McLaren 540C revealed: £126k car is the 'cheapest McLaren ever'

Gull-winged supercar shown in Shanghai can accelerate from 0 to 62mph in a blistering 3.5sec


British supercar manufacturer McLaren has unveiled the cheapest car it has ever produced – the McLaren 540C Coupé – but it will still set you back £126,000.

The supercar, which debuted at the Shanghai Motor Show, can accelerate from 0 to 62mph in just 3.5sec and from 0 to 124mph in 10.5sec. It has a top speed of 199mph – nearly 130mph above the speed limit.

Nevertheless, the gull-winged 540C is still slower than its stablemates. The more powerful McLaren 570S goes from 0 to 62mph in 3.2sec and has a top speed of 204mph.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

The new car "brings McLaren closer to more 'mainstream' sports cars such as the Audi R8 and Porsche 911", says Autocar magazine.

McLaren says that the 540C is 150kg lighter than its benchmark competitor, the Porsche 911. It is also longer, lower and wider than the Porsche.

At £126,000, it is also the cheapest car the Surrey-based company has ever produced. But despite the lower price tag, the "the build quality and the fit and finish are worthy of the McLaren name", says Auto Evolution. "Step inside the cabin, and there's not a single piece of leather that doesn't fit in or plastic that looks cheap. Since this is bound to take on Porsche models, this approach was expected."

Standard features that are expected to come with the car include DAB+ digital radio, voice control and media player, as well as satellite navigation and Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming, reports.

The 540C has new alloy wheels and a "revised aerodynamic package" which help differentiate it from its more powerful cousin, the 570S, AutoExpress reports.

The car can be switched from Normal to Sport and Track modes to offer more control over the car's handling. In many ways, the 540C is "very much as the 570S", PistonHeads says, with the same interior and 1,311kg minimum kerbweight.

According to McLaren, the car also features a "newly-developed suspension system" which underlines the 540C's focus on day-to-day road driving.

The lower than usual price tag makes the 540C the "supercar for the average Joe" says Business Insider. "The McLaren's carbon-fibre passenger compartment has been redesigned to make getting in and out of the low-slung machine a bit less awkward than it is in your average supercar", the website says.

"Overall, the 540C is intended to deliver a more refined experience, something that's important for the customer McLaren is targeting: first-time supercar owners who don't want supercar hassles," Business Insider says.

Global deliveries are due to begin early next year.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.