Behold the most radically new McLaren since the 2011 MP4-12C. Everything from its carbon tub, to its engine, to its hybrid transmission’s electric motor, and even its refreshingly non-numeric moniker has been clean-sheet reimagined. The 2022 McLaren Artura aims to introduce the throttle responsiveness and silent city-center operation (not to mention 129 g/km CO2 emissions compliance) that electrification promises, but with little or no weight penalty relative to its pure-petrol competitors in the mid-$200,000 price range—chiefly the Lamborghini Huracán, Ferrari F8 Tributo, and Maserati MC20.
What’s the Engine in the 2022 McLaren Artura?
Paradigms have been shifted and sacred cows sacrificed as McLaren’s trusty 90-degree twin-turbo V-8s, displacing 3.8 to 4.0 liters across all fitments, give way to a brand-new M630 twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6. This new engine’s coolest feature is its wide 120-degree hot-vee layout. That angle improves performance by reducing exhaust-pressure losses and substantially lowers the engine’s overall height. This in turn lowers the car’s center of gravity for better handling. The engine features 5,100-psi direct fuel injection (the V-8s are port-injected) and variable valve timing on both cams, but there are no other functional novelties. It is cast using 3D-printed cores for optimal block cooling—a Formula 1 trick. Dry-sump lubrication uses a four-stage scavenge pump.
Lopping off two cylinders and moving the accessory and cam drives to the back shortens the engine by 5.9 inches relative to the V-8s. Weighing just 353 pounds, it’s 110 pounds lighter than McLaren’s V-8. At 3.0 liters, it limbos into a substantially lower tax bracket in countries that assess taxes based on engine displacement, making the Artura more appealing to customers there. The rich didn’t get rich by blowing money.
How Powerful Is the New V-6 Engine?
Output of the engine alone is rated at 577 hp at 7,500 rpm and 431 lb-ft of torque from 2,250 to 7,000 rpm. The shorter, stiffer crankshaft and big-bore, short-stroke design ensure this new engine can achieve McLaren’s trademark 8,500-rpm redline, as well, and we’re told special attention has been paid to its acoustics, which are augmented by piping actual engine sounds into the cabin with no stereophonic tomfoolery.
What’s an Axial Flux Motor?!
McLaren is an early adopter of a new type of electric motor that arranges its permanent-magnet poles parallel to the axis of rotation (hence, axial flux), rather than radiating out perpendicular to it (radial flux). Manufacturing the stator windings for motors of this type is more difficult, but the payoff is a more compact design that packs a far greater wallop per size and weight than radial flux motors can. It produces 94 hp and 166 lb-ft of torque. It’s mounted between the engine and transmission with a clutch that can disconnect the engine, allowing the 7.4-kWh lithium-ion battery and electric motor to propel the Artura for up to 19 miles (on Europe’s more generous WLTP test cycle) at speeds up to 75 mph. The battery’s chemistry is optimized for sustained energy, not instantaneous power.
How Much Weight Does the Hybrid Gear Add?
The Artura’s five-cell, refrigerant-cooled, lithium-ion battery pack weighs 194 pounds and is housed beneath the fuel tank—low in the center of the carbon-fiber monocoque where it is well protected from crash damage. The little axial-flux motor weighs just 34 pounds—way less than half of what the McLaren P1‘s 177-hp radial-flux motor weighed. That brings the total weight of the Artura’s hybrid gear to 287 pounds, including associated hardware such as wiring and controllers.
What’s the Total Power and Torque?
Altogether, this powertrain is rated to produce 671 hp and 531 lb-ft of torque in the Artura. (To save you Googling, the GT, which slots below the Artura, makes 612 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque, while the 720S that’s above it is rated at 710 hp and 568 lb-ft of torque, both on gasoline alone, while the P1 hybrid hypercar’s combined output was 903 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque.)
New Eight-Speed Twin-Clutch Transaxle
McLaren’s tried-and-true seven-speed transmission makes way for a smaller, lighter, eight-speed box that requires no reverse gear, as reversing is now completely electric. Its forward ratios are said to be slightly closer and more evenly spaced than the seven-speed unit’s. And it overhangs the rear axle 1.6 inches less than before. Also new to McLaren is the incorporation of an electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential that’s credited with improving overall traction, reducing lap times, and providing more control for the driver. When asked why this technology is just being added now, on this car, the answer was that McLaren “spends its weight carefully” and the improvement in performance and driver confidence were worthy of the added weight (and cost).
How Fast Is the 2022 McLaren Artura?
The top speed is pegged at 205 mph. Accelerating to 62 mph is said to take 3.0 seconds. Leave your foot buried for another 5.3 seconds, and you’ll be going 124 mph ahead of the quarter-mile mark, and 186 mph flashes by in 21.5 seconds. All this from what McLaren claims is its most fuel-efficient model ever.
New House-Made Carbon Tub
McLaren road cars dating back to the iconic F1 have featured carbon-fiber tubs, and all have been designed in-house, but production was typically outsourced. Then, in November 2018, the company established the McLaren Composites Technology Centre (MCTC) near Sheffield in northern England so it could control the entire design, engineering, tooling, and production process. This allowed greater innovation while iterating the final design, which paid many small dividends. One example: A simple change in the way the resin is introduced helped shave nearly 4.5 pounds off the tub in the prototyping phase of development.
Naturally, McLaren promises the new tub is stronger, safer, and lighter than those of its predecessors. And if the curb weight measures close to McLaren’s 3,300-pound estimate, that’ll indeed compare favorably to gas-only competitors like the 3,390-pound Ferrari F8 Tributo and the lightest Huracán we’ve measured (3,419 pounds).
Up front, the design resembles that of the 720S, with upper control arms mounted to the monocoque and lowers to a subframe, but all parts are lighter and stiffer. In back, the toe-control link moves ahead of the axle to improve its moment arm and thereby boost toe stiffness. Splitting the lower control arm and moving its front pivot forward also improved geometry while reducing unsprung weight. Capitalizing on the shorter powertrain, the wheelbase shrinks by 1.2 inches relative to the 105.1-inch wheelbase most other McLarens from the MP4-12C to the 720S have employed.
Minimal Chassis Gimmickry
There is no hydraulic cross-linking or interconnection with aero aids. The adaptive dampers now incorporate proactive damping control with “Optimal Control Theory.” The electrically powered hydraulic steering assist carries over to preserve feel. Braking is via 15.4-inch front and 15.0-inch rear carbon-ceramic discs clamped by six-piston front, four-piston rear calipers cooled by Formula 1-inspired integrated cooling ducts, all of which is derived from the McLaren LT models.
One new gadget: The Artura comes with a choice of three Pirelli P Zero tires—base, Corsa, or Sottozero—all sized 235/35R19 front/295/35R20 rear. All tires also feature embedded Cyber Tire chips that report which type of tire is fitted, along with instantaneous pressure and temperature info, all of which inform the traction and stability control systems. Speaking of which, the Artura incorporates a Variable Drift Control function. After a session of drifting (or racing or lapping your car-condo’s track), you can relive your hooning heroics via an updated version of the McLaren Track Telemetry system (MTT).
Three Drive Modes
E-mode keeps the engine switched off as much as possible, and the driver can program the powertrain to prioritize filling the battery in advance of entering an electric-only city center. Comfort mode targets optimal driving range and efficiency, shutting the engine off whenever possible below 25 mph but phasing it in as needed. Sport and Track modes incrementally optimize low-end response, using electric power for torque-filling as turbos spool while maximizing battery state of charge whenever full power is not being called for, just as Formula E race cars do. And as with all the best electrified hypercars, the electric strategy is optimized for lengthy track sessions, not a single ultra-hot lap.
New Ethernet Electrical Architecture
McLaren contends the Artura will be the first production car to use a twisted pair ethernet data transmission network to connect the numerous electronic control units that oversee various body, chassis, and powertrain electronics. The system is credited with reducing copper wiring by 25 percent and overall system weight by 10 percent. Even better, it speeds data transmission rates, protects for future scalability, and can be updated over the air (safety system updates require a dealer visit). The new architecture also enables the adoption of modern-day must-haves such as adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, automatic high-beam headlights, road-sign recognition, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Those ADAS goodies are part of a technology option package, which allows purists to opt-out and save the 3 pounds or so that adaptive cruise hardware and wiring adds.
An Easier Supercar to Live With
Having sold nearly 25,000 cars, McLaren says it now knows what its customers want, which turns out not to be floor console buttons or center-stack buttons that don’t work unless you first push an “Active” button. Now there’s an instrument binnacle that moves with the steering wheel and incorporates toggle switches arrayed around the edges where they can be easily reached by a hand that never leaves the steering wheel. These switches will control the various powertrain, handling, and stability modes.
Driver information is presented on an all-digital screen, an 8.0-inch vertical touchscreen runs the infotainment content, and a “stealth mode” allows you to switch off all but essential info from these screens. A new Bluetooth low-energy key fob allows the car to sense which key is approaching and match vehicle systems to that driver’s preferences, then automatically lock up when the key walks away. A new standard Clubsport seat adjusts through an elliptical arc to provide backrest angle and lower bolster height adjustment (a 10-way comfort seat is optional but it adds 20 pounds). And the dihedral doors open closer to the body and their mirrors fold in closer to the body for easier accessibility in tight parking garages.
No More Kit-Kar Kwality
McLaren swears on a stack of warranty manuals that extra attention has been paid to improving both materials quality and design-for-manufacture. This, we’re assured, will result in cars that both appear worthy of their lofty price tags when new and experience fewer things gone wrong throughout and beyond the warranty period. Speaking of which, it’s five years/75,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper coverage with roadside assistance provided for five years/unlimited miles; six years/75,000 miles for the battery; and 10 years/unlimited miles for the body.
How Much Is the 2022 McLaren Artura?
An expected starting price of $229,500 establishes the Artura as the entry model in McLaren’s “Super Series” that lives below the 720S and 765LT. As a refresher, for 2021 the former “Sport Series” (570, 600, and 620 models) is discontinued, leaving the GT as the entry McLaren, with the “Ultimate Series” (Elva, Senna, Speedtail) at the top of the range. Riffs on the Artura are sure to follow—spiders, long-tails, GTR racing versions, and more are all possible. The order bank opens on February 17, with the first deliveries expected in June of 2021.
Broadening the Supercar Envelope
To sum up, McLaren has designed the Artura with a goal of expanding the supercar envelope by simultaneously improving attributes that are traditionally at odds: performance and efficiency, stability and agility, engagement and refinement. We’re eager to assess whether the wizards of Woking have indeed managed to successfully stretch its supercar envelope without tearing it anywhere.
|2022 McLaren Artura|
|LAYOUT||Mid-engine, RWD, 2-pass, 2-door coupe|
|ENGINE||3.0L/577-hp/431-lb-ft twin-turbo turbo-DOHC 24-valve V-6, plus 94-hp/166-lb-ft electric motor; 671 hp/531 lb-ft combined|
|TRANSMISSION||8-speed twin-clutch auto|
|CURB WEIGHT||3,300 lb (mfr)|
|L x W x H||178.7 x 77.8 x 47.0 in|
|0-62 MPH||3.0 sec (mfr. est)|
|EPA FUEL ECON||Not yet rated|
|ON SALE||June 2021|