NO DISRESPECT to any sports car brand,” said Ron Dennis in 2008 as he revealed McLaren was about to get into the business of building road cars, “but few can list 20 World Championships, and wins at Le Mans.” Few? Dennis was being generous. There was really only one. “I’d love to aspire to be Ferrari,” he said in answer to the obvious question.
Fast-forward to 2021. Ron Dennis no longer has any involvement at McLaren, but the car he was announcing – then code-named P11 but launched as the MP4-12C – has since spawned a 14-model lineup. Bold, brave hypercars like the Speedtail and the brutalist Senna have earned the McLaren name plenty of street cred.
But those Ferrari aspirations? They’re still a work in progress.
Enter the McLaren Artura. The Artura debuts a new vehicle architecture and a new hybrid powertrain that are both designed to take McLaren into the next decade. “It’s a supercar for a new era,” says Jamie Corstorphine, McLaren’s director of product strategy. But the Artura’s core characteristics – lightweight and quick responses – are very much anchored in McLaren’s history. In many ways the Artura is evolutionary, not revolutionary.
It’s perhaps no surprise, then, that the Artura looks… exactly what you’d expect a new McLaren to look like. But closer inspection reveals a carefully nuanced evolution of McLaren design themes rather than a cut-and-paste of familiar graphics, and careful attention to aerodynamic detail. For example, the vent near the front wheel directs turbulent air from the wheel well downwards so it doesn’t disturb the airflow into the engine intake vent at the rear; what looks like a simple styling line on the door actually channels air from the front of the car along the sills and into the rear cooling radiators.
In the metal the Artura looks tighter, more sophisticated, more composed than any previous McLaren, with crisper detailing and snugger panel gaps. The doors, rear clamshell, roof and A-pillar are all super formed aluminium pieces, the bonnet is a conventional aluminium stamping, and the front and rear quarter panels are made from composites. The Artura is 10mm longer overall than a 570S but a 30mm shorter wheelbase delivers a subtly different proportion.
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