MCLAREN will launch its second model in the new Sports Series, the McLaren 540C Coupé, at the Shanghai Motor Show, running from April 20-29.
Billed as ‘the most attainable McLaren yet’, the 540C Coupé joins the recently revealed 570S Coupé in the Sports Series as the brand brings its race derived DNA to a new audience and segment. These introductions bring the number of new McLarens launched in 2015 to four as the brand continues its rapid growth. Priced from £126,000, the 540C Coupé can be pre-ordered, with deliveries scheduled to being in early 2016.
The 540C Coupé is a pure McLaren, sharing its DNA with the models in the Super Series and Ultimate Series, including a light weight carbon fibre chassis and race-derived technologies. It is fitted with a mid-mounted 3.8-litre twin turbocharged V8 engine which has been developed to be ‘responsive and thrilling’, even at low engine speeds. The car generates 540PS at 7,500 rpm and 540 Nm of torque at 3,500-6,500 rpm. With stop-start technology, it offers optimised levels of efficiency and a longer range suited to the typical usage of cars in this segment.
As with the 570S, which was launched at the recent New York Auto Show, at the heart of the 540C is the unique carbon fibre MonoCell II chassis which has been newly designed with a greater focus on day-to-day usability, offering improved ingress to and egress from the cabin, along with class-leading occupant protection and safety. A dry weight of 1,311 kg is achieved as a result of this lightweight structure and the use of aluminium body panels, making the 540C almost 150kg lighter than its closest competitor.
Power is delivered through the rear wheels via a seven-speed seamless shift gearbox (SSG) which, aided by the low weight of the 540C, sees the 0 to 100km/h (62mph) sprint completed in 3.5 seconds, 0 to 200km/h (124mph) in just 10.5 seconds, and on to a top speed of 320km/h (199mph). Given this level of performance, 25.5 mpg on the EU combined cycle and emissions of just 258 g/km are an impressive achievement.
A subtly revised aerodynamic package and a dedicated wheel design mark out the 540C Coupé against the more powerful 570S Coupé. Unique aero blades below the front bumper channel cold air through the lower bodywork and up 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. The styling includes intricately designed dihedral doors which include the elegant floating door tendon. This channels air along the length of the door into the two integrated air intakes mounted in the rear quarter panel, creating a clean path for the air to flow along the bodywork with minimal drag, directing air to the flying buttresses at the rear of the cabin which optimise air flow over the rear deck to increase downforce and aid engine cooling. An integrated spoiler at the trailing edge of the rear deck provides optimal downforce.
The 540C Coupé is fitted with distinctive new cast alloy wheels, shod with Pirelli P Zero™ tyres as standard. The 540C retains the Formula 1™-derived Brake Steer system, designed to aid cornering through the application of braking force to the inside rear wheel. This enables later braking into corners, and earlier application of power on exit.
A newly-developed suspension system ensures “enhanced levels of driver engagement and refinement” on both road and track. The system uses front and rear anti-roll bars, Formula 1 style dual wishbones and independent adaptive dampers, which offer control over bump and rebound settings using the McLaren ‘Normal’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Track’ handling settings, with the Sports Series having its own unique damper settings. In ‘Normal’ mode, the system provides a refined yet engaging ride, while the ‘Sport’ and ‘Track’ settings allow a greater level of focus and engagement when required.
The luxuriously appointed cabin has leather upholstery on the seats, dashboard and lower doors, while the ‘floating’ centre console features a seven-inch IRIS touchscreen which controls all elements of the infotainment system.
The air conditioning controls are also incorporated, minimising switchgear in the cabin.
The touchscreen also controls the standard DAB digital radio, as well as satellite navigation, Bluetooth telephony and media streaming, voice activation and the audio media player. The IRIS system also includes the electronic owner’s manual.