Way back in 2012, McLaren created the world’s first hybrid supercar – the P1 – a road car with significant links to the Formula 1 engines of that era. Fast forward to 2023 and it’s the Artura’s turn to showcase the marriage between internal combustion and electrification.
But hybridisation, to the uninitiated, comes with questions, including why you might want to quieten down cars that are known for being loud, bold and outspoken, by reducing the size of the powerplant. The answer is performance gains, and decent ones at that.
The McLaren Artura pairs a twin turbo 3.0-litre V6 with an electric motor. On its own, the petrol engine is capable of 430kW of power and 585Nm of torque. Now bring in the EV component, and that grows to a thumping 500kW and 720Nm.
That’s good for a sprint to 100km/h in just 3.0 seconds and a quarter mile run in 10.3 seconds. It’s no slouch. McLaren also boasts the Artura is its most fuel efficient vehicle to date, with figures as low as 4.6-litres/100km.
As with most hybrids, it has an EV Only setup that’s good for 31km, which is on par with its rivals, but lower than more affordable offerings. Affectionately known in our team as “sneak mode”, it’s good for early morning starters who don’t want to wake the neighbours.
Alternatively, it could be the perfect solution for escaping where you’re not supposed to be without drawing too much attention (but we wouldn’t condone that). Either way, it’s a comfortable driving experience that’s oddly refreshing.
When testing supercars, we’re used to a whip cracking exhaust that delivers a snap, crackle and pop every time you breath on the throttle. Having silence every time you took off from a set of lights was weird at first, but appreciated when trying tone down the drive.
To take full advantage of the hybrid component of the Artura, a home charger is a must have. In the same vein, the McLaren doesn’t have regenerative braking, instead using the engine as a generator to recharge the battery when on the stop pedal.
As a result, it’s pretty average when used in normal suburban conditions. Where it gets good, really quickly, is when you find yourself some twisty roads you can push the V6 to its limits on. In that sort of scenario, it charges the battery significantly faster.
On the road, the McLaren Artura offers a pleasant driving experience without being mind-blowing, and handles bumpy, twisty roads with ease. It effortlessly clicks its way through the 8-speed gearbox, delivering instant power with no turbo lag.
Its cool and groovy performance car goodness even extends to the optional Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres, which, thanks to cyber technology, can send data back to the vehicle’s onboard computer to help tune the stability control system.
Hands down the most daily driver focused McLaren ever built, it’s backed by a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty here in Australia, as well as 6-year or 75,000km (whichever comes first) battery coverage.
Impressively, there’s also 10-year factory coverage for corrosion protection, and the first three years of servicing are covered too (except for wear-and-tear items like tyres and brakes). The latter are carbon ceramic, so can prove costly.
Exterior styling is pure supercar, especially in the Volcano Yellow McLaren Special Operations paint scheme of our test vehicle. Yet, it’s also not overstated, garish or outlandish – just enough to look like a McLaren.
Plastic bumpers and trims cheapen the feel a little, but do help keep the kerb weight to a decent 1498kg. Inside, it’s all business, with our test vehicle wearing the Nappa leather TechLux trim. Despite some bright colours, it has a minimalist feel.
The first thing you notice is the fact there isn’t an array of buttons that put an aeroplane to shame and in fact, the steering wheel has none at all, just the horn. It’s very driving purist, but some simple volume and phone buttons wouldn’t go astray.
Behind the wheel is a 10.0-inch digital instrument cluster, while an 8.0-inch touchscreen mounted in the centre console provides the only interaction with the radio, satellite navigation, and HVAC controls. A physical volume knob features, which is a bonus.
It supports wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (with wireless versions coming in a future software update). The infotainment software is an upgrade over previous systems, and while quick, was hard to get used to and a little clunky to navigate.
While Google Maps and Waze offer a better navigation experience, the internal version does show up in the instrument cluster to guide your trip. A 12-speaker Bowers & Wilkins sound system is standard but somehow felt a little underdone in terms of the aural experience.
On the plus side, while it’s not the easiest car to get in and out of thanks to its low roofline, it’s genuinely comfortable, even after hours of driving. The Club Sport racing seats impressed, even without lumbar adjustment.
That’s because they can be tilted and moved in multiple directions (as can the steering wheel and instrument cluster), ensuring you can find your favourite, most comfortable position for what we’d call a solid driving experience in the 2023 McLaren Artura.
Whether you’re in the city or on the highway it feels good to drive. That goes up a notch when you’re pushing it to its limits through tight twisting bends (legally of course), or on the track. Safety tech hasn’t been forgotten either.
Adaptive cruise control with road sign recognition, lane departure warning, high beam assist and 360-degree park assist all feature. A host of driving aids provide additional support and there are multiple driving modes.
All-in-all, it’s a great performance car, if not quite a supercar. Some simple tweaks, like some buttons on the steering wheel, would make it a show stopper and further enhance the overall enjoyment factor.
Priced from $449,500 plus on-roads, it’s available in an astonishing array of paints. There are five standard colours (Anthracite, Aurora Blue, McLaren Orange, Onyx Black and Silica White) for the 2-seater supercar, as well as three 60th Anniversary colours.
You can also opt for one of 12 Elite tones and 15 MSO custom offerings. Inside, there are 11 different interior trims spread across Standard, Performance, TechLux and Vision themes.
Three different wheels can be had, in multiple shades, as well as 10 different brake calliper colour combinations, and a Black and Carbon pack. Three different front fender louvre colours and a bevy of interior add-ons can also be chosen.
Our test vehicle was provided by McLaren Sydney on behalf of McLaren Automotive, for review purposes.