Building off the positive reception of the 570S Coupe at the 2015 New York Auto Show, the 540C continues the automaker’s exploration of cheaper market segments. With a starting price of around $165,000 in the U.S., the 540C has wrestled the title of “most attainable McLaren” away from the more powerful 570S. Pretty soon, they’ll be giving these things away.
The new, globally-available model is built around the same ‘MonoCell II’ carbon fiber tub as the 570S, but the car’s behavior has been tamed slightly for daily driving. Practically, that means improved cabin ingress and egress, retuned suspension dampers, and less race-ready tech like carbon ceramic brakes.
It may be dialed down a bit, but the performance of the 540C is still stout enough to illicit plenty of giggles behind the wheel. McLaren’s proliferated 3.8-liter, twin-turbo V8 produces a Chinese tax-friendly 533 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque here, and 0 to 60 mph comes in 3.5 seconds. That’s .3 seconds slower than the 570S, but still incredibly quick.
Styling-wise, the 2,890-pound 540C is essentially identical to the 570S, which means the only real differences between the two are a few software tweaks, new wheels, and retooled aerodynamics at the bumpers.
So it’s more of a trim level or refresh than a whole new car, so what? A cheaper McLaren that can touch 199 mph is pretty great in our books.
The 540C is available to pre-order now, and deliveries will begin in early 2016.