McLaren Artura review: The green supercar that can do 61.5mpg
Think back to childhood and you might remember those classic legends of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.
One of the many enduring Arthurian stories – Sir Gawain and the Green Knight – was about the eponymous young hero who took part in a challenging test.
Well, ahead of first customer deliveries next month, I’ve just enjoyed my own first chance to test drive the new two-seat McLaren Artura hybrid supercar, which is also surprisingly green and may well be on its way to becoming an Arthurian legend itself.
The new two-seater McLaren Artura hybrid supercar costs £189,200
Because despite the fact that it is able to accelerate with sparkling power from rest to 100 km/h in just 3 seconds to a top speed of 205 km/h, the super-light Artura also has remarkably green credentials.
The claimed fuel economy for this supercar is a remarkable 61.5mpg – leading the company to claim the Artura as ‘the most fuel efficient McLaren ever produced’. Accordingly, CO2 emissions are only 104 g/km – comparable to some superminis.
Priced from £189,200 (those who got in early benefited from a lower price of £185,500, which the company has honored) McLaren has hailed “a new chapter for the pioneering supercar business and a new era in supercar technology and performance.’
But if you can afford the car, the cost of living crisis may not be as much of a problem as it is for drivers of average family hatchbacks.
The Artura’s top speed is electronically limited to 205 mph. In zero-emissions electric mode, however, it will cover up to 30 miles at speeds of up to 130 km/h.
But that’s not the end of the story. As a petrol-electric hybrid, it also generates and harvests extra power through braking and cruising along the way, achieving its claimed average fuel economy of over 60 mpg.
“Despite all its supercar ticks, it’s not intimidating at all and very easy to use and live with,” said Ray Massey of the new Artura
McLaren Automotive says the arrival of the Artura is ‘a milestone’. So, does it fit billing?
It is certainly a supercar for the big occasion. I picked mine up at McLaren’s futuristic, pristine MTC tech center overlooking a man-made lake and Horsell Common, on the edge of Woking in Surrey, with the hi-tech factory it built next door on the same campus-like site.
Stepping into the Artura is a striking feat in itself, thanks to its two flip-up two-panel doors that look like raised insect wings.
Tighten the abs – it’s great for developing the abs – slide and settle into the comfortable high-back sporty seats, foot on the brake (part of the safety equipment), press the start button, press ‘D’ to start. drive and off we go.
But for all its supercar ticks, it’s not intimidating at all and very easy to use and live with.
The version Ray Massey drove was based on the standard car but had around £20,000 in extras bringing the final price to around £210,000.
It is certainly an adventure car to enjoy the romance of the open road and the challenges of modern traffic, where the behavior is often much less than chivalrous.
There are four driving or performance modes: Electric, Comfort, Sport and Track. These are configured by a large rotary switch on the top right of the driver’s dashboard. You can also choose your preferred suspension setting via a similar switch on the left.
The electric mode is great for gliding smoothly and silently through small towns or urban landscapes. Unless you feel the need to announce your presence by going into sport mode and touring loudly, it’s a much more sophisticated and stylish way to travel.
It is agile and planted on winding country roads, with great grip and balance. But you really feel the power and energy when opening on a highway or dual carriageway.
Artura has two flip-up biplane doors that look like raised insect wings
It is powered by a petrol-electric hybrid powertrain that combines a 585 horsepower 3.0 liter (2,993 cc) twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engine with a 95 horsepower electric motor that together generates a combined output of 680 horsepower, equivalent to nearly seven Ford Fiestas on the traditional Massey gauge – and mated to an 8-speed SSG transmission.
Lightning-fast acceleration and razor-sharp throttle response mean acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3 seconds, and the time from 0 to 100 km/h is the same.
From standstill, it also reaches 200 km/h in just 8.3 seconds, 300 km/h in 21.5 seconds and 400 meters in 10.7 seconds.
As well as the standard car in the range, there are three other upgraded versions – Performance, TechLux and Vision – adding around £3,500 to the list price. But with a huge palette of extras, most cars will sell for over £200,000.
The Artura I drove was based on the stock car but had about £20,000 in extras bringing the final price to about £210,000.
This included: the Vision interior (£4,400) with the addition of Alcantara and Nappa leather cab surfaces; a carbon fiber interior package (£4,000); Alcantara steering wheel (£550); a technology package (£6,800) with luxury and safety features such as 360-degree parking assistance, an improved audio system and lane departure warning; a sports exhaust system (£4,700) and a free Practical Pack with upgraded parking sensors and cameras, electrically folding heated door mirrors and soft-closing doors.
It features a new Clubsport seat for extra comfort even for the tallest drivers
For driving, most important controls are accessible from the handlebars. The new 8-inch high-definition touchscreen looks like a large watch, complete with a side winding mechanism. This allows the driver to configure assistance systems and ‘mirror’ his smartphone. Software upgrades for the car are possible wirelessly.
When it comes to parking, side cameras give you a good view of the curb – helping to avoid wear and tear on those expensive alloys.
With its sleek, shrink-wrapped exterior, the new Artura targets rival Continental supercars, including the Lamborghini Huracan, Maserati MC20 and Ferrari F8 Tributo.
Despite its low-slung appearance, there is ample room and headroom and McLaren says it can easily accommodate a driver or passenger up to 6ft 4 inches tall.
The new mid-engine Artura is the first model to be built on the company’s new lightweight carbon architecture, created in-house at the new McLaren Composites Technology Center near Sheffield.
There are four driving or performance modes: Electric, Comfort, Sport and Track
The Artura also marks the debut of a new Clubsport seat for extra comfortable comfort for even the tallest drivers. McLaren said it “uniquely combines the range of motion expected from a movable backrest with the light weight and support of a bucket seat.”
It explained, “The entire chair pivots as one through an elliptical arc when adjusted, combining lower leg rest, seat height and backrest in one motion.”
It promises to ‘stretch out a 193cm tall driver with generous knee and legroom, even with the backrest reclined considerably’.
You won’t quite fit in it if you’re wearing a harness, but that’ll be good news for bigger supercar buyers, or those who’ve expanded because they’ve made their money over the years.
Disappointing to my flight of fantasy, McLaren suggests that the Artura name itself has no link to King Arthur or the Athurian legend, but is a broad composite construction derived from Art and Future. There is even a stunningly painted art car produced by artist Nat Bowen.
I’m not so sure. I subliminally suspect that someone had the Arthurian legend in the back of their mind.
According to that legend, when Britain is in danger, King Arthur and his knights will return to help defend the nation.
Keep your eyes open. You will soon see Arturas on the road.
McLaren Artura: Will it fit in my garage?
There are four specifications – standard Artura, Performance, TechLux and Vision
PricePrice: from £189,200 (from the original £185,500, although those bought at previous prices will be honored).
Choice of four specifications: standard Artura, Performance, TechLux and Vision
Built: Woking, England
Doors: 2 (swing-up dihedral)
engine: Hybrid M630 3.0 liter (2.993cc) twin-turbo V6 petrol engine coupled to an electric motor
Total power: 680 hp
Transfer: 8-speed SSG (Seamless Shift Gearbox) double clutch (reverse with electric motor)
modes: Electric, Comfort, Sport and Track.
top speed: 205mph (electronically limited)
Electric top speed: 81mph
Fuel economy: 61.5mpg
Co2 emissions: 104g/km
Usable battery capacity: 7.4 kWh in five lithium-ion modules
Battery charging time: 2.5 hours to 80 percent
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