The company has now revealed official details on the latest model, which is based on the 12C but offers a host of improvements to set itself apart from the humbler offering. Most noticeable is the P1-inspired design, with a set of sharp LED-laced headlamps, integrated front splitter, GT3-inspired rear bumper and a set of door blades behind the front wheels. The aerodynamic enhancements should ensure the 650S is a little more agile than the 12C, for a more focused drive. After all, the S in the name stands for "Sport".
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It has no more drag than the 12C, but generates an extra 24 percent downforce at 150 mph, too. That's important, as the 650S develops more power than the 12C. Not quite 650 as the name suggests as that refers to the metric output, but at 641 regular horsepower, it's still a significant 25 horses wilder than the 12C. It should be faster as a result (no figures have yet been revealed by McLaren), and downforce aside, McLaren has also tweaked the 12C's "airbrake" for extra stability both under braking and whenever the car deems it necessary.
The 650S wears a new five-spoke lightweight alloy wheel design, and each of these is wrapped in Pirelli's latest P Zero Corsa tires for maximum grip. McLaren has made a few changes to its ProActive Chassis Control system too, letting drivers choose from Sport, Normal and Track modes (like the P1), all of which can be adjusted separately from the drivetrain to suit the driver's taste.
Despite all these tweaks under the skin, the 650S loses nothing to the 12C in terms of usability--it's still available in both coupe and retractable hardtop formats, you still get IRIS satellite navigation with Bluetooth, SIRIUS satellite radio, wireless tethering, audio streaming and voice control, and there's a host of options from fixed-back carbon bucket seats to a rear parking camera.
The 650S makes its official debut at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show on Tuesday, March 4. Deliveries begin in the spring.