McLaren plans to electrify its full model line-up by 2025, and it showcased the first instalment of its battery-charged future with the reveal of the state-of-the-art Artura plug-in hybrid supercar. The National was among the select group of media invited to a closed-room preview of the car at Dubai's Caesars Palace Bluewaters resort.
The Artura is due out in the third quarter of this year, but order books are open for the new-age supercar. McLaren says UK pricing will start at £185,500 ($255,900) for the standard specification, positioning it on a par with its 600LT. In the UAE, it is priced at Dh954,000, including 5 per cent VAT and 5 per cent duty.
Although the Artura does not deviate dramatically from McLaren's recent design language, the debutant carries over virtually nothing from existing models as it's underpinned by a brand-new platform and features a cutting-edge drivetrain and suspension. The Artura is the first model to be based on all-new McLaren Carbon Lightweight Architecture, built in-house at the McLaren Composites Technology Centre and optimised for High-Performance Hybrid (HPH) powertrains.
In keeping with McLaren's minimalist and built-for-purpose philosophy, the Artura's superformed aluminium and carbon-fibre bodywork has a "shrink-wrapped" look and it contributes to the lithe kerb weight of 1,498kg, which McLaren says makes it the lightest car in its class.
But the real highlight is the all-new twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine that’s paired with an E-motor and energy-dense battery pack, producing combined outputs of 680PS and 720Nm, which isn’t too far off the 720hp and 770Nm belted out by the blindingly quick 720S.
The supplementary 95hp axial E-motor weighs 15.4kg and delivers instant torque of up to 225Nm, ensuring what the manufacturer says is the sharpest-ever throttle response from a McLaren supercar. The raw stats are eye-opening, with the zero to 100kph sprint dispatched in three seconds; zero to 200kph in 8.3 seconds; and zero to 300kph in 21.5 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 330kph.
Despite its rapidity, the Artura is billed as the most fuel-efficient McLaren ever produced, consuming a miserly 5.5 litres per 100km in the combined EU WLTP cycle and emitting only 129g per km of CO2. The 7.4kWh battery pack supports 30km electric-only range, so the Artura has at least part-time EV credentials.
The battery pack can be recharged from zero to 80 per cent in two and a half hours with a standard EVSE cable, and it can also harvest power from the combustion engine. The driver can select a "set charge to 100 per cent" function that prioritises using the V6 to charge the batteries.
Also new is the lightweight eight-speed dual-clutch transmission designed for the Artura. The close-ratio transmission is capable of shifting in 200 milliseconds, with the torque of the E-motor used to smooth the transition from one ratio to the next. Interestingly, the transmission makes do without a reverse gear, as the E-motor runs in reverse instead, whenever you need to back up.
McLaren says the Artura pairs two diametrically opposed characteristics. It's touted as being highly agile as well as highly stable, thanks to a completely new rear suspension concept and McLaren's first electronically controlled rear differential, which together allow the full accessibility of the car's dynamic behaviour to be separated from its high-speed stability.
There are three drive modes – Comfort, Sport and Track – each tailoring the stiffness level of the dampers, as well as the settings for the E-diff. McLaren has always favoured electro-hydraulic assistance over a fully electric steering set-up and has maintained this philosophy with the Artura in the quest to deliver the highest level of immediacy, on-centre feel and textured feedback to the driver.
Other highlights include an all-new interior with controls accessible without requiring the driver to take their hands off the wheel. There's a new eight-inch HD touchscreen infotainment system enabling configuration of advanced driver assistance systems; and smartphone mirroring.