The McLaren Artura plug-in hybrid is a 670-hp supercar superstarFebruary 17, 2021
We’re always stoked when a new McLaren hits the scene, but Tuesday’s unveiling of the Artura is particularly exciting. That’s because the Artura isn’t just the evolution of McLaren’s current skill set, it’s a brand-new car from the ground up. From the chassis to the powertrain to the onboard tech and beyond, the Artura is a big step forward for McLaren’s supercars.
New architecture and a hybrid heart
It all starts with the straightforwardly named McLaren Carbon Lightweight Architecture, or MCLA. This is the new tub that will underpin the next generation of McLaren cars, built at the company’s Composites Technology Center in the UK. Made from superformed aluminum and carbon fiber, McLaren says MCLA intentionally has a functional, “shrink-wrapped” appearance, and it’s stronger and safer than the company’s previous monocoque tub. All told, the Artura tips the scales at 3,303 pounds when full of fluids — about the same as a base Porsche 911 Carrera — which is impressive considering there’s a plug-in hybrid powertrain with heavy batteries onboard.
With numbers like that, it’s no surprise the Artura’s performance specs are damn good. McLaren says the Artura can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3 seconds flat, from 0 to 124 mph in 8.3 seconds and from 0 to 186 mph in 21.5 seconds — though I’m not exactly sure where you’ll use that last one. The Artura’s top speed is electronically limited to 205 mph, and the coupe can bring itself to a halt from 124 mph in a scant 126 feet.
Power runs through an eight-speed sequential automatic gearbox, and interestingly, there’s no additional reverse gear; the Artura’s electric motor handles backing-up duties. The Artura uses a rear-wheel-drive layout with an electronic locking differential, and there are Comfort, Sport and Track driving modes. Comfort will largely keep the engine off at speeds below 40 mph, but Sport and Track leave the V6 fired up at all times. A further Electric mode decouples the engine from the transmission, allowing for full-EV operation. And hey, you no longer have to push an Active button on the console to switch between the modes, either, like you do on McLaren’s current cars.
The 7.4-kWh battery allows the Artura to drive under fully electric power, but not for very long. McLaren claims an EV range of just 19 miles, but that’s on the notoriously optimistic European WLTP cycle; US EPA ratings are still TBD. The Artura can travel at speeds up to 81 mph on electric power alone, though doing so will obviously decrease your range. The battery can recuperate energy from the engine to charge it on the go, and McLaren says it should take about 2.5 hours to get to an 80% charge on a Level 2 plug. McLaren even provides a six-year/50,000-mile battery warranty.
While the majority of hybrids and EVs use regenerative braking to send energy back to the battery, McLaren intentionally left this out of the Artura. “There is no function to regenerate the battery through the vehicle’s braking system,” McLaren said in a statement. “The engine can provide sufficient charging, and this ensures feel through the brake pedal is entirely consistent.”
Adaptive suspension and hydraulic steering
The Artura’s new suspension consists of dual aluminum wishbones up front and a new upper-wishbone, lower-multilink arrangement at the rear. Adaptive dampers are found at all four corners, and the Artura has McLaren’s new Proactive Damping Control tech that can scan the road ahead and adjust the suspension accordingly.
The Artura rides on a bespoke set of staggered Pirelli P-Zero tires: 235/35s on 19-inch wheels up front, 295/35s on 20-inch wheels out back. You can spring for an optional set of P-Zero Corsa tires if a lot of track driving will be in your future, and McLaren will even sell you Pirelli Sottozero winter tires for your Artura. (We love to see people.) Regardless of the tires, you’ll find carbon-ceramic brakes with aluminum calipers behind the wheels, similar to the ones McLaren already uses on the 600LT and 720S.
One of Roadshow’s favorite traits of all McLarens is the perfectly weighted, wonderfully communicative steering. Happily, despite all the electronic advancements in other areas, McLaren opted to use an older, hydraulic steering setup for the Artura, meaning that great connection between car and driver should remain intact. Three cheers for that.
More infotainment and driver-assistance tech
The Artura’s electrified architecture allows it to have a greater number of modern driver-assistance features than other McLarens, including full-speed adaptive cruise control, road-sign recognition, lane-departure warning and automatic high beams. Over-the-air updates will allow McLaren to continually update the Artura’s driver-assistance suite as more features become available, too.
Inside, the Artura will have an updated version of McLaren’s infotainment system. Called MIS II, this Android-based platform is housed on an 8-inch vertical touchscreen, and has bothand functionality. It doesn’t look all that different from the old Iris system in terms of graphics, but hopefully a more modern processor and better software will make this easier to use. That said, Apple/Android smartphone mirroring tech is best used on horizontally oriented screens, so it’ll likely be pretty small on this display. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Refined inside, expressive outside
The Artura’s interior looks really freakin’ nice, done up with a lot of the super-high-quality materials McLaren used in the new GT and Speedtail. The standard seats are adjustable 10 ways and heated, but you can also spring for single-shell Clubsport chairs that adjust around a single H-point to get you in a comfortable but purposeful driving position.
Other bits of newness include an instrument cluster that moves with the steering wheel, and the drive modes are mounted on this movable console rather than on the center stack. Additionally, McLaren worked hard to reduce overall levels of noise, vibration and harshness inside the Artura, making the car more comfortable day to day. “Thrilling to drive, easy to live with,” according to McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt.
As for the exterior design, we’ve saved that bit for last because it’s arguably the least revolutionary thing about the Artura. McLaren design director Rob Melville says the Artura is “literally a piece of technical sculpture” and “a result of the forces around it.” I love the handsome surfacing around the side air intakes. The slim taillights show a link to the GT, but the overall design is significantly more appealing. It’s attractive.
In addition to the standard Artura, three trim levels — Performance, TechLux and Vision — will be available. The base car has seats and interior panels covered in Alcantara suede, while the other trimlines can be had with soft Nappa leather. The Vision pack is what we’re most interested in checking out, honestly, with its significantly more vibrant color options. For US-spec cars, standard equipment includes a front-axle lift, heated mirrors, parking sensors, a rear-view camera and soft-close doors. A whole mess of options are available, including a Bowers & Wilkins stereo, adaptive LED headlights and a 360-degree camera.
Pricing and availability
The first Arturas won’t arrive in the US until later this year, but interested parties can place their orders now. Obviously, none of this comes cheap; the Artura starts at $225,000, putting it right between the 570GT, 570S and 600LT, and it’s priced accordingly.and 720S. The Artura technically replaces McLaren’s current Sport Series of cars, including the
The Artura sure seems impressive, but of course, it’s only the beginning. Excited as I am to get a drive in this one, I can’t wait to see what comes next.