McLaren 540C road tested and rated

I don’t like most super cars. There, I’ve said it.

I find most of them crass and tasteless. Their hideous lines, ludicrous price, and horrendous reliability appeal to a conspicuous consumer interested only in consumption for the sake of it.

Then something comes along that is pure expression; that of beauty, of speed, but most of all, of class. It eschews the function-over-form cardboard cutouts, those that look like pop-outs from a toy model kit.

McLaren’s entry level car is, in many ways, bare bones. It is a purist’s impression of beauty at speed. It might have been designed by an artist such is the sum of its parts. The formula both asks, and answers questions, but makes no apologies. If you don’t like it, move along please because there is another punter right behind you who does.

The slippery exterior bristles with inconspicuous technology. Tested in wind tunnels, each curve funnels air over, through, and under, the body. There is no fancy pop-up rear spoiler either. It doesn’t need it.

Wheels are so finely crafted as to be ethereal, almost as ethereal as the shoes with which they’re shod.

LED lighting bends itself to gently outline where onlookers can be found in a pool of their own drool. There is a powerful hand built engine and passenger cell in between. They’re crafted by people who would happily pay to come to work.

The 90° V8 engine is twin turbo’d, and drives the rear wheels through a 7-speed double clutch automatic. It changes gears so fast that a new measure had to be invented just to time it.

540C shuns its feisty friends by having ample space in the frunk for a duo of designer duffels. The is a box for your gloves, and not one, but two holders for a plethora of preferred percolations.

Many, many, cows laid down their lives to give the occupants that sensual sensation of suede.

Clean and neat are my words dujour.

The deeply sculptured cabin celebrates the lines of the McLaren “swish”, which in turn, is an artist’s impression of the vortices coming off the rear wing. As I mentioned, this motor doesn’t have one.

There is something slightly disappointing in a car that feels so normal to drive. You have climate control, and wipers, and fancy lights. And there is an audio system that injects thumps directly into your chest.

The ride is as smooth as a single malt, and the gear changes as silky as a Bublé ballad. Then, there is the sound, oh my.

The engine note seems to have reached a crescendo, then another, then, yet another. You come to appreciate the symphony, and you begin to hum the tune.

There is a mode for every occasion, and each makes the beauteous bod dance like Astaire. It never puts a foot wrong. It feels as light air, and each wheel channels the road surface directly to your brain telepathically.

And, when you’re done, when you want to put your feet up, you can coast home at a care-free canter.

There are other models in the range, if you want to throw money away. Why, when the 540C is so breath-takingly brilliant. Hold on, if the entry level car is this good…..

You can read the really wordy bits HERE, but it is full of stuff you don’t want to know. Watch the VIDEO instead.

  • Engine: 3.8L V8 petrol producing 397kW/540Nm
  • Transmission: Seven-speed automatic RWD
  • Warranty: 3 years/unlimited km
  • Safety: TBA
  • Origin: England
  • Price: from $325,000