McLaren’s first series production hybrid gets 671bhp and just under 20 miles of zero tailpipe emissions range

While mainstream cars are being electrified en masse to reduce emissions, supercar makers are exploiting available technology in the pursuit of speed and driving dynamics. The McLaren Artura is the latest such example, except this time it offers genuine plug-in charging and zero-emissions driving capability.

For McLaren, it is the British car maker’s first ever series production ‘High Performance Hybrid’ (HPH) supercar, with previous hybrids like the P1 and Speedtail being strictly limited production. Artura, on the other hand, takes all of the recent engineering and performance advances made by McLaren – such as downsizing the petrol motor, electrification and maintaining lightness – and lumps it into one model.

Before we go on, we suggest you don’t get too excited about the Artura’s abilities as a PHEV. Yes, it can travel locally on battery power alone, but we’re talking very locally. However, it does demonstrate that the compromise of maintaining a petrol motor for purists, whilst reducing emissions is eminently possible.

Powertrain and performance

McLaren has ditched its blown V8s for a 2993cc twin-turbocharged V6 in the Artura. On its own, the V6 is good for 577bhp (which is close to 200bhp per litre for specific output fans) alongside 431lb-ft of torque. By losing two cylinders, McLaren has shed 50kg from the powerplant which complements the equally svelte electrical components.

These take the form of a 94bhp, 166lb-ft electric motor, which weighs just 15.4kg and is located within the transmission. It draws power from a 7.4kWh battery pack. This is obviously small in the PHEV sector where double this amount is more common, and this is reflected in the Artura’s electric-only range which stands at just 18.6 miles. A little nugget of interest with regards the E-motor’s integration into the gearbox is that the Artura has no reverse gear, just eight tightly stacked forward speeds; the electric motor provides reverse.

On a practical level, the small battery comes into its own on two fronts; it is comparatively light at 88kg and can be charged from a regular household socket in 2.5 hours. On a dynamic level, the total system output of 671bhp and 530lb-ft alongside a modest kerb weight of 1498kg makes the Artura brisk. Zero to 62mph comes up in three seconds dead; 124mph in 8.3 seconds and 186mph in 21.5 seconds with the car accelerating until it head-butts the electronic limiter at 205mph.

Emissions and fuel economy are somewhat subjective here. Whilst an official 129g/km of CO2 and over 50mpg sounds pretty unimpressive for a PHEV, given the performance on offer it’s actually quite impressive.

Chassis and handling

The Artura is based on a carbon fibre monocoque with aluminium front and rear subframes and chassis structures. Dry, it’s less than 1400kg as well as being super stiff. Independent adaptive dampers all-round enable the chassis to be set up to driving requirements, including comfort, sport and track modes. An electronic differential also reacts with varying levels of lock-up aggression depending on the driving mode.

Brakes are carbon ceramic discs all-round measuring 390mm up front (gripped by six-piston calipers) and 380mm on the rear (with four-pot calipers). The 19 inch front and 20 inch rear alloys are shod in specially developed Pirelli tyres with ‘Cyber Tyre’ technology. Each tyre has a chip in it which relays data to the Artura’s driving systems to deliver the optimal performance. Very McLaren.

Driver assistance and tech

The interior features all-new Clubsport seats which are designed to offer the range of motion as a regular sports seat, but with the body-hugging properties of a bucket seat. Additional comfort comes from McLaren’s focus on nailing the NVH of the car, conscious that it will spend time running silently in EV mode.

McLaren has opted to locate major controls (including driving mode selectors) to either side of the steering wheel, leaving the wheel itself to do one thing only: steer the car. Behind it is a digital instrument cluster, whilst an eight inch central touchscreen is the primary hub for infotainment functions and adjusting car settings. It operates using McLaren’s second-generation infotainment system (MIS II) and is platformed on Android technology, ensuring smartphone-like functionality. Apple CarPlay is also supported. Over-the-air updates ensure that onboard systems always run the latest versions.

Interior trim has a huge amount of customisability, with everything from the colours, fabrics, lighting and trim having various options available. The Artura is the first McLaren to offer advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). These include intelligent adaptive cruise with stop/go, road sign recognition, lane departure warning and high-beam assist. Options include a 360-degree park assist, vehicle lift (for particularly aggressive speed humps), front and rear parking sensors and Homelink – whereby electric gates or garage doors can be operated automatically by the car when leaving or approaching home.

Price and availability

The McLaren Artura is available to order now with prices starting at £185,500, and buyers get a five-year, 46,600 mile warranty which includes battery cover.

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