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

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

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Wlr

52 posts

48 months

Monday 16th September
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davek_964 said:
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!
If you fit a Smart Top module then the roof becomes a one touch operation up or down & you can also operate before getting into your car.
Have not tried opening bonnet at same time will try tomorrow.
I have had the same experience with motorcycle mine is Volcano red.



davek_964

Original Poster:

6,011 posts

121 months

Monday 16th September
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Thanks - just had a look, and that looks like a worthwhile fairly cheap mod - and installation looks pretty simple too. Might get one of those!

justin220

4,183 posts

150 months

Monday 16th September
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Good update. Interesting to hear its taking over the Cayenne as a daily and the 360.. That really is the charm of them. Brilliant all round.

More pics required though! smile

davek_964

Original Poster:

6,011 posts

121 months

Wednesday 18th September
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Arrived at work before the security guard this morning, so took this while I waited for the car park to open - car was cleaned last night, so seemed a good opportunity:



Had to fill up with petrol yet again yesterday - trip computer said I'd averaged 15mpg, which I think is reasonable.

Since I was waiting for the guard this morning anyway, I thought I'd see what Winter Mode does. Only drove around the block, but I must admit I quite liked it - at least for town driving. Car is still pretty responsive at low speed, but you can certainly tell that the power is strangled a bit if you put your foot down.

Car goes back to McLaren on Saturday, to have the wheels sorted out next week. After that, I will probably get it ceramic coated. I got a quote last night and it doesn't look so bad (£1k + vat if you want 3 layers).
On the way home from the quote, as I pulled onto the M25 with the roof down (and typical M25 walking speed), a guy was hanging our of his motorway maintenance truck asking me to rev the car and then to accelerate away hard. Childish, but I did......

Every evening I intend to take the Ferrari the next day, and every day there is a reason I'm not - today it was because I cleaned it last night, and there was no point if it was just going to sit on the drive...... Plus, since I won't have the 650 between Sat / Fri next week, I will be using the 360 then anyway assuming it doesn't rain every day.

One thing I will say is : It always takes me time to really bond with a car, and the McLaren is no exception. I like it a lot, and I think it's an amazing car - but I haven't reached the point where I think : Yep, I'll own this a long time. That is usually the point where I am willing to spend money on it - so the ceramic coating will probably not be done before I reach that point (assuming I do). My gut feeling is that it may take a bit longer to reach that point than it has on other cars - simply because it's an order of magnitude more than other cars I've owned, both in initial cost and in being massive overkill for a daily car. Part of me still thinks it's somewhat ridiculous that I'm driving a ~650bhp car that cost me 6 figures to work and back most days. On the other hand - when I'm driving it - those worries tend to disappear.
The time of year probably doesn't help either - although the weather is great at the moment, the mornings are dark and soon it will be the same on the way home from work, and the weather will get noticeably worse. Although I'm confident that the only real difference it will make is that the car will get dirtier and the roof will be down less.

To be clear, I have no regrets about buying it, and still love it - but I'm still waiting for the "I'm keeping this forever" moment that I usually get a month or two after buying a car. Maybe being without it next week will get me to that point.

ETA : Had to go home at lunchtime, so used it as an excuse to get the 360 out - first time since buying the 650.
Impressions : steering wheel feels huge, seats are a lot less comfortable (and I think I probably need to change how I have them in the 360). Power is a lot more instant even if you're in the wrong gear (something that has always impressed me with the 360) - although when the revs get to the "right" range, the difference is a lot less than the 650.
I didn't get much chance to have fun, and will reserve judgement until I get a clearer road - but on the few quick bends I had a chance to enjoy, the steering felt much quicker and much more precise than the 650. I was genuinely surprised but the it felt much sharper.
I was beginning to feel the 360 might become a bit redundant, but I'm less sure now - they certainly are different cars but I'm not convinced yet that the 650 eclipses the 360 in all areas.

Edited by davek_964 on Wednesday 18th September 12:52

davek_964

Original Poster:

6,011 posts

121 months

Thursday 19th September
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I'm quite sure that the 650 understeers - at least it does compared to the 360. Using the 360 yesterday highlighted it, but it also made me realise that a few times the car has taken a wider line than I expected around a bend (and I don't mean at particularly high speed). It's possible my alignment needs doing - but is this a common feature of the car?

Now it's got darker - I'm also not wildly impressed with the headlights. I've had various older cars over the years where other owners have complained about poor headlight performance - and I've never once understood why, because I thought they were perfectly good. So I know that I don't have particularly high standards for headlight performance. But the 650 seems poor on high beam - the lights certainly get brighter - but the distance they illuminate doesn't actually seem to change. Not sure if it's something that can be adjusted but it seems that they should be pointing a lot further down the road - I'm very conscious of how far I can see ahead on main beam (and I don't mean when I'm doing a zillion miles an hour, I mean at the same speed I'd be using my Cayenne).

ETA : One other thing - my bodywork is falling off. The bodywork coloured cover on the rear passenger corner of the car (under the rear light, what would basically be the corner of the "bumper") - keeps coming loose. It seems to just be stuck on - and pushing on it firmly re-attaches it to the car - but only for a few hundred miles. This needs to be sorted when it's in for the wheels next week or I'm going to stop one day and find it's missing!

Not a very positive update I guess, but then nothing is perfect!

Edited by davek_964 on Thursday 19th September 08:18


Edited by davek_964 on Thursday 19th September 08:19

12pack

885 posts

114 months

Thursday 19th September
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davek_964 said:
I'm quite sure that the 650 understeers - at least it does compared to the 360.
Yes, it does, but not something that would happen below track pace. Besides the Mac brakes the inside rear wheel when it senses understeer. No way the car would push wide at road speeds.

I think you are just observing the faster steering ratio of the 360, in that you have to turn the steering less to get the same result.

TBH I always hated that about my old F355, it was just too darty. It’s Ferrari’s way of making the car feel agile, but brings no benefit in performance driving and makes the car too twitchy on the road.


Edited by 12pack on Thursday 19th September 11:53

justin220

4,183 posts

150 months

Thursday 19th September
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Something not quite right if you are understeering on the road, driving normally?

davek_964

Original Poster:

6,011 posts

121 months

Thursday 19th September
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justin220 said:
Something not quite right if you are understeering on the road, driving normally?
Well, it could be my driving!

There is one particular bend where I've noticed it a couple of times. I certainly go around it quicker than a normal daily driver might, but not fast by any means.

ferdi p

1,229 posts

118 months

Thursday 19th September
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davek_964 said:
Well, it could be my driving!

There is one particular bend where I've noticed it a couple of times. I certainly go around it quicker than a normal daily driver might, but not fast by any means.
Had exactly the same feeling in mine...

Apply more steering angle & you'll be shocked at what speed it can carry thru a bend!

355spiderguy

577 posts

117 months

Thursday 19th September
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Are you meaning the body coloured 'cheek' on each of the rear corners of the car?

If so, they are only held on with really strong double sided 3M tape; i know this as i had both removed to be repainted.

At first we though they were bonded as we removed the rear bumper and they were proper stuck on, but after being confirmed sticky tape was used from the approved McLaren paintshop up here, a wee bit of hairdryer heat gave enough to loosen and then remove.

On a footnote, I was a little concerned that the cheeks were being painted remotely from the car and sent back to us as it had been mentioned Elite Volcano Orange cannot be painted without seeing a difference, but as per usual forum nonsense, they came back absolutely bang on and flawless from McLaren Glasgow.

davek_964

Original Poster:

6,011 posts

121 months

Thursday 19th September
quotequote all
ferdi p said:
Had exactly the same feeling in mine...

Apply more steering angle & you'll be shocked at what speed it can carry thru a bend!
Yep - in that respect I guess it is my driving. I know that it will corner at speeds far more than I'm comfortable with! So I guess I just need to get used to a bit more driver input.

355spiderguy said:
Are you meaning the body coloured 'cheek' on each of the rear corners of the car?

If so, they are only held on with really strong double sided 3M tape; i know this as i had both removed to be repainted.
Yeah, I thought that might be the case. It does feel a bit Blue Peter!

355spiderguy

577 posts

117 months

Thursday 19th September
quotequote all
davek_964 said:
355spiderguy said:
Are you meaning the body coloured 'cheek' on each of the rear corners of the car?

If so, they are only held on with really strong double sided 3M tape; i know this as i had both removed to be repainted.
Yeah, I thought that might be the case. It does feel a bit Blue Peter!
Its all about weight saving...they think of everything...laugh

GRD 8

35 posts

12 months

Thursday 19th September
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Had the steering geometry set on mine at McBristol, totally transformed the car also stopped it tram lining.

davek_964

Original Poster:

6,011 posts

121 months

Friday 20th September
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Not a great day for the car today.

Started up and began to reverse off the drive - and immediately, I had the same alarm / error as I had in the first week (PCC failure). It also demonstrated that the car isn't brilliant at showing these failures.
Although it did show the error on the screen, the car was re-lifting. A few seconds later - before I got my glasses on to be sure I was reading it correctly - the lift completed, and despite the alarm sound still going, the display changed to the lift screen. I cancelled that, and it went to the normal display. So - alarm still sounding - I went into the vehicle info -> error messages and it told me....... there are no errors.
A few seconds later the alarm stopped. I stopped and restarted the car anyway, and it seemed OK.

Decent drive to work, and then as I stopped ready to reverse into my space I decided to turn the heater / fan down because I'd had them both on high with the roof down on the way in. Was turning the temperature down, and it suddenly displayed "CAL". So somehow, I guess it had gone into calibration mode - and wouldn't come out. I eventually gave up turning the non-functioning temp / fan dials and put the car in reverse - whether it was coincidence (something timed out) or putting it in reverse made a difference I don't know - but it suddenly went back to normal.

Although the car will be back at McLaren next week, I don't expect them to be able to magic up a free slot in the workshop so I'm not expecting the PCC error to be sorted then. Since it's (currently) only happening twice in 4 weeks / 1k miles I guess I can probably live with it until the car needs a service in December - but I have mailed them this morning, and will discuss it with them when I drop the car off tomorrow.

I know that when this was discussed before, many people's views are that you simply have to ignore the odd foible. However, I find this a tad disappointing - my car did two things wrong today in the space of 20 mins. The Aston / Alfa I replaced with the 650 were both known for their "foibles" - as is any Italian car, including my 360 - but so far the 650 isn't comparing very well against them in terms of issues even if they're fairly minor.

Let's hope it's just teething problems as a new owner.

In general, I still like the car a lot - although I do feel I'm still getting used to driving it - and I'm disappointed I'm not going to have it all next week.

Wlr

52 posts

48 months

Friday 20th September
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davek_964 said:
Thanks - just had a look, and that looks like a worthwhile fairly cheap mod - and installation looks pretty simple too. Might get one of those!
I tried opened the bonnet whilst the roof was closing via my remote it stopped the operation but operating the remote again restarted and completed operation , so yes with smart top fitted the bonnet can be opened whilst accessing the bonnet.

EK993

1,709 posts

197 months

Friday 20th September
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Great thread, am going to be following this.

In terms of driving involvement - did you test drive a 570 before getting the 650?

Reason I ask, I too had an older Ferrari many years ago (F355, manual box) as well as cars such as an Elise SC. I find the 570 to be very engaging compared to those. I know a common complaint about the Super Series (12C and 650 variants) was that they are a little aloof and uninvolving. I haven't driven one so no first hand experience, just wondering.

davek_964

Original Poster:

6,011 posts

121 months

Friday 20th September
quotequote all
I didn't try a 570, because I decided it wasn't for me even without a test drive.

The 650 is amazing as a useable daily, but I wouldn't say that means it's un-involving. I've had cars that were (911 turbo) but the 650 isn't. I'm still not sure it has the drama of the 360 - but I think a lot of that is noise and old school manual so don't think a 570 would be better in that regard

EK993

1,709 posts

197 months

Friday 20th September
quotequote all
davek_964 said:
I didn't try a 570, because I decided it wasn't for me even without a test drive.

The 650 is amazing as a useable daily, but I wouldn't say that means it's un-involving. I've had cars that were (911 turbo) but the 650 isn't. I'm still not sure it has the drama of the 360 - but I think a lot of that is noise and old school manual so don't think a 570 would be better in that regard
Agree with you on the 911's. Bought a 993 Turbo 4. Probably one of the biggest disappointments I have had with cars.

Good luck with the 650 and looking forward to updates.

davek_964

Original Poster:

6,011 posts

121 months

Saturday 21st September
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Interesting to hear somebody's opinion about the car today.
I needed petrol - again. Seems I need it twice a week - but to be fair to the car, that's because I keep finding excuses to drive it and have doubled my normal mileage. Even though I'm in sensible mode a fair bit, I'm also in non sensible mode a fair bit - so 15mpg average (15.3 today so it's improving!) is actually pretty good. In proper winter, where it will be all sensible driving I'm expecting 20+.

Anyway - as I was paying, the cashier said : the guy before you was saying your car looks really uncomfortable.

I answered : nope. The seats are really comfortable, suspension has 3 settings so you can make it fairly soft and it's a very very easy car to drive. Best daily driver I've had.
Not sure I entirely convinced her, but it's interesting to hear people's perceptions. I guess before I drove one I assumed it was a very focussed almost track car. I've posted elsewhere how shocked I was when it was the complete opposite (unless you don't want it to be of course).

Squeezing every moment of use out of it today before dropping it at McLaren for the week. I'll miss it a lot I think.
(And the petrol station will miss me)

justin220

4,183 posts

150 months

Saturday 21st September
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Petrol stations are always an experience, almost always get asked a question or a comment made.

I find it staggering how different your consumption is, I actually find mine quite economical considering the performance. I'm either not trying hard enough or the on board computer is a liar. Never seen below 25mpg for a rank with my 540.