What is happening in the high performance automotive sector is like a Excellent chef challenge. The major brands, operating under the same set of emissions restrictions, choose from a common crate of powertrain ingredients – a six-cylinder engine and an electric motor – while trying to present the most enticing supercar of the day. Last on the menu: the 671 hp Artura from McLaren.
Over the past few years, McLaren Automotive has seemed to favor frequent model releases with substantial advances in engineering and driving experience, which has impacted the perceived collection of some of its newer cars. Enter the Artura, which signals a return to the late racer Bruce McLaren’s penchant for reinvention and innovation. Billed as McLaren’s first production hybrid, the Artura, starting at $233,000, represents a long list of firsts for the automaker (some more auspicious than others), including the use of an engine V-6 in a road car and the introduction of the McLaren Carbon Lightweight Architecture (MCLA) platform.
Navigating Spanish traffic through the seaside destination of Marbella, the Artura feels like it could also be the brand’s first true daily driver, whether in Comfort, Sport or EV settings, the latest offering a range of 11 miles on battery alone. (There’s also a Track mode, which should be saved for, well, you know…) Improving the side mirrors and echo chamber cabin of the barely street-legal 620R and with more functional space than the 720S, this car is what we wanted the McLaren GT to be but with the agility to match some of the brand’s more track-focused models.
Still, when it comes to sibling resemblance, the Artura seems closer to the 819bhp Ferrari 296 GTB. Both rear-drive machines feature a 3.0-liter V6, with twin turbochargers placed between 120-degree cylinder banks to lower the center of gravity, complemented by an axial-flow electric motor (delivering 94 hp in Arthur). And both have the shortest wheelbase in their respective manufacturers’ current stables, with the McLaren measuring 104 inches compared to the Prancing Horse’s 102.3-inch reach – albeit at 3,075 pounds, the dry weight of the Artura saves 166 pounds over the Maranello machine, thanks in part to the MCLA carbon fiber monocoque tub and a new Ethernet-based electrical system that’s 10% lighter than the outgoing iteration.
The resulting athleticism is evident on the roads leading to Ascari, a private Malaga racecourse. The coupé’s stability at speed is due to a revised rear suspension and, crucially, McLaren’s debut of an electronic differential. The efficiency of the combo is evident on the 26 corners and truncated straights of the 3.35-mile circuit, where the e-diff continuously optimizes traction to each rear wheel. Able to cover zero to 60mph in 3 seconds flat, the Artura only hints at its top speed of 205mph before carbon-ceramic brakes are required, capable of scrubbing 124mph to zero in 413 feet. (Note: this is 62 feet longer than required by the more powerful 296 GTB.)
Back towards the coast, it’s time to appreciate the improved cabin ergonomics, including the engine map selector that now sits on the steering column. The seat adjustments are the most notable; finally easy to reach and use, they are no longer the cruel exercise in frustration that they were on previous models. As in any relationship, small gestures mean a lot and it feels like McLaren has listened.
It also feels like there are a lot of people on the Artura. Granted, it doesn’t quite look like the roughly $318,000 Ferrari 296 GTB, but it fits solidly between that model and the V-6-powered-only Maserati MC20, which it outperforms but remains the car. the most comparable in terms of power and price. . How this will play out in the near future must keep McLaren executives awake at night. After all, the likes of Aston Martin and Lamborghini also have this production hybrid recipe, and you know they’re busy cooking.