When the 2015 New York Auto Show happened, McLaren revealed the all-new 570S, which was being touted as McLaren’s latest entry-level, or the easiest model to access out of the entire lineup.
That is, until the 540C showed up at Auto Shanghai 2015 last month.
The 540C is actually the entry-level McLaren that the 570S was initially intended to be, priced at just 126,000 GBP in the UK. The 540C, unlike the Asia-only 625C, will be sold all over the world and the order books were made available when the car was revealed, with deliveries scheduled to happen in 2016.
But if you were hoping McLaren to step down further into more accessible markets, or even crossing your fingers for a McLaren entry-car similar to the late, Aston Martin Cygnet, your hopes would be cut short, according to TheTruthAboutCars.
TTAC spoke with McLaren’s global director of communications, Wayne Bruce (no not Bruce Wayne, but reversed), who said McLaren’s simply not interested in a mass production model and currently, their operations don’t make it possible to produce a McLaren with a price of less than $100,000 due to production costs related to carbon fiber. And McLaren uses a lot of carbon fiber.
Nonetheless, the 540C is what you’ll need to reach for, which still comes packed with McLaren’s ubiquitous twin-turbo 3.8L V8, tuned to produce 540hp and 398 lb-ft of twist with a seven-speed sequential manual gearbox.
THE McLAREN 540C COUPE IS UNVEILED IN SHANGHAI AS THE SECOND MODEL IN THE SPORTS SERIES
Apr 20, 2015
- 540C Coupé completes the two car line-up in the McLaren Sports Series
- Most attainable McLaren yet, introducing the brand to a new audience
- Joins the recently launched 570S Coupé in the McLaren Sports Series
- A pure sports car bringing McLaren DNA to the segment for the first time
- 540PS and 540NM: 0 to 100km/h (62mph) in 3.5 seconds, top speed of 320km/h (199mph)
McLaren will launch its second model in the new Sports Series, the McLaren 540C Coupé, at the Shanghai Motor Show, 20-29 April 2015. The most attainable McLaren yet, the 540C Coupé joins the recently revealed 570S Coupé in the Sports Series as the brand brings its race derived DNA to a new audience and segment. These introductions bring the number of new McLarens launched in 2015 to four as the brand continues its rapid growth. Globally available and priced from £126,000, the 540C Coupé can be pre-ordered now with deliveries scheduled to being in early 2016.
The 540C Coupé is a pure McLaren, and a pure sports car, sharing its DNA with the models in the Super Series and Ultimate Series, including a light weight carbon fibre chassis and race-derived technologies. It is fitted with a mid-mounted 3.8-litre twin turbocharged V8 engine which has been developed to be responsive and thrilling, even at low engine speeds. As its name suggests, the Sports Series dedicated application of the award-winning McLaren power unit generates 540PS at 7,500 rpm and 540Nm of torque at 3,500-6,500 rpm. With stop-start technology, it offers optimised levels of efficiency and a longer range suited to the typical usage of cars in this segment.
At the heart of the 540C, as with the 570S, is the unique carbon fibre MonoCell II chassis which has been newly designed with a greater focus on day-to-day usability, offering improved ingress to and egress from the cabin, along with class-leading occupant protection and safety. A dry weight of as low as 1,311 kg (2,890lbs) is achieved as a result of this lightweight structure and the use of aluminium body panels. This figure sees the 540C almost 150kg lighter than its closest competitor.
Power is delivered through the rear wheels via a seven-speed seamless shift gearbox (SSG) which, aided by the low weight of the 540C, sees the 0 to 100km/h (62mph) sprint completed in 3.5 seconds, 0 to 200km/h (124mph) in just 10.5 seconds, and on to a top speed of 320km/h (199mph). Given this level of performance, 25.5 mpg on the EU combined cycle and emissions of just 258 g/km are an impressive achievement.
A subtly revised aerodynamic package and a dedicated wheel design mark out the 540C Coupé against the more powerful 570S Coupé. Unique aero blades below the front bumper channel cold, clean air through the lower bodywork and up over the sculpted bonnet, flanked by large LED headlamps. At the rear, the diffuser sits between the twin exhausts which exit below the rear bumper. The aerodynamically-led styling of the Sports Series Coupé includes intricately designed dihedral doors which include the elegant floating door tendon. This design feature channels air along the length of the door into the two integrated air intakes mounted in the rear quarter panel. This creates a clean path for the air to flow along the bodywork with minimal drag, directing air to the flying buttresses at the rear of the cabin which optimise air flow over the rear deck to increase downforce levels and aid engine cooling. An integrated spoiler at the trailing edge of the rear deck provides optimal downforce.
The 540C Coupé is fitted with distinctive new cast alloy wheels, available with silver or stealth finish, 19-inch at the front and 20-inch at the rear. These are fitted with Pirelli P Zero™ tyres as standard, which have been developed specifically for the Sports Series to offer high levels of performance in all conditions, with progressive levels of grip and a focus on comfort. The 540C retains the Formula 1™-derived Brake Steer system, designed to aid cornering through the application of braking force to the inside rear wheel. This enables later braking into corners, and earlier application of power on exit.
The 540C features a newly-developed suspension system ensuring enhanced levels of driver engagement and refinement on both road and track. The system uses front and rear anti-rollbars Formula 1™- style dual wishbones and independent adaptive dampers. The damper tuning has been revised on 540C, over 570S, with more focus on day-to-day road driving. Adaptive dampers offer control over bump and rebound settings using the familiar McLaren ‘Normal’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Track’ handling settings, with the Sports Series having its own unique damper settings. In ‘Normal’ mode, the system provides a refined yet engaging ride, while the ‘Sport’ and ‘Track’ settings allow a greater level of focus and engagement when required. Twin damper valves ensure precise control, while dual wishbone suspension provides optimised levels of ride quality and driver feedback.
The interior of the Sports Series has been created with a focus on space and ergonomics, offering great outward visibility and interior space for occupants and their belongings. Organic curves carried inside from the exterior design bring delicate tension without aggression to ensure the cabin remains a welcoming environment.
Inside the cabin, the 540C Coupé is luxuriously appointed with leather upholstery to the seats, dashboard and lower doors as standard. The ‘floating’ centre console features a seven-inch IRIS touchscreen which controls all elements of the infotainment system. The air conditioning controls are also incorporated, as first seen on the McLaren P1™, minimising switchgear in the cabin. The touchscreen also controls the standard DAB digital radio, as well as satellite navigation, Bluetooth telephony and media streaming, voice activation and the audio media player. The IRIS system also includes the electronic owner’s manual.
The McLaren 540C Coupé is the second model to join the Sports Series, and sits alongside the 570S Coupé. Both models are available to order from the dedicated global McLaren retail network, operating in every major automotive market, in more than 30 countries. Pricing for the 540C Coupé starts from £126,000.
McLAREN 540C TECHNICAL STATISTICS
0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) 3.5 seconds 0-200 km/h (0-124 mph) 10.5 seconds Top speed 320 km/h (199 mph) Power-to-weight 412PS per tonne
ENGINE & POWERTRAIN
Engine configuration V8 Twin Turbo / 3799cc Power 540PS (533 bhp) @ 7,500 rpm Torque 540Nm (398 lb ft) @ 3,500-6,500 rpm Transmission 7 Speed SSG CO2 258 g/km Economy 25.5 mpg (EU combined) Engine lubricant Mobil 1 New Life™ 0W-40
DIMENSIONS & WEIGHT
Dry weight 1,311 kg (2,890lbs) with lightweight options Weight distribution (f / r) 42 / 58 Length 4,530mm Width 2,095mm Height 1,202mm
Notes to Editors:
A selection of high resolution images accompanying this release is available to download from the McLaren Automotive media site – www.media.mclarenautomotive.com.
About McLaren Automotive:
McLaren Automotive is a British manufacturer of luxury, high-performance sports cars, located at the McLaren Technology Centre (MTC) in Woking, Surrey.
Following the global launch of McLaren Automotive in 2010, the groundbreaking 12C was launched in 2011, the 12C Spider in 2012, and the limited-run McLaren P1™ went into production in 2013. In keeping with its plan to introduce a new model each year, the company unveiled the 650S, in coupe and Spider form in 2014, and has announced the Sports Series among the models to be introduced in 2015. The brand continues to expand, and McLaren posted a profit during 2013 – only the third year of vehicle production. This was followed in 2014, by a third consecutive year of growth in sales with a record 1,648 vehicles delivered via a dedicated global network of retailers in every major automotive market.
McLaren Automotive Partners
To support the development, engineering and manufacture of its range of innovative and highly acclaimed sports cars, McLaren Automotive has partnered with world leading companies to provide specialist expertise and technology including, AkzoNobel, ExxonMobil, Pirelli and SAP.
Designed for the track; Developed for the road
The connection between Formula 1 and road cars at McLaren is a natural process of experience, knowledge, principles and process transfer. Through the integration of 50 years of Formula 1™ racing expertise and knowledge, and over 20 years of heritage in producing landmark sports cars, McLaren Automotive designs, develops and builds a range of technologically advanced and groundbreaking high performance sports cars which are designed to be a no compromise drive on both road and track.
McLaren has pioneered the use of carbon fibre in vehicle production over the past 30 years, and since introducing a carbon chassis into racing and road cars with the 1981 McLaren MP4/1 and 1993 McLaren F1 respectively, McLaren has not built a car without a carbon fibre chassis.