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McLaren unveils new Artura Spider. Image by McLaren.

McLaren unveils new Artura Spider
Drop-top Artura gets 700hp plug-in hybrid system, plus detailed improvements.
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What's all this about?

McLaren has launched the convertible version of its V6 plug-in hybrid supercar, the Artura. This is the Artura Spider and it’s packing an engine and electric motor combo that can deliver 700hp, as well as some detailed improvements which will also be applied to the coupe version.

Hybrid? Must be heavy, then?

Actually, no. Impressively, the convertible Artura Spider weighs just 1,560kg, which is 62kg more than the coupe model. And that’s in spite of using a retracting hard-top, rather than a soft fabric roof, and the fact that the Spider gains fixed buttresses behind the open cockpit, which also house the roll-over protection structure.

There’s a heated rear windscreen which pops up to act as a wind deflector, or which you can lower when the roof is up if you want to hear a bit more engine noise. The rear buttresses also have glazed panels built into them so that rear visibility isn’t wiped out, and they channel air into the engine bay.

The roof, as with the rest of the Artura Spider, is made of carbon-fibre, but as an option you can have the roof panel made with an electrochromic glass screen, which can turn opaque — blocking up to 99 per cent of sunlight and 96 per cent of heat — at the touch of a button. The roof mechanism, which uses eight motors and which McLaren claims operates in near total silence, takes about 11 seconds to retract or erect the roof, and it can do so while the car is driving at speeds of up to 31mph. The shapes of the roof and the buttresses have been designed so that not only do they channel air to the engine, and help hot air escape, they also cut down on buffeting in the cockpit, something helped by tiny ‘gurney-flaps’ on the edge of the windscreen header rail.

As with all McLaren road cars, the chassis and body are largely made of carbon fibre, and that structure now features an integrated ethernet electrical architecture, which cuts down the amount of cabling needed by 25 per cent.

How much power are we looking at?

Lots. The turbocharged V6 petrol engine has seen its power output climb by some 20hp compared to the original launch specification, and that improvement will also be applied to the coupe model - even for cars that have already been sold - and that’s free of charge. The 120-degree V6 can rev to 8,500rpm and is some 50kg lighter than McLaren’s 4.0-litre turbo V8 engine. McLaren says that the exhaust system has also been tweaked to provide “a ‘cleaner’ sound that envelops the occupants.” And that’s before you specify it with the optional sports exhaust.

The electric part of the Artura’s powertrain is an extremely compact axial flux E-motor. Located within the transmission housing, it’s fed electricity from a 7.4kWh battery, which when fully charged gives the Artura a potential range of up to 33km on electric power alone. Overall, the Artura’s hybrid componentry – the 88kg battery pack and 15.4kg E-motor - adds just 130kg to overall weight.

With 700hp and 720Nm of torque, it certainly won’t hang around — 0-62mph is done in just 3.0secs, and the top speed is limited to 205mph.

There is a standard launch control system, or for those who’d like to be a little more dramatic, there’s now a ‘Spinning Wheel Pull-Away’ which allows for a smoky burn-out instead of maximising the 0-62mph time.

The Artura Spider introduces new engine mounts for the mighty V6, which limit the movement of the engine and, according to McLaren: “improves stability, steering feel and overall vehicle agility, delivering a more precise – and more involving – drive.”

As far as the suspension is concerned, there’s McLaren’s Proactive Damping Control system, which uses electronically controlled Monroe dampers, and these have been uprated, with new valves, for the Spider and the coupe. The computer that controls the suspension is also faster to respond now, and so McLaren claims that the suspension is 90 per cent faster in changing to suit the road surface.

You get three driving modes — Comfort, Sport, and Track — and two settings for the stability control: ESC DYN, which allows more freedom and also gives the option to activate Variable Drift Control; or fully-off for those feeling particularly brave.

The tyres, Pirelli P Zeros, also come with a Pirelli Cyber Tyre system that uses sensors in the tyres to constantly monitor temperature and pressure. There’s also Pirelli’s Noise Cancelling System (PNCS), which uses a sound absorbing device on the inside of the tyre wall to reduce vibration and noise. You can option the tyres up to P Zero Corsa for track days, or get a P Zero Winter tyre for colder climes.

What other changes have been made?

The Artura’s brakes have also been updated. They’re carbon-ceramic discs, of course, but they now get revised cooling ducts, and a new calibration setup for the anti-lock function. Quoted braking distances for the Spider and new coupe are 31m to standstill from 62mph and an improved 124m from 124mph.

The eight-speed paddle-shift transmission gets revised electronic control, which uses a pre-fill system to speed up gear changes by a whopping 25 per cent.

Meanwhile, the E-Mode electric driving mode — the Artura’s fourth driving setup — has been updated to stretch the electric range a little, while the engine’s warm-up procedure is now much quicker.

Inside, as ever, the steering wheel is kept free of buttons so that you can focus on driving. The digital instrument panel is fixed to the steering column, so that as you adjust the wheel it stays within the proper field of view. The binnacle for that screen also houses the buttons for the driving modes, so that you can change them with just an outstretched finger.

In most markets, the McLaren Clubsport seat will be fitted as standard, which uses an elliptical arc to combine the range of motion expected of a moveable backrest with the light weight and close support of a bucket seat, which is theoretically as good on track as it is on the road. The central infotainment screen uses MIS II software, which is claimed to be as responsive as a smartphone. It controls all of the car’s active driver aids, from variable drift control to lane departure warning, road sign recognition, adaptive cruise control and more.

As standard you get a five-speaker McLaren sound system, but that can be upgraded to an optional 12-speaker Bowers & Wilkins stereo.

In terms of style, the Artura Spider comes as standard with a new 15-spoke wheel, in silver finish with a gold finish as an option. There is also the option of silver badging or blacked-out ‘Stealth’ badges.

When can I have one?

Order books open this week, with expected delivery of the first cars due in the summer. Prices start from £221,500.

Neil Briscoe - 27 Feb 2024

2024 McLaren Artura Spider. Image by McLaren.2024 McLaren Artura Spider. Image by McLaren.2024 McLaren Artura Spider. Image by McLaren.2024 McLaren Artura Spider. Image by McLaren.2024 McLaren Artura Spider. Image by McLaren.

2024 McLaren Artura Spider. Image by McLaren.2024 McLaren Artura Spider. Image by McLaren.2024 McLaren Artura Spider. Image by McLaren.2024 McLaren Artura Spider. Image by McLaren.2024 McLaren Artura Spider. Image by McLaren.    - McLaren road tests
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