Living with a McLaren 650s Spider as an (almost) daily

Living with a McLaren 650s Spider as an (almost) daily

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isaldiri

4,838 posts

113 months

Tuesday 3rd September
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jamieo said:
I think I get about 16-17mpg in general for my 650. My 675 actually does a bit better but still under 20, and I’ve even had some longer motorway runs over 30!
Somewhat unbelieveably the 675 really does have better mpg than the 650/12c. Damned if I know how Mclaren managed it.

If you're putting your foot down though, the various Mclarens will absolutely drink fuel despite being remarkably frugal on the motorway (30+ quite possible then). On track I used to get 4 ish mpg on my old 12c..... So the 70 or so litre fuel tank really is a tad small and a 90l one would have been very welcome.

David W.

1,421 posts

154 months

Tuesday 3rd September
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apmcconv said:
Please don’t give up on this thread. There are some non-owners (myself included) following your journey and enjoying the frank and honest ownership experience. I am planning to own one shortly.
+1 to the two views as above. Many “viewers” will be thinking about stepping up to a Mac from other marques and are already walking the walk with you in sprit.

MAC 720S

523 posts

92 months

Tuesday 3rd September
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isaldiri said:
Somewhat unbelieveably the 675 really does have better mpg than the 650/12c. Damned if I know how Mclaren managed it.

If you're putting your foot down though, the various Mclarens will absolutely drink fuel despite being remarkably frugal on the motorway (30+ quite possible then). On track I used to get 4 ish mpg on my old 12c..... So the 70 or so litre fuel tank really is a tad small and a 90l one would have been very welcome.
The 720S puts Oliver Reed to shame. My average is approx 14 mpg. I am heavy with the right foot and tend to go for blasts around the countryside. I am forever filling it up.

davek_964

Original Poster:

5,866 posts

120 months

Wednesday 4th September
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This evening, I think I had my most enjoyable drive in the car.
There was nothing special about the journey - it was about 8 miles, probably 5 of which were out of town. I didn't drive quickly - although as I've mentioned before, 'not quickly' still seems to mean something a bit different in this car.

It was basically just a 'normal drive'. The sun was shining and the roof was down. Stereo was turned up - and actually is much better than my first impressions. Give it a bit of volume and it sounds clear, detailed and very good. Bit light on bass compared to the Aston, but I'm much happier with it than I was.

Beginning to feel very comfortable with the car. McLaren have said they will fully refurb the wheels, which means it will be off the road for a week - will get that sorted in a month or so.

The cost of the McLaren warranty has been mentioned recently on Justin's thread and it was a concern I had before buying. But it is comprehensive - I know that if anything breaks on my car, the warranty will take care of it. Of course I would be even happier if it cost £1.50 - but it is far more comprehensive than the competition which people claim are cheaper (a Ferrari owner posted recently that his extended warranty did not cover his failing convertible roof) and I must admit, I sleep better at night knowing I've got it.

First impressions of the car are definitely still positive.

The Surveyor

6,819 posts

182 months

Thursday 5th September
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Good to hear they are sorting those wheels out for you.

I'm really enjoying your thread so please keep updating, it's good to have such a honestly documented thread on here.


davek_964

Original Poster:

5,866 posts

120 months

Sunday 8th September
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The last few days have seen a mix of use.

A few days ago, I used it for the first time in proper rain, on properly wet roads. I guess it's not the same as the middle of winter on freezing roads, but even so - it really shouldn't be that easy to drive a ~650bhp car in the rain. Much much easier than my less powerful 360, much easier than the Aston it replaced. It really is a very useable daily car.

Having said that - and despite how easy it is to drive - take it for granted, and it bites. There is a road I travel regularly on the way to the g/f's - at a slow roundabout the road becomes two lanes over a hill for about a mile. At the bottom of the hill, is not quite straight and bends very slightly to the left.
I've probably done that road 10 times since buying the car, each time under hard acceleration. But a few days ago - on a dry road - the back end reminded me that I need to take more care. There was a definite shift sideways from the rear. I was using sport / sport, active aero and manual changes.
I'd like to think my driving skill caught it (even though it was clearly my lack of that which caused it in the first place) but I suspect the driving aids finally thought : yeah, that's enough you idiot, why don't we take it from here.

Took it to Blenheim today - could have joined the MOC display actually, since the parking guys assumed every McLaren was part of that. In fact, wish I had since I ended up right next to the dirt track and my shiny car was..... a lot less shiny when we got back. Car was superb on long motorway / dual carriageway, and it looks like this tank will last over 200 miles. Although I did have some fun when we got closer to home, so not too much over 200 miles.
A BMW driver very nearly had a McLaren ornament attached to the back of his car. Best to check your mirror before you indicate and start changing lanes - fortunately, the brakes are good. Which reminds me, at one point as we were approaching a roundabout at.... 70..... The girlfriend started saying brake.... Brake..... BRAKE..... I really don't know why. I genuinely didn't have to brake hard when I did - I don't think she's realised that the braking is really not the same as her Peugeot diesel.

I am still not convinced that there isn't something wrong with the front end / steering. Under normal use, everything is fine. But when I reverse off of my driveway - and when I have to turn around after leaving the g/f's - I reverse on full lock. It just doesn't feel good - the front end almost feels like one of the wheels is loose (probably should check it's not!) - or that something is - and even the g/f can feel it and has commented on it. May need to take it back to Ascot to see what they say.

Overall though the car is still very impressive. Tomorrow, back to work after 2 weeks off so it will begin commuting duties. Although I believe it's supposed to be very wet tomorrow so it will depend on how it is when I leave for work. If it's really wet, I may just use the Cayenne for a day.

Edited by davek_964 on Sunday 8th September 21:54

JerryDXB

180 posts

44 months

Monday 9th September
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davek_964 said:
I am still not convinced that there isn't something wrong with the front end / steering. Under normal use, everything is fine. But when I reverse off of my driveway - and when I have to turn around after leaving the g/f's - I reverse on full lock. It just doesn't feel good - the front end almost feels like one of the wheels is loose (probably should check it's not!) - or that something is - and even the g/f can feel it and has commented on it. May need to take it back to Ascot to see what they say.

Edited by davek_964 on Sunday 8th September 21:54
When the 12C was initially released there were numerous threads and discussions about this on McLarenlife. The consensus being that this was nothing to worry about and was due to the Ackerman principle (Google will be able to explain it better than I but it is how the steering geometry is set up such that the wheels travel through different distances when turning).

My 650S regularly feels like the front end is jumping/skipping across the road when manoeuvring on full lock. Of course, get Ascot to take a look if you are uncomfortable but I suspect the answer is above.

davek_964

Original Poster:

5,866 posts

120 months

Monday 9th September
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Thanks for that. I did check the wheels are right this morning so I suspect it is normal. Only seems to happen in reverse.
I'll mention it next time I'm at Ascot just in case, but won't make a special journey.

MAC 720S

523 posts

92 months

Monday 9th September
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JerryDXB said:
When the 12C was initially released there were numerous threads and discussions about this on McLarenlife. The consensus being that this was nothing to worry about and was due to the Ackerman principle (Google will be able to explain it better than I but it is how the steering geometry is set up such that the wheels travel through different distances when turning).

My 650S regularly feels like the front end is jumping/skipping across the road when manoeuvring on full lock. Of course, get Ascot to take a look if you are uncomfortable but I suspect the answer is above.
I had this issue on an XKR-S, to the point it would wear the extreme outside edge of the front tyres down. It was made worse by the rough concrete exit of the driveway on a steep’ish incline and having to put full left hand lock to reverse onto the lane. The local tyre fitter was baffled by the odd tyre wear and the tyre skipping until he saw some pictures of my driveway.

IMI A

6,871 posts

146 months

Monday 9th September
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You should try and get your Mcls to VMAX this weekend. Only place to open them up properly smile

davek_964

Original Poster:

5,866 posts

120 months

Thursday 12th September
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IMI A said:
You should try and get your Mcls to VMAX this weekend. Only place to open them up properly smile
You may have a point.

Yesterday morning, I was really looking forward to the drive into work and hoping I'd get a fairly clear run. There are two bits that tend to be interesting on my commute - a dual carriageway (about a mile long, and slightly up hill) which is good for a blast - and a twisty road a couple of miles long just before I arrive at work.

I accelerated pretty hard along the dual carriageway - not flat out, because although the temp gauge said everything was warm I wasn't too far from home and wasn't convinced it was true. Maybe it was because I wasn't accelerating flat out but the acceleration didn't feel as quick as I expected.

When I got to the twisty road, I had the first half of it to myself (second half was unfortunately behind a moped thing - although it was at least able to do 50mph). I drove quickly down here, but it wasn't a great success. In sport / sport, the rear tyres felt a little unhappy accelerating out of some of the bends - and I was accelerating too hard between bends which meant some very hard braking. It wasn't at all smooth - it was a perfect example of some very poor driving - and I arrived at work feeling a little flat about the whole thing.

This morning, I took a different approach. Didn't accelerate hard at all on the dual carriageway (car was colder than yesterday) - and on the twisty road I took a different approach. I decided to drive "quickly" - but not "fast" - and actually, this showed just how much faster the 650 is than my 360.
I was in sport / sport / manual - and was barely accelerating between the bends - literally a feather touch on the accelerator pedal. But, the car was accelerating as quickly to the next bend as the 360 does when I'm driving flat out down this road. It felt soooooo much better than yesterday - I feel like I took it very easy down that road - but I'm sure I was going at least as fast as I do in the 360.
I really enjoyed it - although it does kind of prove just how overkill a car like this is for the road - at least with my driving ability. Even though I wasn't really pushing the car at all, it still felt just as good and exciting as using the 360 - although it does lack some of the drama, mostly I think because it's much quieter.
I may use the 360 tomorrow - it's supposed to be nice weather, and it will be interesting to go back to a manual car with a louder exhaust and see how it compares. It's obviously ancient compared to the 650 - but it's still a car I rate highly, and I haven't used it since buying the 650 - so it will be interested to see whether my rose tinted glasses have dimmed.

12pack

856 posts

113 months

davek_964 said:
You may have a point.

Yesterday morning, I was really looking forward to the drive into work and hoping I'd get a fairly clear run. There are two bits that tend to be interesting on my commute - a dual carriageway (about a mile long, and slightly up hill) which is good for a blast - and a twisty road a couple of miles long just before I arrive at work.

I accelerated pretty hard along the dual carriageway - not flat out, because although the temp gauge said everything was warm I wasn't too far from home and wasn't convinced it was true. Maybe it was because I wasn't accelerating flat out but the acceleration didn't feel as quick as I expected.

When I got to the twisty road, I had the first half of it to myself (second half was unfortunately behind a moped thing - although it was at least able to do 50mph). I drove quickly down here, but it wasn't a great success. In sport / sport, the rear tyres felt a little unhappy accelerating out of some of the bends - and I was accelerating too hard between bends which meant some very hard braking. It wasn't at all smooth - it was a perfect example of some very poor driving - and I arrived at work feeling a little flat about the whole thing.

This morning, I took a different approach. Didn't accelerate hard at all on the dual carriageway (car was colder than yesterday) - and on the twisty road I took a different approach. I decided to drive "quickly" - but not "fast" - and actually, this showed just how much faster the 650 is than my 360.
I was in sport / sport / manual - and was barely accelerating between the bends - literally a feather touch on the accelerator pedal. But, the car was accelerating as quickly to the next bend as the 360 does when I'm driving flat out down this road. It felt soooooo much better than yesterday - I feel like I took it very easy down that road - but I'm sure I was going at least as fast as I do in the 360.
I really enjoyed it - although it does kind of prove just how overkill a car like this is for the road - at least with my driving ability. Even though I wasn't really pushing the car at all, it still felt just as good and exciting as using the 360 - although it does lack some of the drama, mostly I think because it's much quieter.
I may use the 360 tomorrow - it's supposed to be nice weather, and it will be interesting to go back to a manual car with a louder exhaust and see how it compares. It's obviously ancient compared to the 650 - but it's still a car I rate highly, and I haven't used it since buying the 650 - so it will be interested to see whether my rose tinted glasses have dimmed.
Hate to say it, Davek, but it actually sounds like you are still getting used to the pace and power of your beast. With greasy concrete-aggregrate roads and mild temperatures - its going to be rare to be in a situation where your tyres won't spin under power. And indeed you are going to have to brake hard - you're likely going faster than you think.

The good thing is that the throttle is really linear and progressive (unlike my V12 Vantage). If you give it 50% - you get 50%.

Indeed go to VMAX or find yourself a nice asphalt track and a warm day to really give it a go. I'm on track once every couple of months, and in between have to contain myself to a nice early Sunday AM hoon on B-roads with a progressive right foot.

davek_964

Original Poster:

5,866 posts

120 months

Yep, definitely still getting used to it and have to learn to adjust my driving style. The 360 is not slow - but as long as you're not stupid, you can pretty much floor it when exiting bends on dry roads. The 996 turbo I had a few years back was quicker, but of course 4WD.

Yesterday, I was braking at the end of a dual carriageway and remembered that I keep meaning to see just how quickly it can really stop. There was nothing behind me, so I properly stamped on the brakes.
Blimey. I thought I had been braking hard quite often since getting the car - but it turns out I was wrong. It seemed to go from the speed limit to virtually stationary almost instantly!

justin220

4,139 posts

149 months

Did you end up taking the 360 for a comparison? Agree with the above on getting used to how accessible the performance is.

Oddly, I actually find the car feels faster when driving swiftly rather than properly on it.. Say between 5 and 8/10's. Maybe it's due to expectations but it's alarmingly easy to make quick progress when you're not even trying

davek_964

Original Poster:

5,866 posts

120 months

justin220 said:
Did you end up taking the 360 for a comparison?
No - I wanted to, but I was a bit surprised to wake up and find the roads were wet - wasn't expecting that. It is slightly odd that wet roads mean I'd rather leave the 360 in the garage and use a much more expensive much quicker car - but I did! Will try to get the 360 out one weekend I think, although won't be able to this weekend.

justin220 said:
Oddly, I actually find the car feels faster when driving swiftly rather than properly on it.. Say between 5 and 8/10's. Maybe it's due to expectations but it's alarmingly easy to make quick progress when you're not even trying
Yep, I know what you mean - it did feel quicker when I slowed down my driving a bit. It was certainly more enjoyable.

Would like to try it on a track at some point - plan to use it for the supercar weekend next year which I usually do in the 360. (Actually, I'm thinking I might do a day in the 360 and a day in the 650!)

12pack

856 posts

113 months

justin220 said:
Oddly, I actually find the car feels faster when driving swiftly rather than properly on it.. Say between 5 and 8/10's. Maybe it's due to expectations but it's alarmingly easy to make quick progress when you're not even trying
I suspect there's actually more to this than a feeling. Be aware that traction control does engage even if you don't have it lighting up on the dash. Don't believe me? Well, try turning it "off" (its still on - but with higher limits) and you'll see how much faster the car will be when going for it in decent conditions - at least in the 650s. I noticed this when on track the first time I went to ESC off - and now I do this every time its dry and I am concentrating of driving even on public roads.

davek_964

Original Poster:

5,866 posts

120 months

Yesterday (07:37)
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Car hit 8k miles this morning on the way to work - I think it was on 7,190 when I bought it 3 weeks ago. More miles than I'd normally do in 3 weeks, but that's the novelty of a new car - especially with mostly good weather.

I tried keeping the handling in normal when accelerating hard - still get some wheel spin, but only briefly and you do at least see the traction light come on which I don't think I've ever seen in sport. The real solution is to stop using the accelerator pedal as if it was binary (and perhaps to ditch the tyres and replace for Michelin when they need replacing - which is only likely to be a few months away).

I am going to mail McLaren today and get it booked in to get the wheels done - it really doesn't seem to have any issues showing up (except the creaking dash) and I was really just waiting to be sure about that. I will get them to check the way the steering feels when I'm reversing slowly though - it is odd, even if I'm not on full lock. If it really is normal, it's just a foible of the car.

I tried launch control today for the first time - and probably only time, since I'm quite attached to the clutch and other mechanicals in the car. It was really just because a colleague took us all out in his new Tesla last week and demonstrated the 0-60 (very impressive) - and since I took a colleague out this morning, we thought it would be interesting to compare.
I didn't expect the same instant acceleration as a 4wd Tesla - but even so, I was surprised that the wheels span before we launched - in fact, it felt like they span for about half a second. Acceleration was fierce after that, with no other wheel spin - but it seemed like a lot of the 0-60 time was wasted before the car actually started moving.

It looks like another tank of petrol has almost gone - despite the launch test this morning, it's been relatively sensible driving most of the time - my guess is I'm looking at ~200 miles between visits to the petrol station in my normal use - although I think that could be better if I don't floor it every time I have an empty straight road.......

One thing that does annoy me about the car is that it seems unable to do two things at the same time (I know this was a complaint about IRIS in the 12Cs). I use lift to get onto my driveway, and onto the g/f's. When you get back in the car, it's sometimes re-lifting - which is fine, unless you want to lower the roof when it is doing that. It will lower the roof - but it seems unable to give you the beeps telling you it's started / finished the roof if it's doing lift at the same time, because the beeps are for the lift. Obviously you can look in the mirror and see if the roof lid has closed - but that really shouldn't be necessary - and since I'm sometimes moving when lowering the roof, I don't necessarily want to be looking in the mirror at the roof. If you don't catch it when it's fully closed - it will start lowering all the windows because you've still got the button pressed. Which is a nice feature - when you want to use it, but annoying when you don't.
I also discovered this morning that it can't even open the bonnet while it's closing the roof. It really is a tad dumb.

I am still surprised at just how much attention it gets. I know it's a more modern car, but even so - compared to the 360 (and the red 348 I had before) - it's a different league. Yesterday, I even had a motorcycle pull up next to me on a dual carriageway, point at the car and give a thumbs up before accelerating away. It isn't a big positive for me, but I guess buying a Volcano Orange McLaren wasn't really the best plan if I wanted to be inconspicuous.

Seriously considering getting ceramic coating on the car. PPF does not appeal to me at all - I know it's "better" but there are various reasons I don't want it. Ceramic should be better than wax, and mean I don't have to wax the car for a few years!

Still not used the 360 - was planning to Sunday, but other life things got in the way. Today is supposed to have a few showers, but it may get used later in the week.
Main problem I have actually is the Cayenne. I already had an issue with not using that enough and ruining batteries when I was using the Aston / Alfa as daily cars. You'd think that ditching those and buying a 650 would mean that the Cayenne started getting used more and problem solved. But in reality, the McLaren is such a good daily car that the Cayenne isn't that tempting. Still - when proper winter arrives, you can't beat the heated steering wheel which is something the 650 lacks.

Oh, and had my first parking problem on Saturday. Parked in a pub car park - I was at the end space, and parked well over the white line to leave plenty of space to the car next to me. We could see the car (we were sitting outside) - car next to me left, and some time later another car parked next to me - but she parked over the white line herself, so although there was reasonable space between the cars - at least enough to get her rather large frame out - there definitely wasn't enough for me to get in. Before she walked away, I asked (politely) if she would mind moving her car over slightly since she hadn't left me enough room to open my door. I explained that my doors didn't open like normal doors, and hence I needed a little more space.
Apparently, this meant I should have bought a more sensible car. But at least she moved.

Checked the oil again this morning, and still dead on the mark so at least I didn't buy a car that uses oil. Sure seems to use petrol though!

apmcconv

2 posts

Yesterday (08:00)
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I really appreciate your detailed updates on ownership, they are invaluable and highlight good and bad points you’d not necessarily encounter on a test drive.

12pack

856 posts

113 months

Yesterday (08:56)
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Davek, you sound surprised/disappointed to be getting wheel spin? Its really not possible to have a car that's relatively light and RWD that can do 100mph in under 6 secs, and go over 200mph, to not have wheelspin off the line. That's part of the fun and challenge - to use the power to manage the handling. Think Formula 1 - not top fuel. Indeed you have to use the throttle linearly - and it IS very linear unlike my V12 Vantage.

I have a Model S P100D as a daily. Its a heavy 4WD car - you'll never match the jerk (rate of change of acceleration) of that thing off the line with anything else. No wheel spin - no drivetrain lag.

BTW, my stealth car get so much attention, even here in Cheshire housewives territory that I can only imagine what a volcano orange'r gets.





Edited by 12pack on Monday 16th September 09:04

davek_964

Original Poster:

5,866 posts

120 months

Yesterday (09:12)
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I was surprised to get wheel spin with launch mode - I thought the whole point of launch was to avoid that.

I'm not surprised it wheel spins from a (normal) standing start - but perhaps wasn't expecting it when I'm already doing 30-40mph. But given the power, I suppose it's not that surprising.
Obviously I need to modify my driving - years of simply flooring it when I want to go quickly is taking some time to wear off.

ETA : I guess the other reason it surprises me, is that on the test drive I didn't notice it spin the wheels a single time, despite some hard acceleration from low speed. I was using auto mode on the test drive though - although I wouldn't expect that to make a difference.

Edited by davek_964 on Monday 16th September 09:16


Edited by davek_964 on Monday 16th September 09:18