Artura - The New McLaren Worth Paying Attention To

McLaren is releasing a new production model - but for the first time in a while it's something we should really take note of.

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In previous years, a new McLaren could almost be said to have been nothing special. Since their return to the supercar and hypercar market a decade ago, they’ve released a dozen models, not including the convertible variants of a number of those models. That’s not to say the cars weren’t good or interesting, but it does make new launches a little less special than say a new model from Lamborghini, who have in the past 20 years only had 6 production models (not including face-lifts and convertible variants). With that in mind, I very nearly passed up the opportunity to take a little sneak peak at the newest offering from the engineers over in Woking. But after hearing what makes the new Artura different from past McLarens, I realized there’s something quite special coming soon.

Before we get to that, though, let’s take a moment to discuss where the Artura is meant to fit into the lineup. For the past four years McLaren has had its “sports series” cars that could be thought of as the “entry-level” McLaren supercars. The first model was the 570S, to which the 570GT, 540C, 600LT, and a few convertible variants were added. These cars were meant to be less powerful than other McLarens, but also smaller and lighter than other models, resulting in cars that, in my opinion, feel much livelier and are more fun to drive on roads than their larger siblings. The 570S started under $200,000 but loaded 600LT Spiders were over $300,000. The Artura will start in the low $200,000 range and make its way up to around $250,000 for highly optioned cars, taking the place as the “sports series” model going forward.

As far as new features, the Artura feels like a much-needed update to McLaren’s interiors. Gone are the “active” button and power and handling mode dials that were a staple of McLaren center consoles and gone is the insanely irritating nose lift system that was hidden in a menu in the gauge cluster. Power and handling modes are now on switches behind the steering wheel, with the manual mode and traction control buttons integrated into them. It seems an odd placement at first glance, but once you put your hands at 10 and 2 like many of us do, you realize that they are well within reach of your fingertips, meaning you can change modes without taking your hands off the wheel. Speaking of the wheel, the gauge screen and the mode switches will actually move with the steering wheel as you adjust it to your personal preference rather than remaining stationary on the dash, meaning that you will never end up in a situation where you can’t see the gauges because of how you’ve positioned the wheel. As for the front lift system I mentioned, the old nightmare system is gone completely. The GT and the 720 moved it out to a button on a third stalk behind the wheel that also controlled gauge displays, but McLaren seems to have finally given up on that as they’ve done what everyone else does and just put a button on the dash to activate the lift. Also not making an appearance in the Artura are the door mounted climate controls seen in previous models – thankfully those have been integrated into the center screen functionality.

In terms of options and equipment, the Artura seems fairly par for the course for McLaren. A sports exhaust is available, track telemetry is available, and tons of exterior carbon is available. While I wasn’t given information on pricing for those, I was told that the three available interior options were all roughly $7500, and that a highly optioned example would be around $250,000 as I previously mentioned. Also of note is that the Artura is one of the first proper supercars to offer both adaptive cruise control and lane monitoring. Previously such items were presumably considered irrelevant to the supercar buyer, but it seems that we may start seeing more of these sorts of systems integrated in.

With all of that gone over, finally we can discuss what makes the Artura special – its powertrain. Previous McLarens have all used some version or another of the same basic turbocharged V8s. The Artura, however, uses a plug-in hybrid V6 powertrain. We have seen a hybrid from McLaren in the past with the P1, but this is the first time we’re seeing a standard production model with the hybrid system as well as the first time we’ve seen a McLaren with a V6. Some people will scoff, but a combined total of almost 700 horsepower and a zero to sixty time of three seconds are not to be mocked. Also quite respectable is the estimated 20 mile pure electric range from the batteries – it may not seem like much, but it’s further than one would think and it does mean that when the Artura is being driven hard, there will be plenty of electricity on tap to make sure you always have the full combined horsepower.

Beyond being the first standard production McLaren to have this hybrid system, the Artura is also the first standard production supercar to utilize such a system. Previously we saw similar systems in the limited production, million dollar McLaren P1 and Porsche 918, as well as passive systems in LaFerrari and the Ferrari SF90, both of which were also limited production. As always, there will be people out there decrying a hybrid supercar as a sign of the end-times for us car people, but that isn’t truly accurate. The reality is that more and more countries are slapping restrictions on displacement and emissions, and rather than giving up and saying that our days of going fast are over, McLaren is proving that we can play the game and use electricity and still manage to go even faster than we did before.

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