Can we dream of a real supercar without looking like a selfish polluter? New sports cars like the McLaren Artura are here to fuel the fire as you face the new challenges of the automotive market.
The dream becomes politically correct
From 2035, major car manufacturers will not have the right to sell cars with a combustion engine. Long before then, major European cities will probably have put in place restrictions to restrict access to their centers for more polluting vehicles. And the CO2 levels presented by brands are getting more restrictive every year. That’s why even experts in extreme sports cars are turning to hybrids while they wait to master 100% electric technology. Around the same time as the Ferrari 296 GTB plug-in hybrid, McLaren is launching its first mass-produced plug-in car to the market. Presenting an exterior style identical to that of the old V8-powered 570S, the Artura is launching a completely new technical platform. Thanks to its 95 horsepower electric motor powered by a 7.4 kWh battery, it claims a fuel consumption of 4.6 liters per 100 km and only 104 g/km of CO2 (which significantly beats the Ferrari with 149 g/km, it beat and ecological punishment). Yes, this new 680 horsepower sports car would consume and pollute less than a 70 horsepower Toyota Aygo X or a 65 horsepower Renault Twingo!
A true plugin hybrid
Indeed, these low approval figures owe a lot to our standards, which are very useful for plug-in hybrid vehicles, which the European Union intends to adjust for consistency. But with flying in hand, the McLaren Artura can actually drive around town without using a single drop of fuel. Once behind the wheel of this supercar-silhouetted machine, it still needs a twist despite the new practically optimized carbon monocoque, pressing the ignition button doesn’t make the combustion engine bark. As long as you do not exceed 130 km / h and are satisfied with the normal performance of a city car, you drive with little noise in peace. McLaren advertises on this issue a range of 31 kilometers in the electric version, a figure that seems believable to us after 28 kilometers of traveling without using fuel between Marbella and the Spanish ring road. So, yes, indeed, this McLaren can be good if you intend to use it in everyday life by recharging it after every short trip. Count 2h30 to return from 0 to 80% charge on a standard 220 volt socket.
A real McLaren when the V6 is running
But you’d be wrong not to experience all that this Artura can do as soon as you wake up and see the rear-mounted 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6, an all-new engine that develops 585 horsepower (and 680 horsepower combined. The electric motor is mounted on the exhaust of its crankshaft). To do so, simply switch the powertrain selector – located to the right of the steering wheel on the instrument panel hood – to a position other than “Electric” (Comfort, Sport and Track). Comfortable despite the usual experimental suspension without the integrated hydraulic system of its big sister 720S, the Artura then reveals its true mechanical character. Mated to an all-new dual-clutch gearbox as well, this V6 sounds a bit like the Ford GT’s with a muffled, rumbling sound, far from the 296 GTB’s high-pitched sound (but it takes 8,500 rpm as that of Ferrari). And immediately, we get the feeling of driving classic McLaren cars: despite the softer temperament compared to the old 570S, the famous hydraulic power steering remains more communicative and realistic than that of the Audi R8 or the Lamborghini Huracan. The same note of a brake pedal -with no regenerative function- whose intense attack immediately makes you want to smash it at high speed. With the powertrain set to Track Mode and the damping mode in Sport, the speed becomes difficult on the Andalusian roads leading to the Ascari circuit. Aided by the optional P-Zero Corsa, the Artura bursts with power and hits like a real supercar (0 to 200 km/h in 8.3 seconds, better than the 780-horsepower Lamborghini Aventador Ultimae). The work of the electric motor at low revs shines with its intelligence and the good cooperation of all makes us completely forget that we are driving a plug-in hybrid machine. It must be said that despite the 130 kg added to the chassis by electric means, the Artura weighs only 1498 kg dry, which is to say less than all its direct rivals. This is also the reason why the front axle fights down surprisingly smoothly despite the absence of rear wheels. Should we see the all-new rear differential in action, electronically controlled and with a working “torque vectoring” feature? Once we arrived at the Ascari circuit in any case, we are happy to have a lot of fun on the road.
And on the circuit?
Launched on the circuit, Artura offers the same feeling with a very high level of traction and grip. At the limit, the Englishman exudes confidence and naturally invites you to lower and remove the driving aids, even on a track as demanding as the Ascari track. Very solid and closed to our speed, it made us feel like we could go further in the attack. Unfortunately, we will not see more: during our second series of laps where we should have pushed harder and removed the driving aids, an incident on the track in another article forced us to join the pit lane. Too bad, because Artura seemed to be good at chasing the clock on the circuit. The brand’s engineers also assure us that the electric motor’s batteries are designed to last 10 consecutive cycles on a circuit as large as Nardo’s before starting to lose performance. Capable of holding a full day’s track according to the brand’s contacts, the Artura never gave the impression of a reduction in performance during our test, even on the road once the batteries were empty (they recharge via engine braking). Note that the overheating problem on one of the test models during our sessions, which caused the testing to be stopped, will be due to a minor problem with the original series replicas. McLaren promises that they will not care about cars sold to customers (guaranteed for 5 years or 75,000 km).
There’s still a competitive edge: At €235,548, the Artura costs €35,000 less than the new, more powerful 296 GTB (830 horsepower). But the Lamborghini Huracan Evo, Audi R8 Performance, Maserati MC20 and Porsche 911 Turbo S are all cheaper (unless we add the €40,000 penalty that the Artura completely avoids). And at McLaren, the explosive 720S with 720 horsepower costs just €15,000 more. It’s not easy to choose your unique sports car with such rich offers…
The price, the character of the engine can not be forgotten
0 to 100 km/h:
4.6 l/100 km
Active and passive security:
Comfort and life on board:
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