First Drive: 2025 McLaren Artura Spider—Top Down, Horsepower Up


While wheeling a new McLaren convertible up the switchbacks of the towering massifs behind the French Riviera, a dreamy earworm developed for “On Days Like These,” a song famously played over shots of a Lamborghini Miura climbing an alpine pass in the opening sequence of the original 1969 film version of The Italian Job. Indeed, on days like these, all your life’s choices seem correct. Luckily there were no earthmovers hidden in the tunnels…

The mainstream convertible car market is barely above the waterline, thanks to the demise of multiple models and a shift in preferences toward trucks and SUVs (Ford figures its closest competitor for the Mustang is the Jeep Wrangler). However, in the supercar market, convertibles still reign; McLaren is expecting up to 70 percent of its Artura customers to opt for the open version. Thus, when it introduced the Artura coupe last year, the British company took pains to point out how its new entry-level hybrid was really designed as a convertible, and then simply capped with a fixed hardtop.

McLaren Artura Spider orange high angle wide high angle

Now, a bit over a year later, comes the Spider, equipped with eight electric motors that in 11 seconds yank off the aluminum roof panel (an electrochromic glass roof is an option) and slip it into the car’s back pocket. Which it can do while underway at speeds up to 31 mph. For this feature, buyers pay $281,008 before diving into the sea of options, or a $24,700 premium over the coupe. That seems like a lot, and it is, but it’s almost a hundred grand less than the technically similar Ferrari 296 GTS. Granted, the latter has more power.

However, the Artura in no way skimps on interesting technical features. Weight is one of its selling points; with a fully fueled weight stated to be just over 3400 pounds, the Spider is a mere 136 pounds heavier than the Artura coupe and around 100 pounds lighter than the 296 GTB coupe. The Artura’s central carbon-fiber tub is mated to front and rear aluminum crash structures, the latter housing the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 with its broad 120-degree V-angle and its Frisbee-sized flywheel electric motor sandwiched between the engine and an eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

Together, engine and motor produce 690 horses at 7500 rpm and 531 pound-feet of torque at just 2250 rpm. That’s a 19-hp bump from last year’s coupe, thanks to a remapping of the control software to create more zing from 4000 to 8000 rpm. Indeed, existing coupe owners will receive letters to bring their cars in and “we will hand them 19 more horsepower for free,” says Artura chief engineer Andy Beale.

McLaren’s most complex car to date, the Artura was delayed out of the gate to sort out bugs and even then may have been yanked from the oven while still a bit squishy. Which is why the company seems to be using the occasion of the Spider’s launch to make some more tweaks that will apply to both coupe and convertible. Such as revised control module software that re-ranks the computer’s tasks so that quick-decision items like instantaneous damper settings in the suspension get first priority for the computer’s attention. Along with revised damper settings, the result should be a suspension that more quickly becomes rigid when it needs to be but without sacrificing any road comfort, Beale says. Also, the shifts are quicker thanks to a remapping of the transmission software to better anticipate gear changes by preemptively snugging up the clutches prior to the shift to take any slack out of the mechanism. And the engine mounts are stiffer to further reduce any mass shift that could upset the car during cornering and braking.

McLaren engineer
Aaron Robinson

The Spider required lots of wind tunnel time to optimize the aerodynamics for low drag, cooling flow, and a ruffle-free cabin with the roof down. Two small Gurney flaps, or bumps in the Spider’s windshield header, look innocuous enough, but they consumed “months of work,” says Beale. The shape of the bumps needed to be just so to cut wind buffeting at speed while also flowing air up over the cockpit and down to the flying buttresses (made of transparent polycarbonate to aid visibility). That’s where displaced air reattaches itself to the body and follows the buttress line down to cooling ducts for the transmission- and engine-oil radiators.

McLaren Artura Spider blue monaco cornering action

Forming those little Gurney flaps, as well as the deeply scalloped aluminum doors and the entire rear clamshell, involves using a costly hot-stamping process in which the aluminum blanks are heated by scalding air before the stamping press closes, thus allowing the sheet aluminum to better mold to the Artura’s complex shape without tearing while in the press. Carbon fiber could have done the job as well, says Beale, but at five to six times the cost of aluminum it was dismissed as too expensive for Artura’s planned price point.

Other changes: A new exhaust from the catalysts back adds a passive sound tube to the cockpit with a “sound symposer,” basically a simple drumhead, to magnify sound into the seating area. The tube is computer-controlled by a motorized flap so it can be open or closed depending on whether the driver wants more or less engine noise in the cabin.

Specs: 2025 McLaren Artura Spider

  • Price: $281,008 (base MSRP with destination)
  • Powertrain: 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6, eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission; 7.4-kWh lithium-ion battery, axial-flux electric motor
  • Horsepower: 690 hp from total system (V-6: 604 hp @ 7500 rpm); (e-motor: 94 hp)
  • Torque:  531 lb-ft from total system (V-6: 431 lb-ft @ 2250–7000 rpm); (e-motor: 166 lb-ft)
  • Layout: Rear-wheel-drive, mid-engine two-seat hybrid coupe
  • Curb weight: 3439 pounds
  • EPA-rated fuel economy: 19 mpg average
  • Electric Range: 11 miles
  • 0–60 mph: 3.0 seconds
  • 1/4-mile: 10.8 seconds

Top up or down, the Artura is a friendly, accessible supercar, content to dawdle in commuter traffic as it is to murder a Monte Carlo Rally road. The ability to raise and lower the rear glass as well as the side windows gives you lots of options, and we tried every one of them. Even with all the panels and glass stowed and the car’s speedo approaching triple digits, the cockpit was still quiet enough to converse in a low shout or listen to NPR broadcasts. Put the glass up and things get quieter still, the airflow over the open roof being so well directed.

McLaren Artura Spider blue monaco interior action

Electric and Comfort drive modes take advantage of the car’s limited EV-only capability to cut out the engine when combustion is not desired. The Sport and Track settings progressively put the Artura into warrior mode, hastening the shifts and firming up the suspension and steering. We found Sport mode to be exactly sporty enough for fast driving while still leaving some sponge in the suspension. However, the Artura’s nose did porpoise around on some of the rougher bits we encountered, very much getting our attention if not exactly sacrificing grip or cornering ability. We chalked it up to the price of a Sport setting biased towards daily usability; there’s always Track mode to make it firmer.

As with the coupe, the Spider comes with a suite of stability control settings and a driver-tuneable drift mode. New bits include a Wheelspin function that is basically a sloppy, tire-frying launch control—you won’t get the best acceleration, but you will break Instagram by roasting the 20-inch rear 295/35 Pirelli P Zeros in a cloud of smoke. Far less fun is the lane departure warning, new on the Artura along with blind-spot monitoring and cross-traffic detection. Because McLaren understands you, the button to switch off the lane alarm is obvious and the system stays off through shutdown and restart until you switch it on again.

McLaren Artura Spider orange front three quarter

Except for some back fatigue after several hours in the saddle, the Artura Spider presents as an almost practical exotic, a distinct step up in price and prestige from a Porsche 911 but with no real sacrifice in comfort or quotidian usability. You have to want attention, however, as the Artura gets eyeballs. Indeed, it drew the gaze of hundreds of cellphone cameras as it rolled up to the Hotel de Paris in Monaco’s Casino Square, long the tramping ground of the world’s most ridiculous cars and people. In that environment, a Porsche is strictly Pikerville unless you’re stepping out of one with a leopard on a leash. For those who crave such attention, the McLaren is at least easier to clean up after.

2025 McLaren Artura Spider

Price: $281,008 / $344,058 (base / as-tested)

Highs: A great everyday supercar, 11 seconds from shade to sun, wind-free with the top down, benefits from some learning on the coupe.

Lows: Get ready to pose for pictures; the lower back was complaining after a few hours.

Takeaway: Yes, we called it “entry level;” after all, we drove it in Monaco.


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    I would prefer the other non-hybrid V8 turbo models if I was choosing my McLaren. The constant tweaks are impressive to see a model improve bit by bit which ends up being a big leap after some time.

    Like the Corvette, the Artura Spider converts but doesn’t look like a real convertible. It’s more expensive than the new ZR1 with 23-percent less power. Guess that’s what you get with a bow-tie badge stuck somewhere.

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