New entry-level McLaren 540C revealed in China

Most basic McLaren sports car gets 533bhp and will do 0-62mph in 3.5 seconds. The 540C is priced from £126k

A new entry-level McLaren 540C has been unveiled at the 2015 Shanghai Motor Show, undercutting the recently revealed 570S in the brand’s Sports Series range. 

The 540C can be pre-ordered now, with first deliveries early next year. Prices start from £126,000 – putting it in direct competition with the Porsche 911 Turbo, Audi R8 V10 and Mercedes AMG-GT S

Billed as “the most attainable McLaren yet”, the 540C is the fourth new McLaren to be launched this year, continuing the British manufacturer’s intense model onslaught. It’ll share its platform with the £143,250 570S, using the same carbon fibre MonoCell II chassis and aluminium body panels. 

The 540C gets a subtly revised aerodynamic package and a new alloy wheel design to separate it from the 570S. The 19-inch (front) and 20-inch (rear) wheels are shod in Pirelli P Zero rubber and have been developed specifically for the McLaren Sports Series models. The dampers have been tweaked to offer a more comfortable ride, but retain the familiar Normal, Sport and Track modes for greater engagement when desired. 

All 540C models feature unique aero blades below the front bumper, which channel air through the bodywork and over the bonnet towards the rear of the car. Like the 570S, the 540C uses the same mid-engine rear-wheel-drive configuration, applying power through a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox.

Despite this being the cheapest McLaren ever, the performance stats don’t disappoint. The 0-62mph sprint takes just 3.5 seconds, while 0-124mph is covered in 10.5 seconds. It’ll keep accelerating right up to 199mph, and is said to do 25.5mpg with a light right foot.

McLaren says the 540C has been designed with a “focus on space and ergonomics, offering great outward visibility and interior space.” All cars get leather upholstery on the seats, dash and lower doors, with a seven-inch touchscreen display on the centre console. DAB radio, sat-nav and Bluetooth are also on the standard kit list.

Find out more about the cars of the 2015 Shanghai Motor Show on our hub page 

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