McLaren 650S Can-Am channels the spirits of legendary racers

McLaren may be known today as a carmaker, but it was a race team first. And one of the first places where it made a big splash was the Canadian-American Challenge Cup, or Can-Am. This defunct race series was known for insanely powerful cars, which went wheel-to-wheel on circuits across North America.

Can-Am was shelved in 1974, but during its relatively short existence, McLaren was one of the most dominant teams. So to mark the 50th anniversary of the first Can-Am race, McLaren is launching a limited-edition 650S Can-Am based on the 650S Spider, and built by its McLaren Special Operations (MSO) division.

MSO added special gloss-black forged alloy wheels, inspired by wheels from 1960s racecars. Inside the rims are carbon ceramic brakes with black calipers. The Can-Am also gets louvers on its front fenders, and a quad-exit polished stainless steel exhaust system, housed in a new rear grille designed to accommodate the extra pipes. The four tailpipes sticking straight out of the middle of the rear fascia look pretty aggressive.

Aside from the exhaust system, there are no mechanical changes to the 3.8-liter, twin-turbocharged V8. It produces the same 641 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque as the regular 650S, sent to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Zero to 60 mph happens in 3.0 seconds flat, and the 650S can reach a top speed of 204 mph.

For some added nostalgia, McLaren will offer the 650S Can-Am in three colors based on the ones worn by some of its most successful racers. Mars Red is inspired by the M1B driven by founder Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon in Can-Am’s debut season, Papaya Spark is based on the now-famous McLaren Can-Am orange, and Onyx Black recalls the black-painted cars sold to customer teams in later seasons. Buyers can also specify a full racing livery, complete with numbers.

The interior of a 650S is much more luxurious than any racer’s, though. For the Can-Am edition, McLaren added leather and Alcantara trim for the sport seats, matching the car’s exterior, plus extensive carbon fiber trim, and a dedication plaque.

Just 50 McLaren 650S Can-Am editions will be sold globally, and all will be convertible Spiders. Pricing starts at $334,500.

UPDATE: We added the U.S. base price of the 650S Can-Am.

Product Review

Want to see how powerful the Snapdragon 855 chip is? Just rev up the Xiaomi Mi 9

How fast do you want to go? If the answer to this is “as fast as possible,” then take a long look at the Xiaomi Mi 9. It’s one of the highest performance smartphones you can buy. It’s a real monster, and we’ve been using it.
Home Theater

Make the most out of your new Apple TV with these must-have apps

If you're looking to turn your fourth-generation Apple TV or Apple TV 4K into an all-in-one entertainment powerhouse, we can help you get started with this list of the best Apple TV apps you can download.
Gaming

Get the full PS4 Pro experience. Here's every game you can play in 4K HDR

The PlayStation 4 Pro can play any PS4 game, but a select number of titles have been optimized to take advantage of the platform. Here's a list of every new and upcoming game that will benefit from the PS4 Pro.
Cars

Bentley Bentayga Speed surpasses Lamborghini Urus as world’s fastest SUV

The Bentley Bentayga Speed has wrested the title of world's fastest SUV from its cousin, the Lamborghini Urus. But the Bentley is just 1 mph faster than the Lamborghini. It requires 626 horsepower to achieve that top speed.
Product Review

Mercedes-Benz updates the timeless G-wagen for the modern world

For decades, the G-Class has been an outlier in the Mercedes-Benz portfolio, a body-on-frame brute with the soul – and driving manners – of an off-road pickup. With the all-new G550, Mercedes seeks to smooth out some of the rough edges.
Cars

2020 GMC Acadia toughens up on the outside, gets smarter on the inside

The 2020 GMC Acadia crossover gets styling updates and a more rugged AT4 trim level. Under the skin, the Acadia sports a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a wider array of tech features.
Cars

Nissan is using old Leaf batteries to power and connect off-the-grid campers

Nissan has teamed up with trailer manufacturer Opus to design a mobile, weatherproof power pack built with battery cells sourced from the first-generation Leaf. Called Roam, the pack stores enough electricity to power a camper for up to a…
Cars

Alfa Romeo’s latest Ferrari-powered F1 race car is ready to hit the track

Alfa Romeo is doubling down on Formula One racing after a decades-long hiatus. Now essentially a support team for Ferrari, its 2019 driver lineup includes a former world champion and a potential future star.
Cars

Researchers teach self-driving cars to predict pedestrians’ next moves

University of Michigan researchers are developing a system that teaches self-driving cars to predict pedestrian movement. Humans don't always act in their own best self-interest, so autonomous cars will need to practice protective driving.
Cars

Subaru’s latest VIZIV concept car is pumped full of adrenaline

The Subaru VIZIV Adrenaline is the seventh member of the Japanese automaker's family of VIZIV concept cars. It debuts at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, but for now, all we're getting is a shadowy teaser image.
Cars

Audi is advancing the tech that teaches cars to talk to traffic lights

Audi is teaching its cars the language of traffic lights. The company developed technology that tells motorists what speed they should drive at in order to catch as many green lights as possible.
Cars

Waymo rules and Apple trails in California self-driving car benchmarks

California's DMV releases annual reports of self-driving car disengagements on public roads. In the most recent reports. Waymo had the best performance, GM Cruise came in second, and Apple's self-driving program was in last place.
Cars

Watch a modified Audi e-tron electric SUV drive straight up a ski slope

A modified Audi e-tron climbed up an 85-percent gradient on an Austrian ski slope in a tribute to a classic Audi commercial. The vehicle used for the stunt sported an extra electric motor and spiked tires.
Cars

Mamma mia! Alfa Romeo will unveil a new model at the Geneva Auto Show

Alfa Romeo told Digital Trends it will unveil a new model at the 2019 Geneva Auto Show. It stopped short of revealing what it has in store, but rumors claim it will be a crossover positioned below the Stelvio.