A quarter of all McLarens destined for the Middle East have a bespoke nature to some degree, so you might expect something very special in pride of place on the McLaren stand at the Dubai International Motor show, which opens today. McLaren hasn’t disappointed.
Living up to its reputation for customised craftsmanship and taking the ‘beauty of the desert’ as its theme, the Woking firm has unveiled the 650S Spider Al Sahara 79. It’s the first time McLaren Special Operations has developed a model exclusively for the Middle East market.
Why Al Sahara 79? The clue’s in the paintwork: pearlescent white but with a shimmer to it thanks to the addition of 24 carat gold particles. The addition of the gold (atomic number 79) is said to have been inspired by the golden sands of the Sahara desert.
One thing we know for sure is that with black retractable roof, gloss black wheels and carbon-fibre intakes, the 650S Al Sahara 79 comes across as a subtly opulent machine with a character all its own.
On the inside, too: here the MSO team has created a black and almond white cocoon in leather with contrasting stitching and a golden hue to switchgear and air vents. Mechanically the 641bhp Super Series 650S is unchanged.
Also at the Dubai show, McLaren exhibited the Sports Series 570S and the Ultimate Series P1, displaying all three tiers of McLaren supercar in the region together for the first time. McLaren has long had a big following in the Middle East and, says the company, the region is home to some of its most loyal customers.