Automotive

McLaren unveils V8-powered "entry level" 540C Coupé

McLaren unveils V8-powered "en...
McLaren is chasing new customers with its "most attainable" car yet, the 540C Coupe
McLaren is chasing new customers with its "most attainable" car yet, the 540C Coupe
View 13 Images
The dramatic styling of the 570S is largely unchanged in the 540C's transition down the price scale
1/13
The dramatic styling of the 570S is largely unchanged in the 540C's transition down the price scale
The 540C's power comes from a mid-mounted twin-turbo V8
2/13
The 540C's power comes from a mid-mounted twin-turbo V8
The 540C's doors are pure supercar theatre
3/13
The 540C's doors are pure supercar theatre
New wheels differentiate the 540C from its more expensive stablemates
4/13
New wheels differentiate the 540C from its more expensive stablemates
The McLaren 540C pricing starts at £126,000
5/13
The McLaren 540C pricing starts at £126,000
The 540C's aero blades are unique
6/13
The 540C's aero blades are unique
The 540C goes from 0-100 km/h in just 3.5 seconds
7/13
The 540C goes from 0-100 km/h in just 3.5 seconds
8/13
The 540C tops out at 320 km/h (199 mph)
9/13
The 540C tops out at 320 km/h (199 mph)
10/13
McLaren's brake steer system is present on the 540C
11/13
McLaren's brake steer system is present on the 540C
McLaren's engineers have focused on outwards visibility from the 540C cabin
12/13
McLaren's engineers have focused on outwards visibility from the 540C cabin
McLaren is chasing new customers with its "most attainable" car yet, the 540C Coupe
13/13
McLaren is chasing new customers with its "most attainable" car yet, the 540C Coupe
View gallery - 13 images

McLaren has continued its rapid range expansion with the unveiling of its new "entry-level" 540C Coupé at the Shanghai Auto Show. This isn't your average poverty-pack range starter, however, with the cheapest member of McLaren's Sport Series still capable of a 3.5 second sprint to 100 km/h (62 mph) thanks to its twin-turbo V8 engine.

As is evident in the name, the latest addition to McLaren's model lineup is producing 540 ps (533 hp/397 kW) from the British brand's twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V8 motor. This is enough to shoot the 540C to 100 km/h in only 3.5 seconds, which is only 0.3 seconds slower than the 570S with which the 540C shares its V8 engine. Backing up its lightning-quick 0-100 km/h time is an equally impressive 0-200 km/h (124 mph) time of 10.5 seconds, and the car will keep on pulling to 320 km/h (199 mph).

Peak power is available at a lofty 7,500 rpm, while the V8's torque curve is incredibly flat, with the engine's full 540 Nm (398 ft lb) of torque available between 3,500 and 6,500 rpm. The 540C Coupé is also fitted with automatic start/stop technology for improved fuel economy, which McLaren says is 25.5 mpg (9.2 L/100 km) on the EU combined cycle.

McLaren's brake steer system is present on the 540C
McLaren's brake steer system is present on the 540C

As well as sharing a motor, the 540C and 570S are both built around McLaren's carbon fiber MonoCell II chassis. On top of making a safe, strong backbone for the car, the MonoCell is seriously light – in the 570S, it weighs less than 80 kg (176 lb).

Combined with the 540C's aluminum body panels, the lightweight MonoCell contributes to a dry weight of just 1,311 kg (2,890 lb), which McLaren claims is almost 150 kg (331 lb) lighter than its nearest competitor. Lightness aside, the 540C's chassis has been designed to allow easy ingress and egress from the cabin as McLaren chases greater everyday usability.

McLaren's engineers have focused on outwards visibility from the 540C cabin
McLaren's engineers have focused on outwards visibility from the 540C cabin

Containing all of that turbocharged power in the corners is the job of the 540C's newly developed suspension system, which combines front and rear anti-rollbars with double wishbones and fully independent adaptive dampers. The tuning of these dampers has been revised to provide a more comfortable experience than the setup in the 570S, although owners can make the car feel stiffer by putting it into Sport or Track mode.

Working with the adaptive damper system is McLaren's brake steer system, which allows drivers to get the power down earlier out of corners by braking the inside rear wheel.

Inside, McLaren has focused on providing owners with good exterior visibility and plenty of space – both of which add to the 540C's everyday drivability. The brand's IRIS touchscreen is the centerpiece of the floating center console, and allows owners to control everything from navigation to the air conditioning.

Styling-wise, the 540C looks very similar to its more expensive 570S stablemate, albeit with a few subtle aero tweaks. Unique aero blades sit below the bonnet, and have been tweaked to channel air through the lower bodywork and then over the bonnet.

So, how much will the entry level McLaren 540C Coupé cost you? At least £126,000 (approx. US$187,675), and the order books are already open.

Source: McLaren

View gallery - 13 images
3 comments
steveraxx
Just what the City needed, an entry level vehicle capable of announcing your status as a newly minted I.B.
Now whether or not people even truly pay attention to such some would say nonsense, you are safe in the knowledge that you are wasting resources and telegraphing your importance to the world in the best manner possible.
Daishi
Related to this I think Ford is going sell a 2017 GT and Chevy will sell a mid engine Corvette (C8?) that will probably end up being close in price. The Ferrari 458 Italia is 570 HP and $240k, and the Porsche 911 Turbo S is about $180k and 560 HP.
Bob
I am still puzzled by the weight of these cars while using all this exotic lightweight material. My 1989 Olds Calais seated five, had a real trunk, and weighed just 2518 pounds. Maybe these new super cars need to go back to steel construction.