McLaren has introduced the new 540C, its most affordable model yet, at the
Shanghai Auto Show. It completes the two-car lineup in the McLaren Sports
Series, along with the recently introduced
These introductions bring the number of new McLarens launched in 2015 to four as the brand continues its rapid growth.
The 540C Coupé can be pre-ordered now with deliveries scheduled to being in early 2016. It will be globally available and priced from 126,000 GBP in the United Kingdom, which is $183,000 at today's exchange rates, but the car is expected to be priced around $130,000 in the US.
The 540C Coupé is fitted with a mid-mounted 3.8-liter twin turbocharged V8 engine mated to a 7-speed transmission. As its name suggests, the Sports Series dedicated application of the power unit generates 533 hp (540 PS) at 7,500 rpm and 398 lb-ft (540 Nm) of torque at 3,500-6,500 rpm.
At the heart of the 540C, as with the 570S, is the unique carbon fiber 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. A dry weight of as low as 2,890 lb (1,311 kg) is achieved as a result of this lightweight structure and the use of aluminum body panels. This figure sees the 540C almost 330 lb (150 kg) lighter than its closest competitor.
Revised Aerodynamics Package
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.
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.
The interior of the Sports Series has been created with a focus on space and ergonomics.
The 540C Coupé is luxuriously appointed with leather upholstery to the seats, dashboard and lower doors as standard. The 'floating' center 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, minimizing 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.
New Suspension System
The 2016 McLaren 540C features a newly-developed suspension system which 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 optimized levels of ride quality and driver feedback.