First impressions are - well, good. Okay, so the car we saw was a fully blinged 570S with optional carbonfibre bodywork and ultra-light forged alloy wheels; the basic 540C is going to look considerably more sparse than this. But then the entry level model is also going to have a pricetag of around £127,000 - £65,000 less than the 650S Coupe, the current entry to McLaren ownership in the UK. We're told the 570S will start at around £145,000, so still a healthy discount. And with the Sports Series also offering a carbonfibre monocoque and twin-turbocharged V8 engine it's hard to see what buyers will lose by going for the cheaper car.
The official line that the 570S is 1,313kg with 'lightweight options' rang some alarm bells - that's the same euphemism that some supercar makers use for stripping a car to a shell and then drilling holes in it. But the difference in weight between a 570S with every mass-reducing option ticked and a full-fat one is a relatively modest 31kg, meaning it's still set to be the lightest car in its segment by a fair margin.
The design is clever. McLaren's headlight treatment has split opinion here before, with the critical tide in the forums running against it. From head-on the smallness of the lights and the vastness of the number means this might be the first car to look better while wearing a UK numberplate. But you've got to respect the abilities of a design team that has managed to make the Sports Series look smaller than the 650S - as befits its status as the baby of the family - despite the fact it's slightly longer. And the cabin is just better. Scuzzy journos weren't allowed to climb into a one-off show car, but the lowered sill makes it look far easier to get into, and the dashboard and instrument pack seem neater and better laid out than the 650S.
After the Coupe there will be a second variant, which although unconfirmed we believe will be branded as Long Tail, launched in 2016 with the Spider following in 2017. And if those sales ambitions go to plan then, by then, this will be the car you're most likely to think of when somebody says "McLaren."