surface like roads of Dallas had not be kind to either. The only other very minor tantrum the 650S Spider has thrown was over a dislike for 64GB Scandisk USB drives. When I tried to use one with the IRIS infotainment system it repeatedly crashed. Once I swapped the 64GB USB drive for the 32GB drive I had been using prior, IRIS immediately returned to life.
McLaren #6 – 2016 675LT Spider: This car has done multiple 1000+ miles road trips and been driven hard in the mountains its entire life. The 675LT Spider has never had a single issue and it’s only has seen the inside of the workshop for its annual services. Like the 650S Spider, a few minor recalls have been taken care of during the annual visits to the McLaren service center. To date the largest cost has been this year’s windshield replacement. The damage was caused by a rock that flew off the back of a large dump truck in Pennsylvania. It sounded like a gun shot when it hit the windshield.
McLaren #7 – 2018 720S: Never had a single problem and it just had its second completely routine annual service.
McLaren #8 – 2019 Senna: The Senna just arrived in June. So far, it’s had one recall item that was prompt taken care of.
In summary, we have now owned 8 McLarens, including 4 currently, over the past 8 years. Two have been used as daily drivers over the last six years. None of the McLarens have ever left us stranded and they have been by far the most reliable cars we have owned over the past couple of decades.
Recently I have had quite a few people reach out and ask me about McLaren’s reliability. I thought this was a bit odd so I checked to see what might be driving this sudden onslaught of queries. Apparently, a few vloggers have recently posted videos on YouTube bashing McLaren and complaining of major reliability issues. To be honest, I haven’t watched any of the videos as I don’t spend any time on YouTube. Hence I really don’t have any idea what the issues being pontificated upon are. What I do know is what our experience has been across 7 different McLarens in both the UK & US in the last 7 years ( https://karenable.com/my-mclaren-history/). Of the 7 McLarens we have owned, 3 are still in our stewardship, and we have put close to 80,000 miles on this collective group. In terms of issues and servicing, our history is:
McLaren #1 – 2013 RHD 12C Spider: This is the only McLaren we have owned that had steel brakes. I made the mistake of washing it once and putting it away with the brake discs still wet. The right rear caliper froze on the disc and we had to flatbed it to the service center to get it released. Also upgraded the infotainment system from IRIS v1 to v2 as the v1 was pretty useless. Only other time this 12C saw the service center was for its annual service.
McLaren #2 – 2012 LHD 12C Coupe: The only issue I ever had with the 12C Coupe was a faulty left front tire sensor. I had to take the car in twice before it was finally rectified. For most of my ownership, this 12C lived in Germany and spent many high-speed hours on the autobahn.
McLaren #3 – 2014 LHD 12C Spider: The only issue we ever had with our final 12C Spider was a temperature sensor that needed replacing. The car was out of service for a day. Other than that, it only saw the dealership for its annual checkup. This 12C Spider was my daily driver for a bit over a year.
McLaren #4 – 2015 P1: We had two issues with the P1, a loose rear side turn signal light and the IRIS Infotainment System failed and needed to be replaced. Other than that, it was just routine annual service.
McLaren #5 – 2015 650S Spider: This car has been my daily driver for the last 3 ½ years. No issues and only time it has been back to the dealership is for its yearly service.
McLaren #6 – 2016 675LT Spider: This car has done a few 1,500 miles road trips and been driven hard up in the mountains. Never had a single issue and it only has seen the inside of the workshop for its annual services.
McLaren #7 – 2018 720S: Never had a single problem and it just had its first completely routine annual service.
In summary, we did have a few minor issues with the early McLarens. None of these I would consider even remotely concerning, serious, or out of the ordinary. The later McLarens have all been poster children for reliability. I also have never had to add a single drop of oil or coolant to any of the McLarens that we have owned. When I compare this list to a similar one for other manufacturers, McLaren’s build quality and reliability has certainly been best in class in my experience.
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