Let’s see how fast the McLaren 650S can go when it’s given a whole runway to play with.
We have returned to the Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds in beautiful West Palm Beach, Florida for this latest top speed test. When last we saw a McLaren shoot down this hallowed ground, we found out that the 720S is actually a lot faster than McLaren says it is. We shouldn’t really be much of a surprise given how the 720S may just be the best supercar on the road today.
This time we take a look at the 720S’s precursor, the 650S. Based on the legendary MP4-12C, the 650S uses the same carbon fiber monocoque chassis, aluminum subframe, 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, and an evolved version of the 3.8-L twin-turbocharged V8 engine (which would eventually evolve again and find its way to the McLaren 570S).
In fact, just 25% of the 650S’s components are new compared to the 12C.
Power is rated at 641 horses and 500 lb-ft of torque. Zero to sixty is done in just 2.9 seconds on its way to a claimed top speed of 204 mph, since this is the Spider version with the folding hard top. If this were the regular coupe, the 650S has a theoretical top speed of 207 mph.
We’re pretty sure this is a collection car as whoever owns it really didn’t want to tax the engine with a quick start. Off the line, the 650S seems to lightly stroll up to 100 mph and use none of the performance we know is hiding beneath its metal skin. Only after reaching 120 mph does the driver feel it’s safe enough to gun the engine and really reach for its top end.
After that, 120 to 180 mph goes by in a blink. Only after cresting 180 mph does the 650S seem to struggle, and only after 190 does it seem to wave. From 200 on, the engine is giving all it has while the speedometer barely budges.
Check out the video above to see if the 650S reaches its claimed 204 mph top speed.