top of page
  • Luxury Edition

This is the new 671bhp McLaren Artura, and it's a hybrid

What's hot BEST ELECTRIC CARS 2021 BEST FAMILY CARS 2021 HOW TO BUY AN ELECTRIC CAR EV GLOSSARY CHEAP FUN CARS YOU ARE HERE This is the new 671bhp McLaren Artura, and it's a hybrid Hybrid supercar isn't just a reskin - this is an entirely new McLaren. Welcome to the future Paul Horrell 17 Feb 2021 FacebookTwitterGoogle+WhatsAppMailtoShow/hide Magazine subscription – 5 issues for £5 PrevNext Full screen3/31 This is new. Not as in new-improved, but new as in new. The first MP4-12C was 25,000 McLarens ago, and every model since has basically been new-improved, or new-cut-price. They run different versions of the same V8 engine with more or less power and sometimes hybrid boost, the same seven-speed transmission, basically the same suspension, different versions of the same composite tub (well, except the three-seat Speedtail). The Artura chucks away all that the hardware, while, you’ve got to hope, embodying the knowledge gained in a decade of ceaseless optimisation. Every single one of the systems I listed in that first paragraph has been swapped out for something entirely fresh. New as in new. It’s a plug-in hybrid. The Artura’s 671bhp falls some way short of the McLaren’s original hybrid, the 903bhp P1, though its £182,500 sticker is a whole lot less. You’ll remember that the P1, along with the Porsche 918 and LaFerrari, elevated the hypercar bar so high that none of those manufacturers has been ready with a successor in the eight years since. Anyway we have moved, haven’t we, beyond the time when adding hybrid boost to a fast car would bring out the pitchfork mob. A quick ogle at the world’s supercar-dealer websites – if you can have a quick ogle without getting snagged into endless fantasy diversions – reveals that P1s are advertised at about £1.5 million these days, and Sennas, which are supposed to lap roughly as fast but don’t have hybrid, are half that. OK the P1 is the rarer, prettier and more collectable of the pair, but I think my point stands: the market doesn’t distain hybrids. Up to now, the hybrids – P1 and Speedtail – have been the apex of McLaren’s range at squillionaire prices. No longer. The Artura is in effect a replacement for the 570S. You know, the McLaren for the people. The GT will continue, and the 720S. The Artura’s price and power output neatly split those two. McLaren has a habit when it introduces any new supercar of claiming (and usually delivering) that it can combine the dynamics of the last-gen harum-scarum LT model with the comfort and usability of one of the core cars. Same this time. We’re told the Artura is as much fun as a 600LT. If it is, then we are very much game on. It has similar performance numbers too. Those numbers are 0-62mph in 3.0 seconds, and 0-125 in 8.3, en route to 205mph. You might possibly feel a mild deficit between that kinda thrust and what you get by paying more for a 720S or indeed Ferrari F8. But what I’m expecting is something more striking: a different kind of thrust development. “We knew we had homework to do on throttle response,” admitted an engineer. Perhaps because we’ve been telling you for years that McLaren’s V8 is sizzling near the red-line but laggy in the mid-revs. So the new V6’s instant-responding electric motor is claimed to cut that delay in half, and that’ll surely make things more controllable in corners as well as straights. The electric motor is a disc-shaped axial-flux unit just 65mm thick, sandwiched in the clutch housing, and as it turns at crank speed you can simply add its output to the engine’s. Which means 577bhp from the V6 and 94 from the motor equals 671. For torque you can’t add them because the motor’s peak torque is at lower revs than the engine’s. It’s 431lb ft from the engine, and a total of 530. The motor’s peak is 166lb ft, and it arrives the moment you ask. PrevNext The engine spins to 8,500rpm, which ought to be sufficiently exciting. It’s a 3.0-litre 120-degree job. That wide angle gives space for the turbos in the V, allowing short equal-length exhaust manifolds into the turbines, to cut lag. Direct injection and particle filters keep things clean. The 120 degree angle also demonstrates they didn’t just give the former 90-degree V8 a bilateral-cylinderectomy. McLaren had Ricardo do most of the design on that old engine, as well as build it. This time the design is pretty well all McLaren’s. The new twin-clutch transmission is an eight-speed. It doesn’t have reverse because the electric motor just turns backward instead. A 7.4kWh (net) battery is enough for a rated 20 miles of range after a plug-in. And apparently P1 owners have always enjoyed gliding silently away from home, or through towns. Still, if you want a hybrid obsessed on efficiency, go buy a Prius PHEV mister. The Artura doesn’t have mixed friction/regenerative braking, because McLaren wants pure pedal response. You’ve got powertrain modes, natch. Comfort tries to ekes out battery charge, so that below 30mph-odd it’s ready to use pure-electric drive. Sport and track modes are about a hybrid’s ability to improve performance rather than economy. They splash out more electric power when you floor the throttle, and pull back more electricity via the motor’s generation function by using a portion of engine power when it’s not fully occupied actually accelerating the car. So what bulk and weight does this powertrain have? In fact the whole lot is smaller in all dimensions than the old V8 and its box. Despite the battery behind the seats, it allows for a roomier cabin yet a shorter wheelbase than the 570S, and it’s a narrower car too. Finally someone’s noticed interesting roads aren’t getting wider. Most of the panels you see are aluminium, fixed to the carbon composite tub. That’s been the principle for ‘entry’ McLarens for a while. But the all-new tub involves the safety cells for both people and battery, and the upper front wishbone mounts, while the lower mounts are part of the aluminium crash structure. The tub is made of four different new material sub-types. Right from the start of the project, target kerb weight has been ‘under a tonne and a half’. The final figure is 1,498kg. There must have been some tense engineering meetings. The Artura has super-clever adaptive dampers. Across the car are normal anti-roll bars, not the hydraulic cross-linking that faster McLarens have. Instead of the firm’s old ‘brake-steer’ software hack, the Artura has an actual limited-slip diff, and it’s an electronically controlled one at that. Also the rear suspension has a split lower wishbone now and a toe control link. It’s bigger bushed for refinement, but the separated lower links give better toe control on lift-off and going into the corner, in search of steering precision and feel. It’s still hydraulic steering assistance for the same reason, btw. The e-diff closes when you lift improving stability, and closes too to shove you out of a corner. It also improves the abilities of the variable drift control, just in case you’re feeling a bit closed-road-professional-driver-do-not-attempt.

8 views0 comments
bottom of page