It is being described as the ‘budget McLaren’ but the second model in the racing brand’s new Sports Series will still set you back a princely £126,000 for starters.
The 540C Coupe, revealed at this week’s Shanghai Motor Show, joins stablemate the recently revealed 570S Coupé in the Sports Series as McLaren presents its race-derived DNA to a new audience.
It brings the number of new McLarens launched already this year to four, and though the order book is now open, the 540C won’t actually arrive until early next year.
Billed as a pure McLaren and a pure sports car sharing its DNA with the models in the Super Series and Ultimate Series, the coupe has a lightweight carbon fibre chassis and mid-mounted 3.8-litre twin turbocharged V8 engine.
Power is delivered through the rear wheels via a seven-speed gearbox and acceleration is 0-62 in 3.5 seconds with a potential top speed of 199mph. The Combined fuel return is 25.5mpg and CO2 are 258g/km.
A revised aerodynamic package and a dedicated wheel design mark out the 540C Coupe against the more powerful 570S.
Aero blades below the front bumper channel clean air through the lower bodywork and over the sculpted bonnet, flanked by large LED headlamps.
At the rear, the diffuser sits between the twin exhausts which exit below the rear bumper and an integrated spoiler at the trailing edge of the rear deck provides more downforce.
Stylish touches see the 540C fitted with cast alloy wheels, available with silver or stealth finish, 19-inch at the front and 20-inch at the rear.
And the car retains the Formula 1-derived Brake Steer system, designed to aid cornering through braking force to the inside rear wheel for later braking into corners, and more instant power on exit.
Adaptive dampers use the familiar McLaren ‘Normal’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Track’ handling settings.
Inside, the cabin is leather-clad while a ‘floating’ centre console features a seven-inch touchscreen with incorporated air-con, as first seen on the McLaren P1, to minimise switchgear in the cabin.