Not since the P1 and Speedtail has McLaren dabbled in creating high-performance hybrids for the road.
The only problem was that those two cars also sat at the apex of McLaren’s already-hefty price range, making it even harder for regular millionaires to get their hands on one.
In light of this conundrum, the Woking-based marque has created the Artura — the new McLaren for the people, if you will — as a replacement for the 570S. And as its first series-production hybrid, the supercar is set to be the face of the brand’s hybridised future of high performance.
When we say new, we’re talking brand new, and not updated-new or improved-new. The McLaren Artura doesn’t run on the same V8 engine and seven-speed transmission, nor ride on the same suspension system or sport similar interiors as its other stablemates. Here’s what you need to know about it.
An all-new hybrid system
In place of the V8 is a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine that’s been paired to an e-motor and an energy-dense battery pack to give a combined output of 671hp and 720Nm. Paired with a custom eight-speed transmission, it’s capable of 0-100kph in 3.0 seconds, 0-200kph in 8.3 seconds, and a top speed of 330kph. The new V6’s electric motor also reduces lag in the mid-revs, so expect a more pleasurable driving experience overall.
Said battery-pack can be charged to 80 percent in just 2.5 hours with a standard EVSE cable, but it’ll also harvest power from the combustion engine depending on the four driving modes selected. In Sport and Track modes, the car maximises the car’s electric power for low-end response and quick acceleration. On the other hand, E-mode allows the Artura 30km of electric-only driving. Comfort mode — which is likely the one you’ll use most — maximises range and efficiency under most driving conditions.
Floats like a feather (well, almost)
This begins with the new house-made carbon tub that McLaren developed for this hybrid. Now that it’s established the McLaren Composites Technology Centre near northern England’s Sheffield, the manufacturer has been able to independently innovate and engineer its architecture to greater heights. Reportedly stronger, safer, and lighter than its predecessors, the new McLaren Carbon Lightweight Architecture has been designed specifically for its high-performance hybrids, starting with the Artura.
And it seems that all its efforts have paid off. The Artura is lightest in its class with an estimated kerb weight of just 1,498kg, beating even its gas-powered competitors like the 1,538kg Ferrari V8 Tributo.
New Ethernet Electrical Architecture
McLaren claims the Artura will be the first production car to use this system to connect the entire car’s numerous electronic control units, whether it’s body, chassis, or powertrain electronics. The ripple effect is sizeable — copper wiring is reduced by 25 percent and the overall weight drops by 10 percent, while enabling much faster data transmission.
It also facilitates access to modern creature comforts like adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, but if you’re a purist who thrives on good ol’ driving sensibilities, you can opt out of this package to shave 1.4kg off your ride.
The Artura takes McLaren’s design language to the next level here with what the firm calls a ‘shrink-wrapped’ appearance, which translates to a lithe, svelte sculpture with as little body shutlines and panel joints as possible. The low-nose, cab-forward, and high-tail stance is pure supercar beauty, and — for maximum drama — has dihedral doors that open upwards — this time closer to the body for better accessibility in tight parking spots.
McLaren has always put their drivers first, but now even more so with this coupe’s driver-focused cockpit. The steering wheel no longer has bits of unnecessary switches; in its place is an alien-like instrument binnacle with toggle switches that can be reached when you stretch out your fingers without leaving the wheel to control the powertrain and handling modes. It might be a brand new concept, but it’s a pretty smart middle ground for those who appreciate simplicity without compromising on control and safety.
There’s also an all-new (surprise, surprise) Clubsport seat which pivots through an elliptical arc to provide optimum back and thigh support. A 10-way comfort seat is available instead but it adds 9kg.
Driver information is offered on an all-digital screen, and an eight-inch vertical touchscreen runs the infotainment content. If you’re one to get easily distracted, a “stealth mode” allows you to switch off all but essential information from these screens.
Tyres are an important component in performance-driven cars, but McLaren takes this one step first with Pirelli Cyber Tyre technology. Besides hardware and software enhancements within the car’s electronic systems, your choice of three Pirelli P Zero tires — base, Corsa, or Sottozero — will also each be equipped with an electronic ‘chip’ that provides real-time data, which provides feedback to the stability control systems to optimise tyre performance.
Find out more about the McLaren Artura here.