The 2023 McLaren Artura Hybrid Supercar Is A Lean Head-Turner

The mid-engined McLaren Artura’s petrol and electric combination provide a thrilling ride.
by Jacques Kew

If you’ve been following Ferrari and McLaren’s recent offerings, you’ll know that both are charging ahead with compact, plug-in hybrid petrol-electric mid-engined sports cars, the 296 and the Artura, respectively.

Whereas mass market brands tend to talk-up a hybrid powertrain’s earth-saving credentials, sports car brands make no bones about the fact that an electric motor provides a thrilling boost to the drive experience.

The Artura — a portmanteau of Art and Future — is McLaren’s latest plug-in sports car and long-time fans will also have noticed the brand has slowly moved-on from its familiar alphanumeric naming convention. McLaren has adopted several names for its recent models, such as Elva, Senna, Sabre, Speedtail, Solus, and the Artura, which some think leaves a more emotional impression, especially for something so aspirational.

If you consider how the evolution of sports cars creates only the fittest, fastest and best of breed, it should come as little surprise that the brands have turned to electric power to boost the efforts of the internal combustion engine.

It’s evident, however, that even the most avid driver is properly engaged during bouts of enthusiastic driving, which should appease those in search of a soul in such hybrid systems.

Lightweight performance from a wind-sculpted car

McLaren Artura

Credit: The wind-sculpted Artura adheres to McLaren’s philosophy of lightweight performance. (Photo: McLaren)

With 585hp and 585Nm, the twin- turbo 3.0-litre V6 is augmented by a compact axial flux electric motor with 95hp and 225Nm. The Li-Ion battery reaches 80 per cent charge in 2.5 hours but you can continue to charge it on the go as well.

Due to its instant torque, the electric motor acts as a ‘torque filler’, creating a seamless surge that is ever-ready to do one’s bidding. With 680hp and 720Nm combined, the sleekly-styled Artura will reach 330km/h at top speed and sprint to 100km/h in three seconds.

We are categorically told that it does not replace the 570S, but rather represents the brand’s foray into the electric era. McLaren’s previous hybrid supercars, such as the limited-edition P1 and Speedtail operated in the exclusive Ultimate Series league, while the Artura is more of a series production model, at least comparatively!

McLaren’s trademark carbon-fibre tub levels up with the MCLA (McLaren Carbonfibre Lightweight Architecture), designed and produced in-house at the McLaren Composites Technology Centre in Sheffield, to accommodate the Artura’s electric powertrain’s additional hardware.

The wind-sculpted Artura adheres to McLaren’s philosophy of lightweight performance, with 50kg shed just by switching to the new V6 engine (from the earlier V8). Its cleanly-styled aerodynamics and design allow it to effortlessly cleave through the wind, while a ‘chimney’ on the engine lid helps vent hot air produced by the turbochargers.

Its cabin is similar to the Elva (another Ultimate Series model), with the powertrain toggles on either side of the instrument binnacle for easy reach instead of the central Active Panel. In true McLaren form, the interior enhances the driving experience, so ergonomics are perfect.

Great for last-mile zero-emissions travel

McLaren Artura

Credit: The interior enhances the driving experience, so ergonomics are perfect. (Photo: McLaren)

The Artura has three driving modes: Comfort, Sport and Track, as well as a full- electric mode. In electric-only mode, it has a range of 30km and speeds up to 120km/h, which makes it great for last-mile zero-emissions travel between home, school, and the office.

It would be hard to tell you’re in a supercar if it wasn’t for the low-slung driving position. Due to its civil composure over a diverse range of road surfaces, it serves those daily drive duties — and your bottom — well. The electro-hydraulic steering retains a sublime feel, with the steering wheel functioning as an unadulterated conduit between the sports car and the road.

As fast as the Artura performs in the straights, it excels in the corners, especially with the electronic differential giving the committed driver precise control. Pedal-to-metal, the feisty twin-turbo V6 and e-motor work together to ignite a mighty conflagration that propels the Artura with such force that it leaves its occupants breathless. Perfectly weighted controls ensure that it stops on a dime as well.

There’s this precise balance to the Artura that comes with McLaren’s expertise in creating sports cars: not too much, not too little. Just right. With spirited driving, you’ll never have to think about how the engine works since it delivers the goods in spades. Power delivery is authoritative, with a defiant surge in every gear shift as if daring you to question its hybrid credentials.

As more manufacturers move towards partial/full electrification, making their machines more efficient and powerful, it’s heartening to see that brands like McLaren still manage to inject plenty of art into its science.

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