There’s about a decade separating the Mercedes SLR McLaren and the McLaren 540C, but pitting them against each other still makes for an exciting race.
Looking at the spec sheets, it seems that, in terms of power, the balance definitely tilts in favor of the SLR. Its supercharged 5.4-liter V8 engine produces 626 PS (617 HP / 460 kW) and 780 Nm (575 lb-ft) of torque and is coupled to a five-speed automatic transmission. That’s good enough to rocket it to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.8 seconds and up to a 335 km/h (208 mph) top speed.
The 540C, on the other hand, has a smaller twin-turbo V8. The 3.8-liter unit produces 540 PS (532 HP / 397 kW), hence the name, and 540 Nm (398 lb-ft) of torque. It is paired to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, a configuration that helps it sprint to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.5 seconds and max out at 320 km/h (199 mph).
Tipping the scales at almost 1,500 kg (3,295 lbs), the 540C is around 300 kg (660 lbs) lighter than the SLR and boasts a slightly better power-to-weight ratio.
In this series of tests, the two were subjected to a couple of quarter-mile drag races from a standing start, and to another from a 60 mph (96 km/h) rolling start, before concluding with a 0-100-0 race. So, does the entry-level McLaren have what it takes to beat the SRL?