McLaren won’t build anything more entry-level than its 540C, and that’s a good thing

The McLaren 570S had been highly anticipated by the time it was revealed at the New York International Auto Show last month, but somewhat of a surprise was the introduction of a scaled down version just weeks later, the 540C.

Similar to the 625C, a dialed back version of the 650S, the 540C was built with a more comfortable ride in mind, and of course, with a little less power on tap. Unlike the 625C, however, the 540C is being offered on a global scale, and therefore stands as the brand’s full-fledged entry-level model.

Given the 540C is still a McLaren, the “entry-level” designation is far from the sum of its parts. On hand is a 533 horsepower, 398 pound-feet of torque version of the 3.8 liter twin-turbocharged V8 from the 570S, a carbon fiber chassis, and a slippery smooth body. Performance may not be quite as insane as the 570S, but the 540C can still rocket to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and tops out at 199 mph.

In fact, those numbers are so impressive, some have been wondering if McLaren plans to make a model to slot below the 540C and take on cars like the Audi R8 and Porsche 911. Well, wonder no longer, because McLaren Automotive’s global communications director, Wayne Bruce (not Bruce Wayne) recently stated that a sub-540C model isn’t coming — at least not for the foreseeable future.

Citing an unwillingness to become a mass production marque and the high cost of most of McLaren’s core components like carbon fiber, Bruce said a model of lesser performance and price than the $165,000 540C just doesn’t make sense. Similar to Ferrari’s claims that it will restrict production to remain exclusive, it appears McLaren doesn’t want everyone and their mother owning one of its sports cars.

But hey, there’s always the used-car market.


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