Last month, I mentioned that we are adding Hybrid vehicles to the list of topics I will write about. Well, now you know the reason why. I was invited to the closed-door media reveal of the all-new next generation high-performance hybrid supercar, the McLaren Artura. No cameras or phones were allowed from guests. After the presentations of the history and heritage of the brand and monster vehicles, the cover flew off and we got to see the McLaren Artura, their first series-production High-Performance Hybrid supercar in all its glory. What an amazing piece of machinery. It screams fast.
This car is all-new from the ground up. I bet the engineers enjoying building the Artura especially that they had to preserve McLaren’s super-lightweight engineering philosophy when adding hybrid powertrain elements including an E-motor and battery pack. The result, distinctive design, unrivalled performance, dynamic excellence and engineering innovation. With the added electrification the additional benefits include faster throttle response, lower emissions and being able to run in pure EV mode for emissions-free journeys of up to 30km.
At the heart of the Artura’s powertrain is McLaren’s all-new, 2,993cc twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engine. With a power output of 585PS – nearly 200 PS per litre – and 585Nm of torque, the dry-sump aluminium engine is compact and lightweight; at just 160kg it weighs 50kg less than a McLaren V8 and is significantly shorter, enhancing packaging efficiency.
Boy is this car fit. Through many engineering marvels, the Artura has a dry weight of 1,395kg – the total weight of the hybrid components is only 130kg (88kg for the battery pack). Also at 1,498kg curb weight, this thing compares well with other supercars that don’t include hybrid powertrains or battery packs.
This monster can jump from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3 seconds, has a top speed limited at 330 km/h. Working in harmony with the new V6 is the Artura’s compact axial flux E-motor, located within the transmission bell housing. Smaller and more power-dense than a conventional radial flux E-motor, it is capable of generating 95PS and 225Nm and boasts a power density per kilo 33% greater than the system used in the McLaren P1™.
So technically, this car has no reverse gear. For the car to reverse, it uses the E-motor – basically the motor just spins the opposite direction. One genius of a question was asked at the event. What happens if the car is parked forward and the battery is dead? That’s right, you cannot reverse.
The E-motor is powered by a battery pack comprising five lithium-ion modules, offering a usable energy capacity of 7.4kWh and a pure EV range of 30km. The battery is refrigerant cooled using cooling rails.
It will be extremely rare for your battery to die out and for you to face this situation. You see, the car charges the battery while driving. The Artura is designed with full Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) capability and can be charged to an 80% charge level in just 2.5 hours with a standard EVSE cable. The batteries can also harvest power from the combustion engine during driving, tailored to the driving mode selected.
The McLaren Artura is the first model to have the new McLaren Carbon Lightweight Architecture (MCLA) at its core. Optimised for high-performance hybrid applications, it includes a bespoke battery compartment and introduces a ground-breaking domain-based ethernet electrical architecture, along with an electrical heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (eHVAC) system.
The ethernet architecture reduces cabling by up to 25% as well as speeding up data transmission. This also facilitates access to advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) including Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane-Departure Warning, Auto High-Beam Assist and Road-Sign Recognition as well as Over-The-Air (OTA) software updates.
The low-nose, cab-forward, high-tail stance is pure supercar, the drama underlined by the signature McLaren dihedral doors – which open closer to the body and house mirrors that fold in more tightly – and further enhanced by the short wheelbase and low stance.
Inside the Artura is where the magic happens. The cockpit is centred more than ever around the driver. The driving mode selection – which retains separate Powertrain and Handling controls – has been moved to the instrument binnacle, which is in turn mounted to the steering column and adjusts with the steering wheel to further enhance driving ergonomics. Consequently, the steering wheel is kept clear of unnecessary switches, however, the driver is still able to adjust driving modes without taking their hands away from the wheel.
You are in total control of this supercar. You can choose from four Powertrain modes, including an E-mode for 30km of emissions-free, electric-only driving. Designed for mixed driving conditions, Comfort mode maximises range and efficiency, with the combustion engine shut off under 40km/h with the use of an extended stop and start mode but phased in for greater speed and power requirements. Want to go bonkers in your Artura, then engage Sport and Track modes. The electric power is deployed in an increasingly aggressive manner for low-end response and acceleration (‘torque infill’). Separate handling mode choices adjust damper firmness and the degree of Electronic Stability Control intervention to suit driver preference and weather and road conditions.
The McLaren Artura also debuts an all-new Clubsport seat, which uniquely combines the range of motion expected of a moveable backrest with the light weight and support of a bucket seat. The whole seat pivots as one through an elliptical arc when adjusted, combining under-thigh support, seat height and backrest in one movement.
For a supercar it is decent in interior space. I am 184 cm and felt quite comfortable seated in it, and had enough room for my long legs. There’s adequate space all-round, giving you a comfortable ride.
An all-new McLaren infotainment and connectivity system (MIS II) utilises two high-definition screens. The interface is built on all-new software and bespoke hardware to deliver a smartphone level of responsiveness and is also capable of smartphone mirroring. MIS II includes updated versions of familiar McLaren apps including McLaren Track Telemetry and Variable Drift Control, and also features a redesigned navigation map in the instrument cluster which focuses on key information to minimise driver distraction. A stealth mode on the main binnacle hides non-essential content, reducing distractions and promoting full concentration on the road ahead.
MIS II also optionally enables a number of ADAS driver assistance features, including Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop/Go; Lane-Departure Warning; High-Beam Assist and Road-Sign Recognition. These and the infotainment features can all be enhanced using OTA update technology. The Artura also features a Bluetooth low-energy vehicle key which detects when the driver is heading towards the vehicle and powers up systems to welcome occupants. This includes ambient, ‘hidden-until-lit’ lighting in the doors, also acting as puddle lamps.
The Artura that is heading to the region is priced in the UAE for a cool AED 1.000,000. Every McLaren Artura comes as standard with a five-year vehicle warranty, a six-year battery warranty and 10-year body warranty.
Further information about the McLaren Artura is available at: http://cars.mclaren.com/en/artura