Billed as the ‘most attainable McLaren yet’, the 540C has been revealed at the 2015 Shanghai Motor Show.
Adding to the recently-announced Sports Series model line alongside the 570S, the 540C has primarily been designed for Asian markets, where the 625C (a cut-price, lower-powered 650S) has been met with strong demand.
But where the 625C was Asia-only, McLaren has opened the 540C up to world markets, anticipating that the second Sports Series vehicle will be globally popular as the brand strives for 4000 sales by 2017.
Although the 540C retains the familiar 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8 of the 570S (and indeed all McLarens currently available), it has been detuned to ‘only’ 397kW at 7500rpm (that’s Ferrari 612 Scaglietti power!) and 540Nm from 3500-6500rpm; 22kW and 60Nm less than the 570S. The 540C still races to 100km/h in 3.5sec (0.3sec slower) and hits a top speed of 320km/h, 8km/h off its sibling. It is priced from £126,000 in the UK, or a shade over $240,000 in Aussie dollars today. Like the 570S, deliveries should be seen in the first half of 2016.
Dry weight is just 1311kg with lightweight options, making it around 150kg lighter than the competition and 2kg lighter than the 570S, with which it shares the MonoCell II carbon fibre chassis. The seven-speed ‘seamless shift gearbox’ is also shared, driving the rear wheels.
Highlighted differences between the Sports Series variants include the adoption of unique aero blades to the 540C’s front-end, a subtly revised aero package and bespoke road wheel design, measuring 19 inches in diameter up-front and 20 in the rear. Pirelli P Zeros are fitted all-’round. Damper tuning for the 540C has also been refined with an emphasis on greater day-to-day comfort, adaptable via normal, sport and track handling modes.
Inside, the friendly focus continues with leather trim to seats, dashboard and lower doors. The floating centre console houses a 7.0-inch touchscreen with the requisite navigation facilities. Bluetooth and digital radio are also standard within the IRIS system.
Although the release suggests the 540C completes the Sports Series range, McLaren head of product development Mark Vinnels recently told TT that there’s “more body styles and variants on the way.” We expect a powered-up LT variant and Spyder to follow within 12 months, as well as a possible GT3-spec racer.