This morning I settled down with a nice cold glass of orange juice to watch the new Chris Harris On Cars video. Fourteen and a half minutes later I found myself feeling a little bit more reflective than I anticipated. I was expecting to feel closer to McLaren and to the new 650S, and yet now I found myself questioning both brand and car. Dominating my thoughts was the question; are McLaren really getting it right?
We all know McLaren are engineering masters, this has never been in doubt. Chris points out early on that the McLaren's 12-C was their first proper attempt at a volume road car, and what a "first" car it is. Bristling with technology and that famous McLaren engineering wizardry, the car takes the fight to the Ferrari 458 right down to the wire. Most people in the know are in agreement that it loses out to the Italian top dog, but that doesn't stop me wanting the McLaren more. So theoretically, the 650S should just be building on the lust that the 12-C originally inspired in me.
I'm British, so perhaps I'm just that tiny bit more biased towards the McLaren, but personal feelings aside, isn't there something intrinsically cooler about owning a Mclaren? When I sat down to watch the 650S video I was really rather excited. Chris Harris and /DRIVE do such an excellent job in making you want the cars that they show off just that little bit more. These guys are the best salesmen in the world, and so I was starting to pick my lottery numbers even before the introduction had finished, and then I stopped.
What happened between that point and the end of the video then? Well as you may have noticed Chris wasn't as overwhelmingly positive about the car as you might have been expecting. Despite noticing it was an improvement on the 12-C, he wasn't as buzzing about the car as I was expecting. Something definitely wasn't right. Perhaps it was because he was quite ill, or perhaps it was because the weather was poor. Crucially, he pointed out on a couple of occasions that the 650S was still not on the same level as a Ferrari 458 in a couple of areas. For a few minutes I was overcome with a touch of disappointment, but then I began to think.
McLaren still doesn't seem to be able to knock Ferrari off of the supercar top spot. Then again, why does it have to be about them all of the time? Supercars are about you, the individual. Reviewers of the McLaren seem to always prefer the Ferrari, yet they often neglect to point out that it's probably a bit easier to own the McLaren. It's possible for this reason the 650S will make more sense. You'll drive it more, and if you drive it more don't you obtain more pleasure? Isn't pleasure what these cars are all about?
Only the individual can decide if McLaren are really getting it right with their latest supercar. They might not be beating Ferrari but does it matter? Isn't it good to have an alternative? I'll probably never get to go near one, but if by some stroke of luck I do, I'll still be choosing the McLaren over the Ferrari. The 650s is perhaps the thinking man or woman's choice of supercar, but for me that doesn't make it any less appealing.
In the end, I finished choosing my lottery numbers. I realised it isn't all about other people. It isn't all about Ferrari, as much as they'd like it to be. It's about what I like and what I feel passionate about, and when it's all said and done that's the way it should be with all of us.
Image Credits: www.cars.mclaren.com
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