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Another 650S Spider daily driver


New member
Thought I'd give an update on my experiences after a couple of weeks of ownership - will update in future too.

First some pictures :

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I mentioned on the other thread that the finish on the wheels isn't great - McLaren Ascot will refurb them fully when I'm happy for the car to be off the road for a week - maybe next month.
Reversing sensors seem to be working reliably now - maybe I just didn't hear them the first day. They really are pretty quiet - much quieter than the front ones which is a tad illogical.

I've had one error - didn't have my glasses on, but think it was PCC so related to the suspension. Switched the car off / on and it's been fine since - may just be an over sensitive sensor, or may be a genuine fault - but given that the car is warrantied, and the McLaren warranty is very comprehensive - I'm not losing any sleep over it.

About a week into ownership, I decided to drive my favourite 100 mile route. In fact, I only managed half of it because they'd closed the road and the diversion signs took me back to the start of the diversion...... but even so, it was enough to have a good blast down a few twisty roads. The acceleration is in a different league to the 360 - as you'd expect - and the brakes are superb. I still don't think I've braked as hard as possible from high speed, but am interested in seeing just how well it stops when I do. Watching the air brake in the mirror is quite addictive.

When I test drove it, I only got the briefest flicker of a traction light even under hard acceleration from low speed - but most of the test drive was with the engine and handling in normal mode. In Sport, even on warm dry roads, it has a habit of spinning rear wheels. Usually, this is just irritating more than anything else, but when it did it on a very slight left hand bend uphill it was properly scary. I no longer accelerate flat out on that bit of road......
Handling is very very good though.

I have only used (engine) Track setting once, on a road I know very well - and I'm not sure I would again any time soon. I thought it only really affects the gear change speed and the noise - but the car felt like it was getting to the bends much sooner, so it did feel noticeably faster - which it really didn't need to be!

The stereo is a bit hit and miss - DAB reception appears to be pretty poor around Camberley, but it's fine when I'm a few miles outside of town. Not the greatest stereo anyway - seems I don't have the premium option, and although it's pretty good - it's not even close to the Aston. Although that is actually the only thing the Aston did better.

Doors are obviously dead cool - although the novelty of getting in and out has worn off quicker than I expected!

It is very very easy to use as a daily car, even in the rain on wet roads. Stick everything in Normal (called comfort in the newer models), leave the gear change in auto and you could be driving any family car. If you're not in the mood for driving, it's very relaxing - enough so that I'm wondering how much use the Cayenne will really get over the winter. If it's icy / snowy or the roads are covered in salt I'll probably use the Porsche but the rest of the time I'm not so sure now.

I don't really know what the fuel consumption is like yet. The "how fast does it go" first few weeks obviously mean plenty of visits to petrol stations. I've been told it does 30mpg on long journeys and certainly seemed to be quite frugal on my run to Blenheim at the weekend. After 2 weeks off, I'm back to work this week - and need petrol today unless I want to push it home - so it will be interesting to see what the tank range / mpg is during my normal use. I know we're not supposed to care - but I do!

So far, I'm still happy I own the 360. I suspect that the McLaren will actually give me the same buzz down a twisty road once I'm a bit more used to it - but even if it does, I like that I've got the 360 too. I guess the mileage on the 360 will drop a fair bit now, but that just means it will be work a zillion pounds in 10 years time.

Overall, very glad I bought it. Although I don't particularly like the fact that it gets dirty being kept outside / used as a daily - the colour doesn't show the dirt very much at all - and it also means I no longer have the "fancy driving the Ferrari, but it's going to rain" problem - regardless of the weather (within reason), I get to drive the 650. It is obviously quite ridiculous overkill as a daily runaround - but actually (if you ignore the limited luggage space) then it's very suited to it. At least until it needs £££££s spent on new tyres, brake pads and carbon ceramic discs......

ETA : There is one negative actually. If I stop at red traffic lights I tend to stick it in neutral - problem is, for some reason changing into first is slow - takes about 1 second I think!
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"for some reason changing into first is slow - takes about 1 second I think"

For us 348 owners that 1 second is all we need..[emoji3]

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Looks and sound good. Is there space for another garage? That's my problem unless at some point I speak to my next door neighbour (who has space) then there's no chance where I live.
There isn't, but to be honest it bothers me even less now I own the car. Since I use it as a mostly daily car, it's not like it would stay clean even if it was kept in a garage and it would still spend half of each day outside.

Doesn't seem to be falling apart yet. :wink3:
Went home from work at lunchtime, and switched to the 360 - first time since buying the 650.

The 360 felt like it had a huge steering wheel and pretty uncomfortable seats (the 650 ones are really good). Low down power (i.e. when you're not really in the right gear) has always impressed me in the 360 and still did - much more instant than the turbo 650. Although when you're in the right gear, there isn't really much comparison.

What surprised me most was that on the brief chance I got on a twisty road, the steering felt much quicker, sharper and more precise in the 360. It was quite noticeable and surprised me a lot. Will be interesting to drive it a bit more next week and see (650 will be having its wheels sorted next week).
Really good insight Dave. The 360 is hardly blessed with low down torque.

I’ve been following your thread on PH. Keep it up [emoji106]

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Quick update for anybody who doesn't follow PH - and who might be considering defecting to the dark side.

Actually, "dark side" is relevant since one of my current complaints is that the headlights (on main beam) are crap. There is no range at all, and although road signs and cats eyes are illuminated fairly far away, the road is dark from about 20ft in front of the car. Even at road legal speeds (which obviously is all the time......) I don't feel like I can see where I'm going in the dark - I've never owned a car where that was the case before.

My roof leaks in the rain - which given the recent weather, means it leaks often. Not badly - a few drips on the passenger seat, although I'm pretty sure my back was damp on the way into work this morning so maybe the driver side leaks too.

Had a few niggles - most only ever seem to happen once. IRIS (the infotainment system) had no sound one day - a quick reboot fixed it, and I don't really count this anyway since I knew the IRIS system was crap before I even bought the car.
Last week, the driver side mirror failed to fold out fully twice - once on Wednesday, once on Friday. That was a bit annoying.
Had a high pitched whine from the car when I opened the door a couple of weeks ago (after putting some stuff in the boot) - and when I got in, the electrics were dead. Pressed the start button and the alarm went off! Interestingly - when I parked at work today I opened the boot, then remembered that my stuff was in the car with me. Forgot to close the boot - when I locked the car, I got the same whine - presumably telling me the boot was open. However, that doesn't explain what happened a few weeks ago, because it shouldn't be doing that when I'm opening the car and getting into it, and the electrics shouldn't be dead when I do!

Basically - it seems to have a lot of niggling faults - usually I manage about 3 days of trouble free use (apart from the leaking roof) - and then something odd will happen. Having said that, if you read some of the stories on the owners club - even from people who are quite positive about their cars on the public forum - it seems I got one of the good ones. While there are people who have completely trouble free cars - there are also people who have a lot more (and a lot more serious) issues than me....

Car goes back to McLaren after work today. At the very least, it needs to come back with a roof that doesn't leak, lights which show me where I'm going, and a mirror that always folds out.

Overall, I still like the car - but I am beginning to get fed up of the repeated niggles. It's not like it was a cheap car, and it's not like it's cheap to run - the warranty cost is hardly peanuts. It has the winter to start behaving itself, or it will be for sale in the spring - no doubt at considerably less than I paid for it!
Hopefully these little niggles can be fixed. It sounds like a bit of effort from McLaren will bottom them. I guess the leaky roof with it being outside is annoying but that should be something they can fix.
My Z3 seals are worn and it does leak a tiny bit in really heavy rain on the driver's side. I have a 'cap' cover I use when I know we are going to have heavy rain, either way it really is not an issue.

The headlights, are they LED? I changed them on my CLA to LED. So much better. Somebody has put HID's in the Z3 and they too are superb.
Car was back at McLaren from Monday afternoon to Friday last week :

They agreed that the roof seal did not look like it was fitted correctly, so they re-seated it. It still looks badly fitted to me, but there hasn't been enough rain to know if it's made a difference.
They found that the passenger light was "slightly low" and adjusted it - it's made sod all difference. Yes, I believe they are LED - to be honest, they do seem plenty bright enough - they just don't point that light far enough forward. I will have to discuss with them again - clocks go back next week, and it's due a service in December so at least they should be able to drive it down a dark road at that point and see how poor they are.
They fixed the driver side dash noise - now I have a passenger side dash noise.....

Couldn't reproduce the other issues (including the driver side mirror problem) and hence couldn't fix them.

Hopefully, stuff will gradually get fixed.

One of my main complaints at the moment is that it spins the wheels far too often. It even caught me out yesterday when I didn't think I accelerated particularly hard (and it was only a very brief press on the accelerator pedal from about 40mph) and the car went a tad sideways.
The car has traction control. It even has "winter mode" which reduces the power and sets traction control to "maximum sensitivity". And yet, I can still spin the wheels if I want to (in the dry).
I raised it on the McLaren owners group this morning and asked if it was normal - but I mostly got replies saying I should expect that on cold roads / I should check my tyre brand, tread and pressures / I should make sure the tyres are warm etc. etc. etc. I tried to point out that wasn't the question - I am aware that if I drive a powerful car without traction control, I need to be careful not to spin the wheels. And I'm aware that if I find traction control is limiting power often, I should be checking all those things to reduce how often it happens. But surely the point of traction control is that I shouldn't have to care that much about those things? I accept that there are different levels of sensitivity in winter mode / normal / sport / track - but I'm dubious that it should let the car get sideways enough that I could park it in a hedge before it kicks in.
I'm also a little suspicious that I don't think I've ever seen an indicator on the dash saying that traction control is engaged - so I am beginning to wonder if it actually works (although it does seem to spin the wheels less in winter vs normal vs sport, so I guess it does). I will experiment more over the weekend.

Despite its niggles - and there do seem to be a few - I do love it at the moment. Had a great drive home yesterday (except the one brief heart stopping moment) - and I'm planning to go to the Sporting Bears 30 year celebration on Sunday, which means I might even give it a run on track. Would be a good opportunity to get to know the car a bit better - even though I wouldn't push it particularly hard at this time of year.
Ever spend loads of money on a car, only to regret it when you find it's a pile of crap? I'm not quite there yet - but I'm not far away!

Since the car came back a month ago, the driver side mirror has failed to fold out twice again.
I’ve had no sound from the stereo and had to reset it (second time it’s happened)
Over the weekend, the climate system started failing – it switches air con / heated rear window / windscreen demist etc. on and off itself – and can’t be changed
Yesterday, I had air brake failure (wasn’t actually braking) – but at least I knew how to fix that one
Headlights are still crap on high beam – even had a passenger ask me why I wasn’t using high beam on a dark road…….
DAB is crap
Traction control is crap – if I’m the one who has to be careful not to apply too much power to avoid the wheels spinning (even in “winter mode”) – it’s crap.
Turning at low speed makes it feel like the front wheels are not tight (they are) – and this has got much worse as the weather has got cold. Which supports what the dealer told me (the Pirelli are simply “skipping” over the surface) but it’s really very poor. Fortunately – it looks like I might have a slow puncture on the rear right (and they don’t have a huge amount of tread left anyway) so think I might just bin them and stick Michelin PS4S on.

Only good news is that they genuinely do seem to have fixed the roof leak.

Most of these are fairly minor issues – and believe me, I’ve seen some people with worse issues on the owners forum – but it’s reached the point where I expect something to go wrong when I use the car now, and that’s not a good thing!

Lucky it’s not depreciating too eh? 😉
Might be an F1 spoiler.

Niggling faults are the worst I'm sure. Are the British really that bad with reliability? The Murcans seem to think so and I'm beginning to think it is true. Sat just above (maybe below) the French and way below the Italians.

If it helps my (pales in to insignificance) daily CLA has been pretty good in its first year. It has only done 9k (13 months in) now. Build quality is average and I would say no better than the Alfas I've had. There are two annoying things. Mine is only a 10 bob car in comparison though I guess.

  • The interior lights will NOT stay on for more than 10 seconds when I get in and now it's always dark I am remembering just how **** that is.
  • There is a buzzing from the power socket/ash tray compartment when on any other road surface bar the new surface on part of the M60.

I mentioned both to Mercedes when it went in for its first service. They forgot about the buzzing ash tray thing and told me they had fixed the interior lights. They hadn't. There is a setting in the computer menus, 15s, 30s, 45s and 1 minute. What ever it is set to makes no difference.

The ash tray has an insert that I have tried to remove but fear it'll break. My remedy is to force white tack in between the insert and the slot. Looks like chewing gum but has at least toned down (not totally stopped) the buzzing.

I'm probably not buying another new car again. I will buy nearly new so won't feel so bad when the niggling faults occur. Last but not least being a Scuderia Ferrari fan I really feel like kicking the crap out of it after ever weekend. However even Mercedes had some bad luck this weekend which pleased me greatly. In fact one of them did not finish because it broke down. However the Ferraris made up for that... :laugh:

In time, Dave I think you will get there..
From the owners forum, it seems there are two types of McLaren : ones that never have any problem ever, and ones that have constant problems. Sadly, it seems I bought the latter.

Your interior light problem is actually one I've seen a McLaren owner complaining about too!

McLaren really do need to sort it - I've reached the point where I would sell it if it was Spring I think. Although my g/f was fairly horrified at the prospect of that.

It is an amazing car in many ways. But the reality is, I've owned an Alfa, an Aston and two (old) Ferrari's - all of which have reputations for questionable reliability, especially electrical. They are the most reliable cars in the world ever - compared to my much newer, much lower mileage McLaren.
It's a great shame Dave your ownership of the car is being soured by near constant, albeit mainly small problems. However small, you paid a lot of money for the privilege and I think most of us would be pee'd off too. On a car with a good few years and miles behind it maybe, but on a very recent (very expensive) vehicle I'd be hugely disappointed too. This is not a £6k Chinese special.

Enjoy it the best you can thorough the winter, see how you feel in the spring perhaps. You clearly love its plus points :)
That's a shame Dave. They are magnificent cars, but for yourself using as a daily when you can, it would certainly frustrate you with too many niggles
If you still feel that way in the spring, I'm sure a prancing horse would welcome you back.
Your old 348, still reliable as ever....although it's set me back a few Bob now replacing time worn components. That's just an update.....not a sales pitch.[emoji3]

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That's a shame Dave. They are magnificent cars, but for yourself using as a daily when you can, it would certainly frustrate you with too many niggles
If you still feel that way in the spring, I'm sure a prancing horse would welcome you back.
Your old 348, still reliable as ever....although it's set me back a few Bob now replacing time worn components. That's just an update.....not a sales pitch.[emoji3]

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Dave still has his 360, he's not left the stable :tongue3:
Ooh.. thought he sold it. Missed that one.[emoji38] oh well no need to keep the McLaren then[emoji1787][emoji1787][emoji1787]

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