671-HP McLaren Artura Plug-In Hybrid Breaks New Ground, Stays Light

  • The 2022 McLaren Artura is full of firsts for the British supercar maker: first with a new 3.0-liter V-6, which makes 577 horsepower; first plug-in hybrid model; and first underpinned by the company’s new MCLA architecture.
  • The weight of electrical components is offset by a lighter engine, keeping the Artura’s weight relatively low at 3308 pounds.
  • The Artura will be priced starting at about $225,000 and goes on sale later in 2021, although orders are being taken now.

    McLaren has produced hybrid models in the past, such as the 2014 P1 that incorporated a 177-hp electric motor, but the new Artura—seen here for the first time—is set to break new ground for the British supercar maker. This will be McLaren’s first plug-in hybrid, the first model to use a freshly developed 3.0-liter V-6 engine, and also the debutante for the company’s new MCLA architecture, which is designed to accommodate electrified powertrains.

    But the Artura isn’t a direct replacement for the recently retired 570S Sports Series. As well as being substantially faster than the outgoing model, the plug-in is also going to carry a sizable premium, with the range starting at $225,000. Meaning that the McLaren GT, which sits on the old platform and keeps V-8 power, is now the company’s entry point.

    Many of the Artura’s statistics are compelling, but the most interesting is the claimed 3303-pound curb weight. McLaren boss Mike Flewitt warned us that a plug-in would have to carry a weight penalty, but based on the company’s numbers, this is an impressively modest one. The mass of the electrical components has added a total of 287 pounds, but mass has been saved elsewhere through both a lighter structure and the smaller V-6, which weighs 110 pounds less than the 3.8-liter V-8 in the Sports Series.

    The all-aluminum V-6 has a wide 120 degrees between its cylinder banks with twin turbochargers mounted inside its vee. The rev limit is 8500 rpm, the same as the V-8, with the engine making peaks of 577 horsepower and 431 pound-feet of torque. This works in conjunction with an electric motor located within the transmission housing, which can add up to 94 horsepower and 166 pound-feet. McLaren claims total system output peaks of 671 horsepower and 531 pound-feet; the combined torque peak is less than the sum of both sides as the output is limited to “optimize powertrain drivability characteristics.”

    The e-motor itself is a state-of-the-art “axial flux” unit, similar to the one in the Ferrari SF90, and can add assistance or power the car by itself. The 7.4-kWh lithium-ion battery pack weighs 194 pounds and is positioned under the rear of the passenger compartment. McLaren claims a 2.5-hour time for an 80 percent charge using an EVSE cable and a 19-mile electric range under European testing methodology.

    Although final performance figures haven’t been released yet, McLaren predicts the Artura will be able to dispatch the zero-to-60-mph benchmark in 3.0 seconds and get from rest to 124 mph in 8.3 seconds and zero to 186 mph in 21.5 seconds. Top speed will be electronically limited to 205 mph. Top speed in electric-only mode is a more modest 81 mph. The Artura also gets a new eight-speed twin-clutch transmission—previous McLaren road cars have had seven-speeders—with drive reaching the rear axle through a new electronically controlled locking differential. This should improve traction under hard cornering, something that more powerful McLaren models often struggle to deliver. As with the SF90, there is no mechanical reverse gear; the Artura will always back up under electrical power.

    The new car’s design riffs on several familiar McLaren themes, but pleasingly so. The Artura is almost exactly the same length as the more expensive 720S. At 179.0 inches, the new car is actually 0.2 inch longer, but its tightly wrapped proportions and lack of aggressive aerodynamics mean it looks shorter. McLaren’s design director, Rob Melville, refers to the smoothed contours as being “technical sculpture,” and, unusually for something so potent, there are no active aerodynamics or movable surfaces. Compared to the 570S, the Artura’s side vents have acquired a more organic shape, it has also gained the pleasing addition of fender top air vents similar in design to the ones used by Porsche’s RS 911s. The so-called “eye socket” headlights are smaller than those of the 570S and contain all-LED elements. At the back, ultra-narrow taillights are contained within a laser-cut mesh grille which also accommodates twin exhaust tailpipes. The engine cover also includes what is described as a chimney vent leading to the vee of the engine to improve cooling.

    Less Carbon Fiber, More Hide

    The Artura’s cabin is more spacious than those of the Sports Series and 720S, and it’s accessed over narrower sills. Materials have grown plusher—with an increase in hide and microfiber and a decrease in visible carbon fiber—and power-adjustable “comfort seats” will be standard, along with vehicle nose lift, power-folding mirrors, and soft-close doors. Ergonomics have been tidied up, too, with a new 8.0-inch portrait-oriented touchscreen display running a sleeker Android-based MIS II system, which offers smartphone mirroring support for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Powertrain and Handling mode switches of all modern era McLarens are still present but have been moved from the center console to binnacles behind the steering wheel; the Powertrain function also adds a new pure electric E-mode to Comfort, Track, and Sport. There is 5.6 cubic feet of luggage space under the front hood.

    McLaren is also boosting the Artura’s everyday credentials with the sort of convenience and active-safety systems the brand has previously eschewed. These will include optional adaptive cruise control, high-beam assist, and road sign recognition. The car’s electronic systems will support over-the-air updates, and it will also feature a low-energy Bluetooth key that is able to detect a driver’s approach and power up certain systems before the car is unlocked.

    One thing that hasn’t changed is the Artura’s steering, which will continue to use electrohydraulic assistance in place of a pure electric system as the company reckons this gives better feel and feedback. Carbon-ceramic brakes will be standard, as will adaptive dampers with McLaren’s Proactive Damping Control system, which gathers data from a battery of sensors to optimize shock absorber response. Like the Sports Series and GT, the Artura will use conventional anti-roll bars rather than the linked hydraulic system of the company’s more expensive cars.

    The Artura is available to order now, with the first customer deliveries to take place later in the year.

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