The McLaren Artura review
By Noelle Faulkner
Sweet relief. These are the first two words that came to my brain the second I slid into the cockpit of the new McLaren Artura. I’d just swapped out a high-performance SUV for this compact hybrid supercar for the week and couldn’t have been happier. Why? Because there is something truly special about a modern McLaren. They’re sharp, nimble, technical and incredibly responsive cars, and from a driver’s perspective, McLarens just have a way of communicating to you that feels almost emotionally intelligent. Though, I suppose that’s what some people call ‘feedback’. And unfortunately, it’s a trait few cars can brag about these days.
As the marque’s first production hybrid – a new chapter in the brand’s identity, technology and investment – the Artura has a lot banking on it. And while these dynamic traits I mentioned are still as ever-present as ever, forget everything you know about its modern-day cousins. The Artura may draw some of its heritage from the McLaren P1, but it shares nothing with any other McLaren that came before it – this thing is completely, and fantastically fresh.
For context, McLaren now has three pillars: GT(GT), Supercar (765LT,750s) and Ultimate Series (Senna, Speedtail, Elva). Artura sits within the Supercar series, and while it competes with the Maserati MC20, Lotus Emira and Lamborghini Huracán Tecnica (or whatever the next generation of Lamborghini V10 hybrid will be), its biggest rival is undoubtedly fellow V6 hybrid Ferrari 296 GTB. Being the more affordable out of the two, it comes for the incredibly capable Ferrari’s throat with razor focus.
Underpinning Artura is the new McLaren Carbon Lightweight Architecture (MCLA), a clever carbon-fibre monocoque with aluminium subframes and a more compact and lightweight electrical system that uses ethernet cabling instead of traditional wiring methods. According to McLaren’s engineers, this was designed to create faster and more efficient connectivity, especially when it comes to managing heat and electromagnetic interference. So there’s that.
Powering it is a lovely new 500kW/720nNm, 3.0L twin-turbo-charged V6, placed at 120 degrees and with its turbos sitting in the V-shape, which allows for heat to escape up and out efficiently through the rear centre vent. This is coupled with a 7.4kW battery pack that while small, offers around 30kms of pure electric range, up to 130km/h. It’s a plug-in, but, similar to what we see in Formula 1, the engine is capable of charging the battery itself. This means the Artura starts in pure-electric mode, which I’m sure some owners’ neighbours will appreciate, though that initial, heart-fluttering engine startup is no more.
Lean, lightweight (at just 1,498kg) and minimal, Artura is a beautiful car in the metal. Its understated presence doesn’t whisper per se, but it’s like a beautiful piece of jewellery – similar to what we’ve seen with the McLaren GT. It has a top speed of 330km/h and a nice (urban) efficiency of 4.6L/100km, believe it or not!