APR 20th 2015

New McLaren 540C Coupe takes the fight closer to Porsche

It’s never all about the money here at GRR, but with its £126,000 price-tag the new 540C Coupe from McLaren is priced neck and neck with a 911 Turbo spec’d with Sports Chrono Package and PDCC. Interesting, huh?

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The new McLaren has just been unveiled at the Shanghai show, and features a 540PS version of the firm’s 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8.  With the McLaren 540C order books now open we expect phones will be ringing red-hot at dealers around the world.

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For that money the new entry level McLaren brings you 0-62mph acceleration in 3.5secs, 0-124mph in 10.5secs, and a top speed of 199mph – which means it gives away a couple of tenths to the Porsche in a traffic-light sprint, but delivers an extra 4mph in top-end bragging rights. And the comparative Nurburgring times? Who knows, or cares… Decisions, decisions!

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With exclusivity, novelty and supercar looks on the side of the new McLaren, it would take quite a pragmatic purchaser to pick the Porsche, we reckon. But then the 911 does attract pragmatists in droves thanks to its rock-solid sense of daily usability and the security provided by its 4×4 chassis.

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McLaren says the new 540C has revised damper rates (against the 570S from which the latest model has been derived), offering improved refinement in ‘normal’ mode which is more suited to day-to-day driving. A ‘combined cycle’ figure of 25.5mpg also offers the promise of greater range, while the latest Monocell II carbonfibre chassis has been revised (also as per the 570S) to make getting in and out a bit easier.

You’ll need to have an eye for detail to distinguish the new 54oC from the 570S when deliveries begin early next year. It has a subtly revised aerodynamic package – unique aero blades below the front bumper channel air through the lower bodywork – and a bespoke wheel design as per these first official pictures.

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