Not just another Mac, the Artura will define the McLaren line-up for the next decade. Picture: SUPPLIED
Not just another Mac, the Artura will define the McLaren line-up for the next decade. Picture: SUPPLIED

McLaren has been criticised lately for launching too many models, or variants of models, or variants of variants of models. You get the idea. Which is why some people will see the new Artura (Art+Future), revealed this week as just another Mac.

It’s not. Code-named P16, this is the big one, the model that will define the line-up for the next decade. I’d even go so far as to say that it is as important to McLaren as its first modern-era road car, the MP4-12C was more than 10 years ago when McLaren Automotive was first established.

We were given exclusive access to the car at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, England at the end of 2020 and have been sworn to secrecy until now. Jamie Corstorphine, director of product strategy at McLaren, told us the Artura has been created from the ground up for a new era, building on the achievements of the past 10 years.

It is the first on the new McLaren Carbon Lightweight Architecture (MCLA) which has been optimised for electrification. While both the P1 and Speed Tail were hybrids, this is the first main production model to be designated as a High-Performance Hybrid.

High-definition infotainment system for the first time on a McLaren is Apple CarPlay ready. Picture: SUPPLIED
High-definition infotainment system for the first time on a McLaren is Apple CarPlay ready. Picture: SUPPLIED

It also signals a simplification of the range, which will now feature GT, Supercar and Ultimate Series models. Within that, the Artura sits above the GT but below the 720S and is defined by certain key elements: throttle response, super lightweight engineering, thrilling to drive but easy to live with, new levels of driver convenience, and design vision.

In many ways the Artura looks like the true successor to the MP4-12C, but director of design Rob Melville told us the only real familiarity is in the signature McLaren hammerhead frontal appearance. He says the design mission was to convey purity and technical sculpture with elements of functional jewellery. It’s all design speak, but it means it should look good and everything should have a purpose, like the fender vents which pull turbulent air out to prevent it going into the side intakes.

Satisfying a number of the key elements is the job of the new powertrain, a 3.0l twin-turbo V8 mated to an axial flux electric motor and an eight-speed transmission. Combined power is 500kW and 720Nm of torque, with the e-motor generating 70kW and 225Nm and featuring 33% greater power density per kilo than the unit in the P1.

Key stats include a 0-100km/h time of 3.0 seconds, 0-200 in 8.3 seconds, a top end of 330km/h and the ability to travel up to 30km on electric power alone, essential as more cities around the world introduce low emission zones.

There’s lots of new tech including a new e-diff inside the gearbox, electric reverse gear, a torque infill which maximises acceleration and a new high-definition infotainment system that for the first time on a McLaren is Apple CarPlay ready. It’s also 5G ready, can take over-the-air updates and the Artura is the first car in the world to feature a full ethernet architecture connecting it all together including the new Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS).

A 0-100km/h time of 3.0 seconds, a top end of 330km/h and the ability to travel up to 30km on electric power alone. Picture: SUPPLIED
A 0-100km/h time of 3.0 seconds, a top end of 330km/h and the ability to travel up to 30km on electric power alone. Picture: SUPPLIED

“Every drop of McLaren’s experience and expertise has been poured into the Artura,” says Mike Flewitt, CEO of McLaren Automotive. “Our all-new, High-Performance Hybrid delivers all of the performance, driver engagement and dynamic excellence for which McLaren is renowned, with the additional benefit of EV driving capability.”

Pricing will start at R5m when it arrives in SA in July this year and we’ll be putting the new Artura to the test soon to see if it’s going to be money well spent.

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