Subtle, discrete, quiet, said no-one ever about McLaren’s entry level car, the McLaren 540C review 540C. It is lithe, nimble, quick, and light, but above all, fabulous. I could go on and on about the looks and feel, but there is absolutely nothing that will prepare you for the assault on the senses once the engine starts. The company has sold 69 cars so far this year, and that makes them very rare. You’ll be very lucky to see one on the road, and other road users know this. Never have I received so much attention in any car I’ve driven, and I liked it.
Meet McLaren’s entry level coupe, the 540C. Yes, I said Entry level, and it is a snip at $325,000. Slung low over 19” wheels up front, and 20” at the back, the 80kg tub carries all of the forces generated by the turbo V8.
Monocell II is all carbon fibre and is just one of the exotic materials crafted in to one of the best-looking cars on the road. The repeated motif of the McLaren “Swoop” can be seen in their logo. You can see it again on in the headlights, and around the vents, and inside on the doors.
From the side, you appreciate how much of the length is devoted to the magnificent howling twin turbo V8. The cabin, built on the Monocell II, benefits from developmental design tweaks. There is now a subtle dip towards the front end which rises is the sill travels rearward.
Open the door, and that sloping tub allows the feet to be swung in, movie-star-style, without having to be contorted as in earlier McLarens. Scissor doors swing slightly out before travelling skywards. After you pull up at the kerb, it is the moment everyone waits for.
The door latch is electric and is operated by a rubber button on the under side the graceful arch which sits near the upper edge of the door. You don’t need the key to open the door or start the car, but the fob has to be used to open the cargo hold at the front, and to lock the doors.
There is no bonnet. The mid-mounted engine is covered by dark mesh just behind the rear window, with only a small hatch for oil and water. The rest has to be done on a hoist from underneath. McLaren is not fussed on talentless hacks messing with their stuff. LED lighting looks spectacular.
The McLaren swoop defines lighting arrays at either end of the car. At the rear, tail lights are mere suggestions. Fine lines of bright light outline a gentle curve and change depending on whether indicators or brakes are being used. Reversing lights sit bottom centre of the rear diffuser between the tail pipes.