Sometimes a car company launches a new car whose significance goes far beyond its price and position in the range. In effect it resets the company. Volkswagen did this last year when it launched the all-electric ID.3 saying it was up there with the Beetle and Golf as three most significant product launch in its history. But to McLaren, the new Artura is way more important than that.
It is a new car from end to end, the first truly new car since McLaren Automotive’s first product, the MP4-12C launched a decade ago. Everything so far seen to date has been a development of that car – at times a quite extreme development, but a development nonetheless. All have been powered by versions of the same twin-turbo V8 powertrain, all have directed power to the rear wheels through a seven-speed double-clutch gearbox. None has had a limited-slip differential and only the limited numbers P1 and Speedtail have had hybridised powertrains. Most importantly the construction of their carbon monocoques was sub-contracted out to a company in Austria.
Compare that to the Artura, whose tub will be built in house at the new McLaren Composites Technology Centre in Sheffield. It will be powered not by a 3.8 or 4-litre V8, but a 3-litre V6 engine designed from scratch by McLaren. It will however to continue to be assembled by Ricardo on England’s south coast. Not only will it drive through a similarly new gearbox now with eight speeds, but it will be boosted by a hybrid drive system that raises the 577bhp of the V6 engine to a total system output of 671bhp, enough to fling the Artura to 124mph in 8.4sec.
It will also have McLaren’s first electronically controlled limited-slip differential, allowing the car to enter a slow corner with essentially an open diff to kill the understeer that dogs purely mechanical systems, before providing whatever amount of lock-up is required to maintain traction to the exit. It’s nothing more than what Ferrari has been doing with spectacular success for years but it should allow McLaren to silence those who have complained of a certain trickiness on the limit from some of its cars.
But probably its greatest achievement is to package a hybrid drive of batteries, an e-motor and associated ancilliaries, an eight-speed gearbox, electronic diff, additional cooling and far higher equipment level in a car that nevertheless weighs just 48kg more than the 570S it appears to replace. And this, remember, despite producing over 100 additional horsepower.
This content was originally published here.