The McLaren Artura has a hybrid V6 turbo engine in the centre of a carbon fibre chassis, just like a Formula 1 car. It’s the most efficient supercar on sale and staggeringly fast to boot.
Supercars are going green
All the big players in the world of exotic supercars are trying their hand at hybrid or electric cars. Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, Aston Martin, Maserati and others are working to revolutionise their approach to power delivery. The new Artura brings McLaren’s hybrid power to a new audience, shaping up as a state-of-the-art supercar for tech-minded enthusiasts.
We haven’t seen many cars like this in Australia.
It’s silent but deadly
Supercars explode to life when you prod the starter button, scaring children and setting off car alarms. But the Artura is different. Silent on start-up, it whirrs down the road like a Tesla in its default electric setting. The Artura is able to drive on electric power alone for a little more than 30 kilometres at speeds up to 130km/h. Its 70kW/225Nm electric motor and 7.4kWh battery allow you to creep home late at night without waking the neighbours.
They also combine with a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 that makes 430kW and 585Nm to send a total of 500kW and 720Nm to the rear wheels.
The result is 4.6L/100km claimed fuel economy and a 0-100km/h dash dispatched in 3.0 seconds. On a track, its 0-200km/h pace out-punches supercars such as the Lamborghini Huracan but the hushed hybrid powertrain can’t match the operatic drama of Italian rivals.
There are analog elements
The Artura is stuffed to the roof with technology. It has a new electronically locking differential, an eight-speed dual-clutch auto with no reverse gear (it turns the electric motor backwards for parking manoeuvres), a 15-stage variable drift mode and a digital dash that displays temperature and pressure readings from special Pirelli “cyber” tyres.
But there are old-school touches, including traditional hydraulically assisted steering that lends a direct and weighty response rarely found in new cars. McLaren also wanted the brakes to be consistent, so it swerved away from Prius-style regenerative brakes that often have a wooden feel.
The result is a precise and predictable scalpel of a supercar that benefits from McLaren’s lightweight carbon fibre chassis, the only one in its class.
Agile and engaging, the Artura inspires confidence at any speed.
We have mixed feelings about the design
The Artura looks pretty in the metal, with neat details including a single piece of superformed aluminium draped around over the rear wheels, wrapping around a heat-extracting chimney positioned on top of the engine.
As with an open-wheeled race car, you can peer between the tyres to examine the gearbox and differential and McLaren’s surprisingly spacious cabin allows tall folk to wear a helmet on trackways. But the overall look is too derivative to our eyes. McLaren put the brakes on bold styling found in the P1, Senna and 720S to play it safe with a car that should be its bestseller.
It’s (relatively) good value
Hold on tight while we try to position a half-million-dollar supercar as something of a bargain. The McLaren Artura costs $449,500 plus options and on-roads (about $500,000 drive-away), a stout $150,000 less than Ferrari’s similarly hi-tech 296 GTB.
The Artura will set you back roughly one-tenth of what Aussie customers were asked to pay for McLaren’s last hybrid supercar (the Speedtail) and it’s about a quarter of what foreign dealers are asking for used examples of the 10-year-old McLaren P1 hybrid.
It even has a five-year warranty, a McLaren first. You might need it, too, going by overseas reports of “thermal incidents” in early examples.