2022 McLaren Artura packs 671 hp, plug-in hybrid power, and hydraulic steering
The electric revolution is well and truly underway, which means even specialist supercar makers are joining in. McLaren’s latest machine is the Artura, a new series production plug-in hybrid, and it’s likely to become the brand’s best-selling model—despite a starting price of $225,000.
What’s the attraction of Woking’s latest dihedral-doored creation? McLaren says the Artura can be driven on electric power alone for nearly 20 miles, but when you put your foot down and summon the combined oomph of electric motor and piston motor, on comes a 671-hp kick that aims to prove that the next generation of supercar has lost none of its bite.
We’ve seen limited-edition and small-volume plug-in hybrids before, of course, not least of which is the McLaren P1 hypercar. But McLaren’s about to go relatively mainstream, at least compared to 2014’s P1, Porsche 918 Spyder, and LaFerrari. When deliveries start at the end of the summer, the new Artura won’t be alone in taking a company’s series-production offerings into plug-in hybrid territory; Ferrari is already there with the SF90. The next-generation Cayman and Boxster may go further still as all-electric vehicles.
Where does the new Artura fit into McLaren’s range? The V-6-engined plug-in hybrid’s arrival effectively erases the McLaren Sports Series (540C, 570S, 600LT, 620R) in a revised McLaren range that starts with the GT, moves up to the new Artura and 720S supercars, and is crowned by the Ultimate Series (Senna, Speedtail, and Elva). As confusing as always, then.
The car showcases a newly-designed carbon-fiber monocoque chassis specially created for plug-in electric use. Its 120-degree, 3.0-liter, twin-turbo V-6 engine is also new and combines with an electric motor to produce 671 hp. There’s also an eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox and a new electrical architecture offering over-the-air updates.
At a conference at McLaren’s global headquarters in Woking, chief engineer Geoff Grose told Hagerty that the priorities for the Artura were superb throttle response (not always the case with turbo engines, but a notable attribute of the rival Ferrari’s F8 Tributo), light weight, thrilling driving dynamics that don’t compromise overall livability, a much better driver interface using new tech (not a traditional McLaren strength), and a stand-out design.
“We believe we’ve achieved the benefits of hybrid but without the weight penalty,” noted Grose. Hybrid powertrains invariably add weight, due to the electric motor and batteries. The Artura has a commendably low curb weight of 1498 kg (3302 pounds), on par with comparable non-hybrid supercars such as the F8 Tributo and Lamborghini’s Huracán. The Artura works out to be 80 kg (176 pounds) or so heavier than the McLaren 720S.
The new V-6 engine is 50 kg (110 pounds) lighter than the familiar McLaren twin-turbo V-8 unit, as well as shorter and narrower. The 120-degree bank angle allows it to be positioned low in the car (midship, behind the driver, as with all McLarens). Its wide angle also means packaging advantages, given the twin turbos can nestle within the vee. This dry-sump aluminum engine produces 577 hp at 8500 rpm—not far from 200 hp per liter—and 431 lb-ft of torque starting at just 2250 rpm. The supplementary e-motor, located in the transmission bell housing, produces 94 hp and 166 lb-ft, boosting total outputs to 671 hp and 531 lb-ft (torque is managed for maximum drivability, so it’s not a simple sum of V-6 and e-motor).
The hybrid system, says Grose, improves throttle response by its “torque infill.” The electric motor boosts torque even from very low revs when turbos tend to be at their most torpid. Grose says it’s the most throttle responsive car McLaren Automotive has made to date. The Artura is also very quick: 0–62 mph (100 km/h) takes 3.0 sec and 0–124 mph (200 km/h) is over in 8.3 seconds. That’s just a touch slower than the F8 Tributo and the McLaren 720S, which both do 0–62 mph in 2.9 sec and 0–124 mph in 7.8 sec. Top speed for the Artura is electronically limited to 205 mph. You’d be brave to try to do more…
McLaren says that the electric-motor not only improves throttle response, it also significantly reduces emissions and boosts fuel economy. The Artura can run silently and tailpipe-emissions-free in electric-only mode, for a total of 19 miles. It uses a 7.4-kWh battery, which can be charged in 2.5 hours and weighs 88 kg (194 pounds). As well as the electric-only E-mode, there’s a Comfort mode that maximizes efficiency using both power sources, while Sport and Track modes can be summoned to deploy the e-motor for boosting low-end response and outright acceleration.
The new powertrain also extends to the new eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox. That’s one ratio more than the existing McLaren transmission, and there is no reverse gear; instead, the reverse drive is courtesy of the e-motor, which simply rotates in the opposite direction. Also new is the electronic differential, while carbon-ceramic brakes with lightweight aluminum calipers similar to those used in the 600LT and 720S are standard.
Exterior style is familiar McLaren: low nose, cab-forward, high tail, dihedral doors, but it’s cleaner here than recent offerings, with fewer shutlines. The entire rear clamshell body is now one structure, while the body is mostly made from aluminum. Inside, the design is more radical. There are two hi-def screens, with the main instrument cluster mounted on the steering column, so it moves as you adjust the steering wheel. The central screen includes audio, media, and nav, and the interface is supposedly iPhone-level responsive. In addition, over-the-air updates can upgrade the infotainment and as well as the new electronic driving aids (Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, and Road Sign Recognition). It’s a big improvement on anything McLaren has done before.
In one area, the Artura is unashamedly not new. It still uses hydraulically assisted, rather than electric, power steering. McLaren is renowned for the best steering in the class and insists that existing electric systems still don’t offer good enough feedback.
In the U.S., standard fare includes power-adjustable Comfort Seats, smartphone mirroring, and McLaren’s Practicality Pack that bundles a nose lifter, soft-close doors, power folding and heated door mirrors, and the Homelink remote garage door opener. Customer deliveries are set to begin in the third quarter of 2021.
We look forward to experiencing this new wave of old-meets-new-tech super sports cars, which appear to be not only faster than ever before. but poised to withstand looming emissions restrictions in major European cities like London and Paris. The first of a new generation of McLarens may have stolen a lead on some competitors, but it won’t be long before they are snapping at its heels with hybrid systems of their own.