McLaren debuts new Artura plug-in hybrid supercar

McLaren recently debuted its latest vehicle, the Artura. This plug-in hybrid EV is the first to debut for the British supercar manufacturer this year. The company has previously vowed to pivot toward electric vehicles, and cease development of ICE models by 2030.

In a lengthy but well-produced launch video, McLaren teases a glimpse of its new hybrid vehicle. The broad drone shots over smoke and water creep toward a glowing green light, perhaps a subtle hint to McLaren’s (reluctant) decision to go electric?

The Artura PHEV emerges from the shadows within the McLaren Technology Center as the first hybrid to debut in 2021. The world-renowned automaker has previously stated that every major model will be hybrid moving forward. Unfortunately, McLaren doesn’t expect to release a fully electric supercar until 2025.

Still, the Artura joins two other hybrids in the McLaren fleet – the previously produced P1, and the current Speedtail hyper-GT. Let’s get down to the specs and unique features on the new McLaren Artura.

McLaren Speedtail

Introducing the McLaren Artura PHEV

McLaren’s design approach to the Artura is a clean slate compared to previous hybrids like the P1. It features all new McLaren Carbon Lightweight Architecture (MCLA for short). The Artura also houses an all-new hybrid powertrain, new aerodynamics, with improved cooling, visibility, and ergonomics. All while aiming to stay as lightweight as possible. New electric wiring throughout the PHEV supports new features to McLaren like Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Apple Carplay. The features on the Artura will be McLaren’s core model for hybrids moving forward.

According to McLaren design director Rob Melville, the technical design of the Artura was focused around three ideas. The first is purity in both the overall look of the vehicle and the components within it.

The second is technical sculpture. The goal was to make the Artura beautiful to gaze upon, while still ensuring every piece is there for a reason.

Similarly, the third idea is “functional jewelry.” Melville explains that McLaren doesn’t decorate its cars, it simply adds everything the vehicle needs and makes it beautiful. The design director was so bold to say that, “Artura will rewrite the rulebook on what an electrified supercar can be.” He did design the thing, though.

McLaren’s new Artura PHEV

Artura’s exterior and interior features

On the exterior, the Artura features staggered wheel sizes – 19-inch wheels in the front and 20-inch rear wheels. The sunken cabin between the high peaks of its rear fenders gives it that sporty supercar feel. Moving around to the back, laser-cut mesh helps optimize cooling across the rear zone. The PHEV also features ultra-slim almond-shaped LED blade lights outside of twin exhausts.

McLaren Artura

Moving inward, the interior of the Artura is geared toward the driver and keeping his or her eyes on the road as much as possible. Especially with the speeds this machine can reach. The center console touchscreen is tilted toward the driver for quicker and easier views. The instrument cluster or binnacle sits alongside the dynamic controls mounted directly to the steering column.

This is a unique design that ensures that wherever your comfortable wheel position is, you’ll be able to maintain perfect visibility. That includes viewing the road and the instrumentation. It also allows you to more easily engage with your hands on the wheel without having to look down.

McLaren Artura

McLaren Artura’s hybrid powertrain

The hybrid powertrain begins with a V6 engine with direct injection. It also sits at a 120 degree “v” angle, as explained by director of project strategy Jamie Corstorphine. The hybrid system features a bespoke axial-flux motor and a lithium-ion energy dense battery.

According to McLaren, this powertrain can generate 680 PS (~671 HP) of power. 95 PS of which comes from the electric motor. The Artura can also heave 720 Nm (531 ft-lb) of torque. In terms of emissions, the battery can run for 30 km (~18.5 mi) emissions free, before the V6 kicks in.

Now let’s talk speed. The McLaren Artura can travel 0-200 km in 8.3 seconds, and can reach a top speed of 330 km/hr (205 mph).

As you can see, the Artura has a lot of futuristic features to offer. For those of you who would like to watch its official reveal in its 15-minute entirety, here it is:

Electrek‘s take

There is no arguing that the Artura is quite an impressive machine. We would expect nothing less from one of the leaders in Formula One racing and lightweight speed technologies. With that said, the thought that McLaren is focusing on hybrids with minimal plans for full EVs in the future doesn’t exactly move the needle. Especially when plenty of other automakers like Tesla and Rimac are doing just that.

The design is certainly impressive… it’s still a supercar after all. However, with so much time dedicated to aeros, lightweight carbon fiber, and ergonomics, the hybrid powertrain feels like an afterthought. Sure, 205 mph is an impressive top speed, but there are fully electric vehicles that are promising those same numbers at a much lower price. The base model Artura starts at $225,000.

Overall, it’s cool to see McLaren (sort of) adapting to the future of electric vehicles. But if you’re going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a supercar, it would be nice to see something fully electric.

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Scooter Doll is a writer, designer and tech enthusiast born in Chicago and based on the West Coast. When he’s not offering the latest tech how tos or insights, he’s probably watching Chicago sports.
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