The 540C sits below the recently revealed 570S in McLaren’s new Sports Series range of models. It has been priced from £126,000, some £17,250 less than the more powerful 570S, and brings McLaren closer to more ‘mainstream’ sports cars such as the Audi R8 and Porsche 911.
The 540C uses a 533bhp version of the twin-turbo 3.8-litre V8 engine used in the 570S, in which it develops 562bhp. Peak power arrives at 7500rpm in the 540C and maximum torque of 398lb ft is available between 3500rpm and 6500rpm. The ‘540’ name refers to the engine’s output in metric horsepower, which is 540hp.
Power from the mid-mounted engine is sent to the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. The 0-62mph time is put at 3.5sec, the 0-124mph time is 10.5sec and the top speed is 199mph. For comparison, the 570S covers 0-62mph in 3.2sec and 0-124mph in 9.5sec and it can reach a top speed of 204mph.
The 540C’s official combined economy of 25.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 258g/km are identical to the more powerful 570S’s.
The 540C is built around a carbonfibre chassis called MonoCell II and features aluminium body panels. It has a dry weight of 1311kg, just 2kg lighter than the 570S and about 150kg less than the next lightest sports car, the R8.
There are small aerodynamic changes to the 540C compared with the 570S, plus new-look alloy wheels measuring 19in in diameter at the front and 20in at the rear. There’s also revised damper tuning, designed to make the 540C more comfortable for daily driving.
Unlike the other model in McLaren’s range to use the ‘C’ suffix — the 625C, which is available in Asia only — the 540C will be available for sale globally. It can be ordered now ahead of deliveries in early 2016. The ‘C’ is understood to stand for Clubsport.