A new era has dawned at the McLaren Automotive company which is a new configuration for their future models. It’s not electrification but an accustomed technology that we are quite frank with. They have decided to use hybrid technology but in a rather innovative way by changing certain aspects that come with it. They have implemented this step on the new Artura by lightening the body structure and executing various hybrid systems changes to extract maximum performance from the car.
The Artura serves as the first-ever McLaren to be built on their new hybrid powertrain platform which is planned to be used on other models as time goes by. It was made possible thanks to a collaboration with the McLaren F1 Team and they have created a very light chassis that encompasses the next revolutionary supercar character and that is evident with how they are describing it, a High-Performance Hybrid (HPH) supercar.
McLaren decided to step into a different path by not only using hybrid tech but reducing the engine size from the conventional V8 to a more polar bear friendly V6 petrol. That has limited the amount of power they were able to extract from this engine with setting the displacement at only 3.0 litres along with two turbochargers. It produces a mere 557 hp (415 kW) & 583 Nm in modern McLaren supercar standards.
However, with lessons learnt from the creation of the P1 hypercar, McLaren has installed an axial flux E-motor that is powered by a 7.4 kWh lithium-ion battery pack and as a result produces an additional 94 hp (70 kW) and 225 Nm of torque. In total, it produces 671 hp (500 kW) & 720 Nm of torque which all goes to the rear wheels. The power is shifted on a new 8-speed dual-clutch transmission specifically made for the Artura as it has been lightened to align with the car’s super light philosophy.
With the engine having only two less cylinders, this means it is much lighter weighing just 50 kilograms and it is 220 millimetres narrower which makes it an easier package to fit in the engine compartment. The performance of the engine has not been compromised as the Turbos are positioned within the ‘hot vee’ and that reduces the pressure losses and allows the engine to rev up to 8 500 rpm.
Going back to the E-motor, the battery pack can be charged from 0 to 80% within 2.5 hours and it has a range of 30 kilometres with a top speed of 130 km/h on a full charge. The gearbox doesn’t have a reverse gear, so the E-motor takes care of that by simply rotating in the opposite direction to allow the car to go in reverse.
All of this powertrain set up has a result on how the car performs and we can report that it is no slouch according to the claimed manufacturer figures. The 0-100 km/h sprint time is no surprise at all as it can do it in just 3.0 seconds but further startles by doing 0-200 km/h in just 8.3 seconds which is only 0.1 seconds slower than the 600 LT. The top speed is limited at 330 km/h.
Topping it further to enhance the Artura’s stature, the rear suspension has an all-new unique wishbone with an upper link infused to the chassis of the car which contributes to a stiffened chassis and strong structure. The improved Proactive Damping control system uses sensors to read the road ahead and adjust the damping position accordingly to provide a comfortable ride. The process is said to take only two milliseconds to send the information to the system.
New to a McLaren model is the E-differential bringing in the aim to remain weightless as it is light and smaller than a mechanical differential locking. It also manages the vehicle speed and torque split variations effectively to allow the car more grip on the road. This works in conjunction with the newly developed Pirelli P Zero tyres that feature a new tyre monitoring system. To stop the car, there are two front 390 millimetre brake discs with 6-piston monobloc brake calipers and two rear 380 millimetre brake discs with 4-piston brake calipers.
Now we can focus on the most important aspect of the Artura and it is the bare skeleton that McLaren keeps boasting about on their press release. They have created a new platform called the McLaren Carbon Lightweight Architecture (MCLA) and the Artura is the first in line to use it. The idea is incorporating a hybrid system to the structure and not having a significant increase in weight. In total, it weighs only 1498 kilograms which is around 60 kilograms heavier than several established McLaren models such as the 720S and 600LT. That is an incredible figure given that it carries around a battery pack.
There are three elements infused to the MCLA which are a carbon fibre monocoque, the electrical architecture, and chassis and suspension structures. The carbon monocoque design is directly derived from Formula One racing technologies and it is built in-house at the McLaren Technical Centre with materials like Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymers (CRFP) and Kevlar. It provides a safety fuel cell and enhances a strong structure to reduce damage from crash impacts.
The chassis structure is formed with aluminium subframes designed to absorb impacts and the front upper wishbone is mounted into the Carbon Monocoque, same with the rear subframe. On the other hand, the electrical architecture consists of different components including advanced driver assistance systems, over-the-air software updates and aforementioned Pirelli Cyber Tyre-monitoring technology.
The developed eHAV system which consists of the electrical heating, air-conditioning and ventilation now works with or without the engine’s power.
The design is mainly inspired by three popular McLaren models, the 600LT, 720S and GT. The sleek, low nose shows a 600LT influence with the classic hammerhead front design and side air intakes which dissect airflow and house the radiators for cooling. There is a two-tone colour effect going around the whole body of the car as seen with the front splitter, the rear deck mesh and the open rear end, all in a black colour.
The adaptive LED headlight design looks exactly like the one from the 720S with the sculptured surrounds in body colour rather than black. Heading to the side of the car are 19-inch front wheels wrapped in Pirelli 235/35Z R19 tyres and 20-inch rear wheels wrapped in 295/35 R20 tyres. There are two wheel designs to choose from: a 5-spoke and 10-spoke designs with an additional 7-spoke wheel design exclusive to the Artura.
The butterfly wing doors are derived from McLaren GT, including the rear slim taillights and in the middle are twin sport exhaust pipes sticking out like cannons. All the body creases, vents and air ducts serve a purpose in improving aerodynamics and they are not there just for show. The Artura is available with 15 different exterior colours with 3 new colours debuting with the model namely: Flux Green, Ember Orange and Plateau Grey.
The new McLaren infotainment system (MIS II) has been introduced on the Artura and it includes a high-definition touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a new track telemetry software with Variable Drift Control Function. As standard, you get McLaren’s five speaker audio system, satellite navigation, cruise control and a full digital instrument cluster.
There are three model trims: Performance, Tech Lux and Vision and each of these provide the interior with various material such as Alcantara and Nappa Leather that covers almost the whole interior. Decorative stitching can be seen on the steering wheel, the clubsport seats, on the dashboard and the centre console. The cabin looks like a lovely place to be in, especially if it’s going to be for grand touring.
McLaren is offering the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) which has the following: Intelligent Cruise Control with Stop/Go, Road Sign Recognition, Lane Departure Warning and High-Beam Assist. The Advanced Cruise Control can decrease and increase the speed of the car to keep up with the car in front and also works in stop-start traffic conditions.
Prices will be confirmed in the near future and hopefully this comes to South Africa. The McLaren Artura is only the start of upcoming hybrid supercar models that will be mass produced and take on the likes of the Ferrari SF90 Stradale.
Source: McLaren Artura Press Release