Forget about the multi-million dollar limited-edition McLaren specials for a moment, because this here is perhaps the brand’s most important model, since the MP4-12C. The McLaren Artura is Woking’s first series-production hybrid vehicle, which will help usher in a whole new era of electrified motoring for the company.
With the all-new Artura, McLaren has ditched the somewhat-confusing number-based naming scheme in favour of actual names. Also gone is the 3.8-litre V8 engine that has almost become synonymous to the brand, replaced by an all-new 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 hybridised power unit.
On its own, the petrol-powered engine generates an easy-to-remember 585 hp and 585 Nm of torque, but the electric bits – consisting of a 7.4 kWh battery pack and a single electric motor housed within the new eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox – raises the output up to a total of 680 hp and 720 Nm of torque.
Now normally, a car of this nature will usually add a tonne of weight, but thanks to specific weight-saving efforts throughout the entire car (the entire hybrid powertrain weighs just 80 kg more than the old V8), the Artura weighs just 1,498 kg at the kerb – or 27 kg more than a 720S.
Without the extra weight to lug around, the McLaren Artura reaches 100 km/h from a standstill in just 3.0 seconds, onward to 300 km/h in an impressive 21.5 seconds, and all the way up to an electrically-limited top speed of 330 km/h.
The electric motor provides “torque infill” at lower speeds and during gear changes for an instantaneous throttle response, but if you’re just cruising around at city speeds (up to 130 km/h), the battery pack is sufficient for a fully-electric range of 30 km.
Also contributing to the Artura’s feather weight is the new McLaren Carbon-Fibre Lightweight Architecture (MCLA) chassis, weighing just 82 kg by itself, alongside the “shrink-wrapped” body panels made from a combination of carbon fibre and Superformed aluminium.
To go along with the new powertrain and carbon fibre tub, the Artura – for the first time ever on a McLaren road-legal model – is also fitted with an electronically-controlled rear limited-slip differential (E-diff), where the driver can control the slip angle during a drift via the Variable Drift Control settings.
The rear suspension is new, too, now a five-link wishbone set-up that further reduces unsprung mass. However, the power steering rack is still the same electro-hydraulic system, which, McLaren insists, best delivers the “immediacy, on-centre feel and detailed feedback” for the driver over the electric systems used by most rivals.
As with all other McLaren models, access to the cabin is done through the dihedral doors, which have been reengineered on the Artura to open closer to the body. Inside, you’ll find a vertically-oriented eight-inch infotainment display alongside a digital instrument cluster running McLaren’s new MIS II software, promising a “smartphone level of responsiveness”, while over-the-air updates will be able to enhance the functionalities of various systems, including the optional advance driver assistance suite.
With the Artura, McLaren has essentially jettisoned its existing Sports and Super Series classifications. In its place is a new “supercars” segment, putting it squarely in between the McLaren GT and 720S.
“Every drop of McLaren’s experience and expertise has been poured into the Artura. Our all-new, High-Performance Hybrid delivers all of the performance, driver engagement and dynamic excellence for which McLaren is renowned, with the additional benefit of EV driving capability,” said McLaren Automotive CEO, Mike Flewitt.
“The introduction of the Artura is a landmark moment – for McLaren, for our customers who will appreciate and enjoy this car on every emotional and rational level, and for the supercar world.”