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Future models - McLaren - 540C

Shanghai show: McLaren 540C Coupé races in

Fast money: The 397kW/540Nm McLaren 540C will be the most affordable model on offer from the British sportscar brand.

McLaren’s new 540C Coupe is an entry-level supercar aimed at the Porsche 911


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20 Apr 2015

MCLAREN has unwrapped its entry level offering, the 540C Coupe, at the Shanghai motor show, as the British brand expands its more affordable Sport Series range.

Described as “the most attainable McLaren yet,” the 540C joins the line-up below the recently-launched 570S, boasting a sprint to 100km/h in 3.5 seconds, 200km/h seven seconds later and a 320km/h top speed.

GoAuto revealed in late March that the 540C would debut in Shanghai, after McLaren Automotive executive director of global sales and marketing Jolyon Nash confirmed the less powerful model to assembled media at the New York motor show.

Part of a concerted effort to take the McLaren brand to a new audience and more than double its sales volumes, the 540C’s United Kingdom pricing of £126,000 has been released ahead of deliveries starting early next year.

Australian pricing and a firm release date are yet to be revealed but arrivals in 2016 are expected, as would be a price-tag in the mid-$300,000 realm to take on the 383kW/660Nm Porsche 911 Turbo, which starts at $366,500, plus on-road costs.

The staple McLaren features are present in the new coupe – a lightweight carbon-fibre 'tub' chassis, aluminium panels and a mid-mounted 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 producing 397kW at 7500 rpm and 540Nm of torque between 3500 and 6500 rpm driving the rear wheels via a seven-speed “seamless shift” dual-clutch gearbox.

It also features idle-stop fuel saving technology among its arsenal of features to deliver real-world efficiency and touring range required for day-to-day use - including a fuel economy claim around 11.3 litres per 100 kilometres.

A more comfortable ride quality is also among the claims for the new coupe’s adaptively-damped suspension, which uses front and rear anti-rollbars, Formula 1- style dual wishbones and independent adaptive dampers that can switch between Normal, Sport and Track modes.

The suspension controls 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels, which are wrapped in model-specific Pirelli P Zero tyres, and the Brake-Steer system that assists in cornering by braking the inside rear wheel.

The new McLaren measures slightly more than 4500mm in length, and 2000mm in width and 1200mm tall, yet the company claims the new car – which has a dry weight as low as 1311kg distributed 42 per cent front, 58 per cent rear – offers improved cabin entry and exit, high levels of occupant protection and safety within a cabin designed to be an ergonomic and welcoming space for occupants.

Leather trim is standard, as is the touchscreen-controlled infotainment system mounted within the “floating’’ centre console also on the standard features list, climate control (also controlled via the touchscreen), standard digital radio, satellite navigation, Bluetooth phone link and audio streaming.

Serious McLaren spotters will pick the 540 from its faster siblings by the different wheel design and altered aerodynamic package, including new blades beneath the front bumper to direct air through the air intakes and over the nose and a rear diffuser beneath the rear bumper.

The 540 – which will also spawn a convertible variant – retains the aerodynamically-favourable vertically-opening “dihedral” doors, which channel airflow over the flanks and rear of the car for downforce and cooling.

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