Forget all the enormously expensive specials McLaren seems to reveal every five minutes - this is Woking’s most important car to emerge in some time. It’s the Artura, and it ushers in a whole new era for the company.
Gone is the twin-turbo V8, and so is the carbon tub that’s been kicking around in some form or another since 2010. In its place is an all-new (still carbon fibre) platform, with a hybridised, twin-turbo V6 providing propulsion.
On its own, the 3.0-litre unleaded-fueled part of the equation is good for 577bhp and 431lb ft of torque, which rises to 671bhp and 531lb ft once the electric stuff comes into play. On that front, there’s a 7.4kWh battery pack powering a single electric motor which lives in the bell housing of the new eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
Normally, all of that clobber would make for a very heavy car. The Honda NSX, which has a much smaller battery, is damn near 1800kg. But the Artura? That tips the scales at a thoroughly impressive 1395kg dry (1495 DIN).
Since it’s not burdened by a porky weight figure, the Artura is fast. Very fast. 0-62mph is over and done with in three seconds dead, two tenths faster than the 570S the Artura is kinda/sorta replacing. 0-124mph meanwhile takes just 8.3 seconds, and the top speed is 205mph.
In the Sport and Track modes, the motor boosts low-end response via an “aggressive deployment,” McLaren says. Switch to Comfort, and the electric part of the powertrain takes over fully below 25mph whenever it can. As the name suggests, Electric mode shuts the engine off entirely, allowing you to cruise around on battery power alone for up to 18.6 miles. Interestingly, the gearbox has no reverse gear - backing up is always done via the electric motor.
The 8500rpm-capable engine has an unusually wide V-angle of 120 degrees, giving plenty of room for the turbochargers to sit between the cylinder banks to form a ‘hot-V’ configuration. The dry-sumped 2993cm V6 and the new automatic gearbox form a package 150mm shorter than the old V8/seven-speed combo.
To go with the new tub and engine, the Artura has a fresh multi-link rear suspension setup and an electronically-controlled rear limited-slip differential. The latter element is quite a departure, with McLaren Automotive having opted for open differentials in all its road cars up until now. The company is, however, sticking to what it knows for the power steering, which is still hydraulically assisted.
As is McLaren tradition, the cabin is accessed via dihedral doors. Inside, there’s a new eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system and a digital instrument cluster mounted on the steering column.
The Artura has a provisional starting price of £182,500, slotting neatly between the £219,500 720S and the £163,000 GT, the latter becoming the new entry point for the McLaren range following the discontinuation of the Sports Series cars.