- Apr 13, 2014
McLaren has made it quite apparent they intend to solidify themselves as a household name, adding yet another car to this year's lineup of new models. The 540C joins the Sports Series as an even softer, even more efficient, and less costly alternative to the 570S - without sacrificing the McLaren looks we now know so well, or the performance.
The 540C will be unveiled today in Shanghai as the little brother to the 570S. McLaren says it is even more focused on everyday use and efficiency than the 570S, which is of course, more focused on everyday use than its Super Series big brother, the 650S.
The 540C uses the same carbon fibre "MonoCell II" chassis as the 570S, with a 3.8 litre, twin turbo V8 sending 533 brake horsepower and 398 lb/ft of torque to the rear wheels. Coming in at a weight of 1,311 kg (2,890lbs) with lightweight options, the sportscar is capable of 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in just 3.5 seconds, 0-200 km/h (0-124 mph) in 10.5 seconds and a top speed of 320 km/h (199 mph).
McLaren says the 540C brings the McLaren name, heritage and performance to a new segment of the market. The sort of segment which demands the looks of the McLaren lineup, with day to day usability and refuses to pay a penny more than $200,000. Coming in a at a price of £126,000 the 540C is slightly cheaper than the 570S, putting it in the same price group as Porsche's 911.
So what we have then is really a softer, less powerful, slower (though still incredibly fast), more practical and less costly 650S, and I have to say, I was hoping for a tad more diversity amongst the sports series lineup. When McLaren first announced the Sports Series, I immediately became excited at the thought of an affordable McLaren with looks far from the wind tunnel sculpture that is the P1. I imagined a front engined two seater with the ability to go for groceries, and to shred a set of tyres. What we have instead is essentially five different packages, all with the same looks. But is that really a such bad thing?
What this means is that you can have all the prestige, performance and ability to turn heads of the P1, without the massive price tag or sacrifices in practicality. It means the mid engine, high speed looks we have come to recognize as purely McLaren will be more attainable, and therefore more common. Perhaps those who have privilege of owning a P1 or 650S will feel a certain sting because of this, but for me if this means I see them more often, that really isn't such a bad thing.