Published on April 20th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
McLaren 540C launched at Auto Shanghai
Perhaps it’s getting a little bit old, but it seems the McLaren has released yet another variant of their ever popular 650 S. What started out as the MP4-12C has evolved over the course of a generation, and then tweaked to produce different variants in order to attack different market segments. It’s a little like playing around with the quality-versus-speed settings on a printer.
But honestly, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The 650 S is a great car that was surprisingly sharp and incredibly refined, setting the bar when it came to all-round drivability in a supercar. It was efficient and quick, making it a good basis to work with when developing different models for different market segments.
And let’s be fair, Porsche has been doing the same thing for years. The 911 platform has so many different variants, and despite being the same car underneath it all, there seems to be no issue with accepting that each model is unique and targets a very specific set of rivals.
Perhaps the issue is that the 911 has long been accepted as a widely produced car, while the MP4-12C and the succeeding 650 S were regarded as more special and much rarer. The fact that the model is available for largely similar looks at a much lower price point must be a little sore for existing 650 S owners. The perils of mass-produced supercars.
Despite being the “budget” McLaren, the 540 C is still plenty fast. It pushes out a good 533 bhp from the same 3.8-litre turbo V8 that we find in the 570 S. The platform, while derived from the 650 S, is closer to the 570 S in that it’s a little longer for more luggage room.
And while it’s devoid of that crazy hydraulic suspension that gave the 650 S it’s extremely flexible ride, it is said that the suspension makes the 570 S more nimble when combined with a faster steering ratio- and it will be interesting to see how this applies in an even more budget-friendly variant.