2015 Shanghai Auto Show

Another New McLaren – The McLaren 540C Coupé in Shanghai

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. 

2015 McLaren Sports Series 540C

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.

2015 McLaren Sports Series 540C

A McLaren that isn’t orange!

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…)

Friday Photo – Audi Prologue Allroad Concept Car

The growing importance of the Chinese market for upmarket brands cannot be ignored. Which is probably why Audi has decided to show off the third “Prologue” concept car at the Shanghai Auto Show this weekend.

Audi prologue allroad

Make no mistake, this is a seriously big Audi. At 5.13 metres long, this is a car of rather epic proportions, something emphasised by the fact the 22″ alloy wheels look relatively normal on it! Being an Allroad car, the idea is of course to take a regular estate Avant model, and jack the suspension up for mild off-road potential. Here the suspension is raised by 77 mm, meaning there’s not much scope for extreme off-tarmac action – an overgrown lawn or high kerb might be the limits here.

Audi prologue allroad

Underneath the lengthy bodywork, which features touch-sensitive window trim to unlock the doors (yes, really), hides some rather interesting technology. A twin-turbocharged 4.0 litre V8 TFSI petrol engine is mated to an electric motor which, when combined, offer up a staggering 724 bhp and 664 lb-ft of torque! That’s more horsepower than a Lamborghini Aventador – but in an estate with raised suspension.

Audi prologue allroad

Naturally for an Audi, this power is sent to all four wheels via a quattro drivetrain, using an eight-speed tiptronic gearbox. Performance is suitably shocking, with 0-62 mph in just 3.5 seconds! 20″ carbon-ceramic brake discs are there to help keep things under control, whilst the air suspension offers a range of damping options. (more…)