A few weeks ago McLaren unveiled the 650S and later at Geneva the 650S Spider. You can think of the 650S as sort of a tarted up 12C. Power is up from the 12C's 625 PS to 650 PS (as the name 650 suggests), and so is the torque, up 75 NM from the 12C's 600. The 650S is also slightly lighter than the 12C ( weighing around 100 pounds fewer). All these improvements makes the 650S a slightly better car than the 12C. That's great. But my question is what does this mean for the future of McLaren's lineup? Well, let me start with some constructive criticism, if I may.
If the changes to the 650S are slightly better than the 12C, why would one even buy (apart from the looks as this thing, in my opinion, looks a bit odd) a 12C? Chances are if you can buy a brand new 12C you can spend the extra money and get a 650S.
And another thing: the name. Whoever is in charge of naming McLaren's cars should be fired. The model lineup makes no sense at all. Yes, 650S (again designating the power output) is clever, but it's a re-bodied, tarted up 12C. Why not call it: the McLaren 12C-650S?
Even the 12C's name was confusing. When it was first launched the Coupe was called the MP4-12C. Then the Spider came along and that was called the 12C. Then McLaren decided to drop the MP4 bit for the Coupe and thus the lineup became the: 12C Coupe & 12C Spider. Confusing, I know.
And it's going to me even more confusing. In the next few years, McLaren is rumored to add two more cars to the lineup; rumored to be called the McLaren P13 and P15.
Arriving first will most likely be the P13. Rumored to be the new baby in the lineup, the P13 is believed to be a direct competitor to the Porsche 911 Turbo and upcoming Mercedes-Benz GT AMG. This would most likely place the price near $200,000; ouch.
Following the production of the P13 will most likely be the P15. The P15 was initially rumored to fill the gap between the 12C and the P1. Many believe, however, the P15 is actually the code name for the 650S. Others now believe this may not be true. In that case, the P15 will be rumored to fill the gap between (you guessed it) the 650S and the P1.
So going back to my argument regarding the fate of McLaren's future models: will the P13, P15 and 650S sell in large numbers? It's anyone's guess, really. I bring this question up as it seems like there isn't much diversity in the current McLaren lineup. Yes the P1 is a mega step forward from the 12C and 650S but if you think about it, they are all pretty much the same car: carbon fiber tub, 3.8 liter twin turbo V8, etc. Where's the creativity? Does it make sense to have all these different cars in the lineup?