The UK maker’s next-gen hybrid supercar is finally here – worth the wait? And the weight?
Are we sure this is all-new? Looks like a facelift
McLaren Automotive, the car company that came into being with the 12C, has produced some beautiful cars over the years (the Speedtail, 600LT and 720S) and some less beautiful cars (the Senna and GT).
The new Artura, which marks the beginning of McLaren’s second chapter, is pretty. But it also looks an awful lot like the old 570S, the car it effectively replaces. It’s a fresh start disguised as a gentle facelift.
Because while the mission statement hasn’t changed (like the 570S, the Artura is carbon-tubbed, two-seat supercar designed to monster both trackdays and long days on the road), everything else has: new V6 hybrid powertrain, new electronics, new infotainment, new cockpit architecture.
The Artura is also a more serious car than the 570S. Just as Ferrari is pushing upmarket (the SF90 is a £400k car, and the new 296 GTB nearer £300k than £200k), so McLaren has positioned the £189,200, 671bhp Artura some way north of the £150k, 562bhp 570S.
A hybrid, but not like a Prius?
Not like a Prius. No Prius we ever drove had a bespoke wide-angle V6 twin-turbo combustion engine and a hybrid powertrain so powerful and compact it both increases performance and reduces the wheelbase, boosting agility.
If you were hoping this all-new engine might be more tuneful than the old McLaren V8 (us too), bad news. It isn’t. But this is a remarkable powertrain nonetheless. At one end of the scale, 19 miles of electric-only driving is, in a car like this, nothing short of a revelation. It means you can slip through busy city centres all but unnoticed, avoiding attention, and leave home early without your neighbours hating on you. There’s also something very relaxing about parking and manoeuvring on silent e-power alone. This is the supercar all grown up.
But crank the Artura up and the new McLaren will happily still go savage. Its combination of twin-turbo petrol power and instant electric torque make for outlandish acceleration, despite the 50-70kg weight penalty the car carries over the non-hybrid 570S. Overtakes are instant. 62mph from a standstill comes up in three seconds dead. Straights simply disappear. And yet so composed is the Artura that it never feels loose or out of control.
Steering to die for
Why so good? The tub is super-rigid, improving handling and stability, and the Artura’s suspension set-up works beautifully on the road, with a lovely combination of pliancy and control. The new electronic differential (previous McLarens used the brakes to simulate a limited-slip diff) also works extremely well, finding traction on corner exit where you expect wheelspin.
But the Artura’s standout feature is its steering. Unusually for a new car in 2022, you won’t find any buttons or knobs on the wheel; no volume adjustment, no phone controls, nothing. And this tells you everything you need to know about how important McLaren considers steering. With hydraulic rather than electrical assistance, there’s plenty of lovely feel and linearity.
The Charles & Dean verdict
The evolutionary exterior design and flat engine note feel like missed opportunities, but the Artura is a towering achievement nonetheless. Fast, easy to drive and with gorgeous steering, it’s incredibly usable. Other supercars might be more raw, more exciting and more alive. But the McLaren enjoys a sophistication and a depth of appeal lacking in many of its rivals.
McLaren Artura: £189,200, 671bhp turbocharged V6 hybrid, 3.0sec 0-62mph, 205mph