The New McLaren Artura Review – McLaren’s Take on a Hybrid Supercar
McLaren has struggled to establish itself in the modern supercar industry despite launching the McLaren F1 30 years ago, building the Mercedes SLR McLaren, and releasing the McLaren MP4-12C. However, the company could be on the brink of significant progress after experiencing a rocky period. McLaren has a new CEO, a new business strategy, and a new model in the pipeline that could boost business. The McLaren Artura is the company’s most technologically ambitious project since the McLaren P1 hyper-car, featuring a British-built carbon-fibre monocoque, super-formed aluminium bodywork, and a V6 plug-in hybrid powertrain.
McLaren Artura Design – A New System
The McLaren Artura boasts an innovative design that addresses the usual weight penalties associated with plug-in hybrid powertrains, demonstrating the company’s commitment to producing modern supercars. The vehicle’s construction is based on the McLaren Carbon Lightweight Architecture (MCLA), a carbon-composite monocoque tub that McLaren manufactured for the first time for one of its models. The car’s electrical architecture is also new, employing a next-generation ethernet-based system that is controlled by four processors and connects every aspect of the vehicle via a central data gateway. This system reduces the weight of cabling by 25% and speeds up data transmission, allowing for over-the-air software updates of almost any electronically governed system.
The Artura’s primary source of power is McLaren’s new M630 wide-angle, twin-turbocharged V6 engine, which is flat enough to be packed efficiently in the engine bay, allowing the car to be shorter and narrower than its predecessor. The hybrid system adds only 130kg, featuring a lithium-ion battery with 7.4kWh of usable capacity, which can add up to 94bhp and 166 lb ft into the driveline, alongside the V6, for a total of 671 bhp and 531 lb ft. This is a significant increase over previous McLaren models and exceeds the performance of cars like the Lamborghini Huracán, Audi R8 and Honda NSX.
Despite the additional hybrid technology, the Artura’s weight remains impressively low, with a lightest running-order weight of 1498kg, just 46kg more than the 570S. The car’s layout and specifications are carefully engineered to mitigate the size and weight penalties of plug-in hybrid powertrains.
McLaren Artura Interior
The cabin of the McLaren Artura is designed to be snug but not uncomfortable for two people. The standard Clubsport seats provide a good and straight driving position, and the elliptical hinge allows for various driving positions. The cabin layout is thoughtfully refined, and the car offers useful storage space despite the lack of a glovebox. Large door pockets in the front of the door consoles effectively retain their contents as the doors pivot and swing upward. The car’s super-slim centre console offers space efficiency, including two cup holders and an armrest cubby large enough for a wallet or small purse. The console also has deep storage channels on either side of the transmission controls for a smartphone.
The instrument screen is new and digital, mounted directly onto the steering column, moving with the wheel as you adjust the latter for your ideal driving position. However, taller testers found that the screen was obscured by the rim of the steering wheel due to the column’s limited upwards rake adjustment range. The car retains McLaren’s one-piece gearshift paddle, with new toggle controls for the adaptive powertrain and chassis modes on the upper edge of the instrument binnacle. These controls are easily accessible without taking your eyes off the road.
McLaren Artura Engine & Performance
The McLaren Artura is designed to be a more daily drivable supercar than its Super Series counterparts, as was the case with the old Sports Series models it replaces. McLaren’s intention for the Artura was to provide refinement, drivability, and excitement, with the latter coming primarily from its hybrid powertrain. The responsiveness of the Artura’s powertrain is impressive, with instant torque available from the moment you step on the accelerator. Unlike the previous 570S model, you won’t need to hold onto lower gears during cross-country driving to maintain performance. The electric motor blends smoothly with the combustion engine, which takes over beyond 5000 rpm and continues pulling strongly until well past 8000 rpm.
In terms of acceleration, the Artura can go from 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds, 0-100mph in 6.3 seconds, and cover a standing quarter-mile in 10.9 seconds. The V6 engine may not be the most sonorous of engines, although it’s still preferable to the older V8. It doesn’t build to any dramatic climax, but it’s undoubtedly fast and easy to drive quickly.
Switching to Electric mode on the powertrain controller provides a significant gap in performance between Sport or Track mode and electric-only driving. However, once you’re accustomed to the electric-only potential, it’s still an easy car to drive, with adequate responsiveness at speeds over 40mph, comfortable cruising at gentler motorway speeds, and an electric range of 17 miles on a mixed route.