We’ve known that McLaren was planning to reveal the new plug-in hybrid supercar, the Artura, for a bit now, and last night proved the company wasn’t just having everyone on. The Artura is here, and it’s so very lime-colored and crammed full of new tech, even if from the exterior it still looks very McLaren. And technically it has no reverse gear, but I’ll get to that soon.
The Artura is all-new, right down to the chassis. While all McLarens since 2009 have used the same basic carbon-fiber tub and a V8 engine, the Artura is using an all-new platform, the McLaren Carbon Lightweight Architecture (MCLA), along with a twin-turbo V6 engine and an interesting permanent-magnet electric motor.
The V6 engine is what’s known as a “hot vee” design, which means that, unlike a conventional V-type engine that has the intake manifold inside the valley of the V (remind me to save that for the title of a series of YA novels), a hot vee has the exhaust manifold on the inside, with the turbos nestled in there as well, which can make for a more compact design.
The 3-liter 120-degree V6 makes 577 horsepower and 431 pound-feet of torque and weighs a surprisingly light 353 pounds, much less than previous McLaren V8s. It’s also an undersquare design, where the stroke (90 mm) is larger than the bore (84 mm) and revs up to 8,500 rpm.
The electric motor the Artura uses is interesting as well: it’s what’s sometimes called an “inside out” electric motor. Technically, it’s an axial flux motor, which puts an electric motor’s moving component, the rotor, actually inside the stator, and flattened out into more of a disc than a cylinder shape, creating an extremely power-dense and compact unit.
This motor makes 94 HP and 166 lb-ft of torque, and its other party trick is what I alluded to in the headline: It moves the car in reverse, running the motor backward instead of having a reverse gear in the transmission. So, when an Artura is in reverse, your Honda Fit makes more power.
Speaking of power, the electricity for the motor comes from a 7.4 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, liquid-cooled and divided into five modules and mounted right in the middle, under the rear of the passenger compartment.
Even with adding heavy batteries, the Artura’s lighter MCLA platform keeps the car’s overall weight to right around 3,300 pounds, light for a hybrid.
On battery power alone, the Artura can go not quite 20 miles, though only at speeds of up to 25 mph, above which the V6 kicks in. So if you want to be stealthy, you’ll be doing that slowly. Of course, the electric motor also helps with speed while driving, letting the Artura get to 60 in about three seconds, to 124 mph in 8.3 seconds, and a top speed of a very reasonable 205 mph.
Even without reverse, the Artura’s transmission is an eight-speed, three-clutch setup, with two of the clutches acting as they would in any dual-clutch transmission and one to engage or disengage the electric motor.
The tires are also quite advanced, as it’s using Pirelli’s P Zero Corsa “cyber tires” that use internal sensors and a 5G connection to transmit data to the car, so if you have any 5g-conspiracy-panicked friends, maybe don’t tell them that.
The design of the Artura is keeping with McLaren’s usual aesthetic and basic design language, though refined in a number of ways. The car is very compact, with minimal overhangs and an overall very lithe look. Edges are curved, and there are almost no corners to be found. Elements like the laser-cut rear heat exhaust panel are surrounded by curved body panels, and I think the result works very well.
There’s lots of nice detailing as well, like these functional heat-removal vents...
...and this nice flying buttress design for the C-pillar:
McLaren also showed a red and black Artura, and I think the roof works well in the contrasting color, too:
The inside looks comfortable but pretty focused on the driver, with a large LCD dash display and a central vertically oriented LCD that seems to house HVAC, infotainment and all other controls. Those white seats: I guess you’ll want to ask your passenger to finish that chili dog before entering if you’re a stickler for that sort of thing.
In lieu of a conventional shifter are these funny little keys:
The instrument displays are pleasingly non-skeuomorphic, with a very clear and readable, almost minimal design:
If you want to pick up a few of these, I’m told they’ll be going for about $225,000, but I can’t say what you might get on your 2005 Chevy Malibu trade-in, so keep that in mind.