For McLaren’s 540C Coupe, ‘entry-level’ means 533 ponies and 0 to 60 in 3.5

Good news, budget supercar buyers: the second entrant in McLaren’s Sports Series lineup has been revealed at the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show, and it’s called the 540C Coupe.

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.

Product Review

The Nissan Rogue is smart, handsome, and practical. What’s not to love?

Year after year, Nissan’s Rogue compact crossover is a consistent best-seller, outpacing Honda’s CR-V, and even Toyota’s mighty RAV4. We looked for the reasons why people love the 2019 Nissan Rogue, and found them.

Bentley’s 542-horsepower Continental GT V8 is the best kind of downsizing

The Bentley Continental GT V8 has fewer cylinders than its W12 sibling, but Bentley expects it to offer better gas mileage and more agile handling. The V8's top speed of 198 mph is also pretty darn fast.

James Bond may ditch his V12 Aston Martin for electric power, report says

James Bond may take the wheel of an electric car in the next 007 movie, reports British newspaper The Sun. The car in question would be the Aston Martin Rapide E, the British automaker's first all-electric model.

The 2020 Ford Explorer fights flat tires with self-sealing tech from Michelin

The 2020 Ford Explorer will be the first SUV equipped with Michelin Selfseal tires, which Ford and Michelin claim can seal 90 percent of tread puncture up to a quarter of an inch in diameter.

Sibling rivalry: The Tesla Model Y takes on the Tesla Model 3

Tesla expanded its lineup with a fourth car named Model Y. It's an electric crossover positioned as a more spacious alternative to the Model 3. The two cars share about 75 percent of their components, but they're aimed at different buyers.

Can electric cars be S3XY? Tesla says yes with the new Model Y crossover

Tesla introduced a crossover named Model Y at its design studio in Los Angeles. It's a more spacious alternative to the Model 3 it shares 75 percent of its parts with, and is a smaller sibling to the Model X.

Automakers are spending billions on self-driving technology people are afraid of

Automakers are spending billions of dollars on developing the technology that will power self-driving cars, but research shows consumers have no interest in giving up control. Will they ever recoup their investment?

Adventurous and electric, Porsche’s second station wagon will arrive in 2020

The Mission E Cross Turismo concept Porsche unveiled during the 2018 Geneva Auto Show will morph into a production model tentatively named Taycan Cross Turismo. This 600-horsepower electric station wagon will arrive in showrooms by 2021.

Mustang-like and electrified. What did Ford just show a preview of?

Ford posted an enigmatic picture of a blue Mustang emblem on a black background right as Tesla prepared to introduce the Model Y. Is the Blue Oval teasing a hybrid Mustang, or is it previewing a Mustang-inspired, battery-powered crossover?

Amazon and Kia team up to simplify EV home-charging station installs

Kia Motors announced a new program with Amazon for electric vehicles. Customers planning to purchase a new Kia EV or PHEV can check out recommended Level 2 240-volt home charging stations and arrange installation in their homes.

Unrestrained by heritage, Polestar sets its sights on becoming a digital brand

With no heritage to worry about, Polestar is free to move full-speed ahead towards its goal of becoming a digital brand. All of the company's upcoming models will be electric, and they will inaugurate an Android-powered infotainment system.

Audi’s traffic light information system shows the challenges facing V2X tech

Audi’s traffic light information system is among the first commercial applications of potentially game-changing V2X tech. So how does it work in the real world? We spent a few days getting stuck at red lights to find out.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Fisker plans sub-$40,000 electric SUV with 300 miles of range for 2021

Fisker Inc. plans to launch an electric SUV with a base price of under $40,000, and a range of around 300 miles in 2021. The unnamed vehicle could compete with the Tesla Model Y, if it ever gets into production.