RE: McLaren 540C: Spotted

Sunday 14th April

McLaren 540C: Spotted

Woking's entry-level model is capable of hitting 124mph in 10.5 seconds. For less than £100k...



Not many manufacturers would call a model that can sprint from zero to 62mph in 3.5 seconds and reach 124mph just seven seconds after that a sports car. But in the world of McLaren, the 540C is very much a 'Sports Series' offering. It's the manufacturer's entry-point, after all, offering the least power and most relaxed setup of any current Woking car.

Perhaps it's for this reason that a three-year-old example of this cheapest McLaren - which, we should remember, is also capable of 199mph - can be had for less than £100k. See today's Spotted for proof. It may be the baby of McLaren's range, but the 540C is every bit of the class-surpasser its more potent siblings have so consistently been.


For starters, the car uses hardware that essentially comes from the segment above. Yes, the MonoCell II tub sits on slackened, more forgiving suspension to give the 540C a better ride, while the Ricardo-built McLaren 3.8-litre V8 has been retuned so it produces 540hp - 30hp less than the next McLaren in the range. Sure, the turbocharged engine can't evoke emotion like Audi's R8 V10 and the Porsche 911 Turbo S is more explosive on the road. But the McLaren is arguably the most complete driver's package of the bunch, certainly nothing works its parts with better cohesion.

Only a car with innards as rigid as this could offer such a vast array of handling traits. The 540C's ride is supple, its damping beautiful and body control brilliant. It achieves this without the need for active chassis technology, as used by higher-priced McLarens, relying only on more conventional three-stage adaptive damping to give the car its broad personality. It's also about as long as a mid-sized hatchback and visibility and access is very good indeed. As far as daily sports cars go, then, this one's easy to live with.


Spec one right, as the previous owner of this 540C has, and it can really look the part, too. Painted in Storm Grey with matching alloys that hide orange calipers, it's a discreet but purposeful looking 540C - one that ought to attract looks of admiration, rather than disapproval. The matching interior colours make for a sporting, but far from garish cabin, too. And the former owner continued their good form with the speccing of an optional front-lift system and soft-close doors.

For someone with £98,950, then, a McLaren as broadly talented as this must be extremely tempting. Question is, where would your money go?


SPECIFICATION - MCLAREN 540C

Engine: 3,799cc V8 twin-turbo
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 540@7,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 398@13,500rpm
MPG: 26.4
CO2: 249g/km
First registered: 2016
Recorded mileage: 13,000
Price new: £135,500 (2019)
Price now: £98,950

See the full ad here.

Author
Discussion

flowman

Original Poster:

59 posts

149 months

Sunday 14th April
quotequote all
Right! That’s my Sunday sorted. What would I buy if I had this sort of money? The McLaren would have to be right up there but a quick glance at the PH classifieds shows an Audi R8 RWS with only 2050 miles that would have me scratching my head. I may be gone for some time.....

Nightshade

52 posts

126 months

Sunday 14th April
quotequote all
That is a LOT of car for the money.

Ekona

1,554 posts

142 months

Sunday 14th April
quotequote all
Torque (lb ft): 398@13,500rpm

Wow, didn’t realise the engine in those revved that high wink

DanG355

92 posts

141 months

Sunday 14th April
quotequote all
My like/dislike of McLarens seem very spec driven. This one is a corker & the only thing I would change would be orange seatbelts!

If I had £100k knocking about this would be a serious contender to have in the garage to use as a weekend & road trip car. Would probably end up with a £50k Ultima and a few 80’s & 90’s Bmw’s instead though.

senninha2

126 posts

121 months

Sunday 14th April
quotequote all
Nice deal for someone ... and if like me you find it hard to tell the difference between the various iterations from Woking, the only badge you’ll notice is the Mclaren across the back ... here’s hoping the next keeper buys to drive ...
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RSbandit

468 posts

72 months

Sunday 14th April
quotequote all
There are quite a few 570s models close to 100k now too so that would be my preference...have had a 570s spider as a courtesy car this weekend whilst my V12VS is being serviced they really are epic driving machines.

garyhun

26,485 posts

168 months

Sunday 14th April
quotequote all
RSbandit said:
There are quite a few 570s models close to 100k now too so that would be my preference...have had a 570s spider as a courtesy car this weekend whilst my V12VS is being serviced they really are epic driving machines.
I had a few hours in a Spider last year and agree they are epic.

There’s a thread in the McLaren forum where someone is just about to buy a used one with lots of MSO bits and paint. Well over £200k list and now available for £130k before any haggling!

justin220

3,929 posts

144 months

Sunday 14th April
quotequote all
I've had my 540C for just over a year now and absolutely delighted with it

I had a look at various cars, including a 12C and 570S but ended up with a 540C as it had a longer warranty included.

I'm averaging 26-27mpg, mainly NSL roads and not a lot of town driving. I've never driven anything that accelerates like it. I'd best describe it like a very fast Lotus. Handles like one, but goes a lot quicker.


Tomintoul Road by justinking1986, on Flickr

RSbandit

468 posts

72 months

Sunday 14th April
quotequote all
I had the spider out on some b roads yday so driving enthusiastically but I was amazed at how bad the fuel economy is 3/4 a tank for 120 odd miles!

SpudLink

2,400 posts

132 months

Sunday 14th April
quotequote all
justin220 said:
I've had my 540C for just over a year now and absolutely delighted with it

I had a look at various cars, including a 12C and 570S but ended up with a 540C as it had a longer warranty included.

I'm averaging 26-27mpg, mainly NSL roads and not a lot of town driving. I've never driven anything that accelerates like it. I'd best describe it like a very fast Lotus. Handles like one, but goes a lot quicker.


Tomintoul Road by justinking1986, on Flickr
Interesting you say that. I was reading the article and thinking this is what Lotus need to match with their next car. Chasing Porsche is a mistake. The McLaren Sports Series is exactly what Lotus could do with as the top of their range. Completely in step with what they do best.

It might not be what people think of as a ‘supercar’ in 2019, but as a road car I’d take this over the Super Series, or the equivalent from Maranello


birdcage

2,455 posts

145 months

Sunday 14th April
quotequote all


Here's mine..Couldn't think of anything else modern that was similar money.

Very good car, I even like the noise and thats after owning a Ferrari 355 with a Capristo exhaust..

justin220

3,929 posts

144 months

Sunday 14th April
quotequote all
^Which exhaust do you have?

SpudLink said:
Interesting you say that. I was reading the article and thinking this is what Lotus need to match with their next car. Chasing Porsche is a mistake. The McLaren Sports Series is exactly what Lotus could do with as the top of their range. Completely in step with what they do best.

It might not be what people think of as a ‘supercar’ in 2019, but as a road car I’d take this over the Super Series, or the equivalent from Maranello
I owned an Evora before the 540C, and the ride in the Evora was outstanding. Probably the best I've ever been in, so compliant. If they added the power and drama of a proper supercar it could be a really winner for them

SpudLink

2,400 posts

132 months

Sunday 14th April
quotequote all
justin220 said:
I owned an Evora before the 540C, and the ride in the Evora was outstanding. Probably the best I've ever been in, so compliant. If they added the power and drama of a proper supercar it could be a really winner for them
Do you mind if I ask which Evora you had? I’ve driven a late version of the S, but not the new shape 400. It didn’t feel supercar fast, but it was a beautiful car to drive.

I was hoping prices would eventually drop below £30k at some point, but it seems I will have to “invest” more than that if I really want one.

big_rob_sydney

2,260 posts

134 months

Sunday 14th April
quotequote all
Q: Question is, where would your money go?
A: Litchfield tuned GTR

Is this even a serious question?

StuH

2,503 posts

213 months

Sunday 14th April
quotequote all
birdcage said:


Here's mine..Couldn't think of anything else modern that was similar money.

Very good car, I even like the noise and thats after owning a Ferrari 355 with a Capristo exhaust..
Inetersting! I owned a 355 with Capristo a ways back and I've never had anything else that came close. cloud9

Now in a 997 Turbo but getting the itch and with 570's now around the 991 Turbo money I'm tempted to sacrifice the rear seat practicality (used for dogs and kids biggrin ) and go with McLaren.

saxy

157 posts

64 months

Sunday 14th April
quotequote all
As a sports / supercar, this is quite an amazing deal for the performance. For the zest, the R8 V10 is still more exciting.

Taaaaang

4,330 posts

126 months

Sunday 14th April
quotequote all
What's the interior space in one of these like?

Would someone 6'4" fit inside?

justin220

3,929 posts

144 months

Sunday 14th April
quotequote all
SpudLink said:
Do you mind if I ask which Evora you had? I’ve driven a late version of the S, but not the new shape 400. It didn’t feel supercar fast, but it was a beautiful car to drive.

I was hoping prices would eventually drop below £30k at some point, but it seems I will have to “invest” more than that if I really want one.
I had one of the early NA cars, it wasn't an LE car, but 2010 new i think.

Brooking10

4,423 posts

81 months

Sunday 14th April
quotequote all
saxy said:
As a sports / supercar, this is quite an amazing deal for the performance. For the zest, the R8 V10 is still more exciting.
R8 nicer noise and thats it.

Mac Sports Series is a much more engaging car to drive.


Brooking10

4,423 posts

81 months

Sunday 14th April
quotequote all
Taaaaang said:
What's the interior space in one of these like?

Would someone 6'4" fit inside?
Yes I suspect you would.

I'm just shy of 6 2 and fat and have had no issues.

Equally my dad has been in with me and he's 6 5 and thin smile