It doesn’t seem five minutes since McLaren revealed the first member of its entry-level road car family with the 570S. A few weeks later and we’ve got the actual cheapest model in the Sports Series – the 540C – shown off at the Shanghai Auto Show.
Unless McLaren decides to wedge an even cheaper model into the Sports Series lineup, this will be the least expensive way to get behind the wheel of a performance car from Woking. Although give it a couple more weeks and you can probably expect to pick up a McLaren-Honda MP4-30 F1 car for around £20. But until then you’ll need £126,000 for the babiest-Mc.
Entry-level doesn’t mean basic, however. Using the same 3.8 litre twin-turbo V8 as the 570S – and other McLarens – the 540C produces a predictable 540 PS. So that’s 533 bhp in real money combined with 398 lb-ft of torque, meaning a 30 bhp and 40 lb-ft deficit to the 570S. Performance is reduced, ever so slightly, with a 0.3 second slower 0-62 mph time of 3.5 seconds, and a top speed of 199 mph that falls 5 mph short of the more powerful car.How much that matters to you may dictate if you really want to pay an extra £17,500 for the 570S – equivalent to £583 for each additional horsepower. Fuel economy and C02 emissions are no different whatever state of tune you take the 3.8 litre engine in, staying at 25.5 mpg and 258g/km respectively. You’ll also get the same adaptive dampers, including a sport mode, but with settings revised to make the 540C more useable everyday. (more…)