McLaren Artura

McLaren Artura, 2023, front, action
McLaren Artura, 2023, front, static
McLaren Artura, 2023, side
McLaren Artura, 2023, rear
McLaren Artura, 2023, interior
McLaren Artura, 2023, cockpit
McLaren Artura, 2023, doors open
McLaren Artura, 2023, engine cover

SPORTS car maker McLaren has turned the corner.

A huge multi-million pound investment, new management with encouragement for a brand that has uncompromisingly delivered drivers' cars, has now enabled, embraced and enriched the latest hybrid powertrain technology.

But, of course, being McLaren it always does things a differently, distinctively - the McLaren way - and the new Artura is not only a technical tour-de-force but retains that basic drive to satisfy enthusiastic owners and put in their hands a car which can be taken to the shops or slingshot around a circuit.

It's a plug-in hybrid and takes about 2.5 hours to reach 80 per cent capacity charge with a recuperating facility to make up for some lost volts.

Artura is also the first McLaren to utilise their own carbon-fibre tub which has fixing points already incorporated and moulded intheir satellite plant in Sheffield and sent to Woking for assembly with aluminium sub-assemblies either end.

It is also pioneering a Pirelli Cyber Tyre system which has a transducer embedded in the rubber to instantly and continuously transmit pressure and temperature data to the driver.

Lightweight unique Clubsport seats and a one-piece aluminium pressed rear engine cover, together with a single pressed coupe roof and with plastic lower bumpers further take-down weight.

The lightening programme has been instigated to compensate for the weight of the compact axial flux electric motor, weighing about 15kg and the size of a decent dinner plate housed in the transmission bellhousing behind one of two clutches which take power from the new wide angle 3.0 V6 engine with twin turbos placed low between the banks of cylinders. The new engine is 65kg lighter than the familiar V8.

The Artura starts at about £190,000 and then you can choose from a range of paint finishes and packs, including 'Comfort' seats with wider adjustment range than the shell-like standard Clubsport seat, which rolls around a point to a desired angle with a separate fore and after runner beneath.

All essential instruments are now contained in a pod fixed to the top of the steering column and displays speed, engine revs, fuel and traction battery state and also carries sequential rocker buttons for power mode and dynamics just a fingertip ahead of the wheel-rim.

Another screen immediately down and to the left of the wheel is the infotainment hub to select in-car and data from a linked mobile phone.

The very slim central tunnel tray has buttons for starting/ stopping the engine, going forwards, neutral or activates the electric motor's reverse function as there is no actual reverse gear in the eight-speed autobox, itself developed entirely on a simulator before manufacture to optimise performance for the new powertrain, so reducing development time and costs.

McLaren has stuck with an electro-hydraulic steering system for driver sensitivity and feedback, the brakes are massive carbon-fibre discs while the air and coil suspension settings can be varied with the driving modes and front suspension is by wishbones with a multi-link set up at the back.

Upward hinged doors mean the driver and passenger slip underneath and into the cabin so you have to be reasonably pliable and it helps if you are not too wide of girth for the cleverly adjustable bucket seats in the narrow space.

The Arturua has been set up to always start with electric power and unless you select that mode it will switch to petrol as required and back again. There are eco, comfort, sport and track settings at your fingertips and they all affect the transmission, rear wheel drive responses, engine and suspension to let the driver enjoy the McLaren as they wish. Track use opens up variable drift modes.

For regular road use it's probably best to stick with comfort and sport modes, instantly changing the main characteristics while the Artura maintains the driver involvement and feeling of having the car wrapped around them.

Acceleration is quite phenomenal from rest as the motor compensates for turbos' lag until they are spinning and pulling it along within milli-seconds to the legal maxima, or beyond on a circuit and onto over 200mph if you are brave.

It is the smoothness of the V6 engine/ electric motorcombined with that of the eight-speed transmission which impressed most as the steering, brakes and suspension all delightfully worked in harmony over a variety of roads and conditions. Pickup was instantaneous, changes rapid up or down and it just stuck to the road even over damp patches before showers rained down.

Artura is very low riding and felt like it had super-kart responses at times but it covered bad surfaces and undulating stretches in a very composed manner in the Comfort mode.

It gobbled up motorway miles and you really have little impression of speed until you catch up those infront. The ride was always slightly firm, never really hard unless in sport mode and its handling was surefooted and vice free.

FAST FACTS

McLaren Artura

Price: £214,300

Mechanical:671bhp 3.0V6 turbo-petrol engine with 94bhp axial-flux electric motor, 8-speed, RWD

Max Speed:205mph

0-62mph:3.0sec

Combined MPG:26 to 61.5

Insurance Group:50

C02 emissions:104gkm

Bik rating:25%

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