Fresh off the debut of the 2016 McLaren 570S Coupe at the 2015 New York Auto Show, the supercar marque has just debuted their second car in the ‘more affordable’ Sport Series lineup – the 540C – thus completing the two-car lineup that offers an option to those in the market for a sub-200k sportscar.
Before you go any further, take the time to read our preview deep dive on the 540C’s big brother, the 570S Coupe.
The 540C Coupe gets its namesake from the output rating of its 3.8L mid-mounted twin-turbo V8 – 540 ps (or 532 hp) and 540 Nm (398 lb-ft of torque). This slightly detuned version of the 3.8L from the 570S is good to propel the 540C to 100 km/h in 3.5 seconds, 200 km/h in 10.5 seconds, to a top speed of 320 km/h or 199 mph. That top speed is undoubtedly set via the onboard computer to keep the 540C out of the 200-mph club – if you want to join the 200-mph club, you’ll have to pony up for at least the 570S.
Like the 570S, the 540C utilizes a seven-speed SSG (seamless shift gearbox) to transfer power to the rear wheels. Weight-wise, expect it to be equally as light as the 570S – 150 kg lighter than its nearest competitor.
A revised aero package along with 540C-specific wheels set the 540C apart from the 570S. 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. Of course, like its sibling, the 540C shares all the same advantages of the ‘shrinkwrapped’ design from the 570S, utilizing all the airflow to maximize cooling, aerodynamics and downforce.
The damper tuning has been revised on 540C, over 570S, with more focus on everyday road and street driving. Of course, all the same McLaren ‘Normal’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Track’ handling settings come standard, 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 provide razor-sharp control and feel, while the dual wishbone suspension keeps the ride quality street-friendly while offering up top-level feedback to the driver.
Expect the pricing for the 540C to be about US$20,000 less than the US$185,000 price tag on the 570S.