Review of the new McLaren Artura 2022

Verdict

It’s painful to report, but we’re not convinced the Artura is ready for sale yet. The car itself is great to drive most of the time. It’s fast and exciting and has a great new cabin, even if it can be a little emotionally clinical. But we ran into several reliability issues with our test car at the launch event – and we weren’t the only ones to do so.

Given that deliveries will start next month, this is not good news, neither for McLaren nor for its customers. The potential for greatness is clearly hiding in the recipe, but it needs more time to prove its potential. Until then, the Artura is a tough car to recommend when the competition at this level is so fierce.

The Artura matters to McLaren. A lot. Its new carbon fiber platform and twin-turbo V6 hybrid powertrain
form the basis of nearly every McLaren for the next decade, so it can’t really afford to get its footing wrong.
Hence why its initial launch was delayed from late last year to now, some eight months later,
thus allowing Ferrari to launch its own V6 hybrid – the 296 GTB – with such success in the meantime.

But that’s how vital the Artura is to McLaren’s future, so the fact that we’ve now driven it into near-production
form when it launched internationally and encountered numerous technical issues – some minor, some
not – seems hard to excuse. For all its speed, drama and dynamic ability, we’re not sure it’s ready just yet, not until there’s clear evidence that the technical issues it continues to suffer from have been resolved. That’s not a good thing to say about a new car, let alone one on which the future of a British carmaker so obviously depends.

Anyway, having said all this, there are no problems, they say, there are only solutions, and with that in
mind, how does the car itself like to drive? In many ways it’s excellent, in some ways it’s slightly disappointing,
but overall it’s really good. Even if it falls a meter or two less than a Ferrari 296 GTB, which
to be fair costs £100,000 more than Artura’s £189,200.

In isolation, there’s plenty to be impressed with the Artura. Its twin-turbo V6 engine develops a combination
671 hp and 720 Nm of torque once the 94 hp and 225 Nm of electric power are taken into account. This is
enough to shoot it to 62mph in a claimed 3.0 seconds and a top speed of 205mph, so it’s more than fast, it’s ballistic.

That’s partly because McLaren has managed to keep the curb weight down to just 1,498kg, which is deeply
impressive for a car that carries 130 kg of battery and an electric motor.

Simply put, the Artura effectively replaces the company’s most popular model, the 570S, occupying
the vast amount of real estate that exists both dynamically and financially between the GT and the 720S. As such, McLaren says it’s heralding ‘a new era’ for the company, so there’s also a big new design theme inside with much more intuitive instruments, new seats, a more clean for all
main controls and a much less complex (but better to use) central touchscreen.

All drive mode buttons are now at fingertip level on either side of the wheel, just above where the gear
the paddle shifters are seated, although unlike the paddle shifters themselves, these new knobs don’t move when you
spin the wheel.

Either way, it looks like a more serious, higher-quality car inside than any previous McLaren. It turns out
well with the equally significant increases in ride refinement and on-the-go noise. It is the same for
the new powertrain, which is probably quieter than expected (or perhaps desired) but still deeply
entertaining to listen to if you give it a few spins. And the boy likes to rev, the redline set at 8,500 rpm, at
how remarkably smooth and unconstrained the engine still feels and sounds.

In motion, the Artura feels extremely grown-up and capable, perhaps even a bit too grown-up for its own good. It’s refined to the point of feeling slightly emotionally left out to begin with, though again harder
you drive it, the better. And on a track, as long as you turn off all of its many new electronic aids and
summon the courage to start throwing it a little, the Artura comes to life under your back and
tip of the fingers. At that moment, the potential that is hidden in this car dynamically is released, and everything starts to
take on its full meaning.

The brakes, steering, shifting and handling also go to another level once you press to unlock them on a
track, although on the road there’s nothing wrong with the way the Artura stops, corners, shifts or corners. It feels like it’s on track most of the time, to be honest it’s so well composed.

Yet until you push it close to the edge, the contents of its dynamic envelope remain a closely guarded secret to
most of the time, which can be a little frustrating at first. It’s a bit like the “shy but interesting” supercar in that regard: deeply intriguing in isolation, but more difficult to conquer in a broader sense when the
the room is full of warmer, more outgoing but equally interesting alternatives.

Still, as good or awesome as it is to drive, that’s not the Artura’s main problem at the moment. Reliability, on
on the other hand, is – and until this is resolved, the quality of its dynamics does not matter. More
over to you McLaren.

Model: McLaren Arthur
Price: £189,200
Motor/battery: 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged PHEV V6
Power/torque: 671 hp/720 Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch automatic, rear-wheel drive
0-62mph: 3.0 seconds
Top speed: 205mph
Economy/CO2: 61.5mpg/104g/km
Lester: 1498kg
On sale: Now

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