Hello sunshine: We tested McLaren’s Artura Spider convertible hybrid

Enlarge / The introduction of the 2025 model year brings a retractable hardtop option for the McLaren Artura, plus a host of other improvements.

McLaren

MONACO—The idea of ​​a “basic” supercar may seem like a contradiction in terms, but every car company’s lineup has to start somewhere, and in McLaren’s case, that’s the Artura. When Ars first tested this mid-engine plug-in hybrid in 2022, it was only available as a coupe. But for those who prefer things. outdoorHowever, the British automaker has now given you that option with the addition of the Artura Spider.

The Artura represented a step forward for McLaren. There’s a new carbon fiber chassis, an advanced electronic architecture (with a handful of domain controllers that replace the dozens of individual ECUs you can find in some of its other models), and a high-capacity hybrid powertrain that combines an engine twin cylinder. V6 turbo gasoline engine with axial flow electric motor.

More power, faster shifts

For the 2025 model year and the launch of the $273,800 Spider version, McLaren’s engineering team gave it a facelift, despite being only a couple of years old. Total power has increased by 19 hp (14 kW) thanks to new engine maps for the V6, which now has a slightly larger boost from 4,000 rpm to the 8,500 rpm redline. Our test car was equipped with the new sports exhaust, which is not unpleasantly loud. It makes some interesting noises when you lift off the throttle in the middle of the rev range, but like most turbo engines, it’s not particularly mellifluous.

Combined with the 94 hp (70 kW) electric motor, that gives the Artura Spider a healthy 680 hp (507 kW), which helps offset the extra 134 pounds (62 kg) due to the car’s retractable hardtop. There are stiffer engine mounts and new acceleration maps, and the dual-clutch transmission shifts 25 percent faster than what we saw in the car that was launched two years ago. (These updates also carry over to the Artura coupe, and the good news for existing owners is that the engine remapping can also be applied to their cars with a visit to a McLaren dealership.)

Despite the hybrid system, which uses a 7.4 kWh traction battery, and roof mechanism, the Artura Spider is still a remarkably light car by 2024 standards, with a curb weight of 3,439 lbs (1,559 kg ), making it lighter than any comparable car. in the market.

In fact, choosing a comparable car is a bit complicated. Ferrari will sell you an open-top hybrid in the shape of the 296 GTS, but you’ll need another $100,000 or more to get behind the wheel of one of those, which is actually more of a competitor to the (non-hybrid) 750S. , McLaren’s intermediate model. Any other mid-engine convertible will be powered solely by dinosaur juice.

What modes do you want today?

It's easy to drive around town and a lot of fun to drive on a winding road.
Enlarge / It’s easy to drive around town and a lot of fun to drive on a winding road.

McLaren

You can drive it using just the electric motor for up to 11 miles if you keep the powertrain in E mode and start with a fully charged battery. In fact, when you start the car, it starts in this mode by default. Outside of E mode, the Artura will use leftover power from the engine to recharge the battery while driving, and it’s very easy to set a target state of charge if you want to save some battery power for later, for example. Connected to a Level 2 charger, it should take about 2.5 hours to reach 80 percent.

The car is light enough that 94 hp is more than adequate for the 20 mph or 30 km/h zones you’re sure to encounter whether you’re driving this supercar through a rural town or passing car spotters with cameras in the city. . Electric mode is serious and the car won’t start the engine until you switch to Comfort (or Sport or Track) with the control on the right side of the main instrument display.

On the left side is another control to change the chassis settings between Comfort, Sport and Track. For road riding, the comfort never felt wrong to me, and I would actually leave the track for the real track. The same goes for the Track powertrain setup; For the open road, Sport sounds the best, and Comfort is well-considered for everyday use and will kill the V6 when it’s not needed. Instead, Sport and Track use the electric motor, mounted inside the eight-speed transmission case, to increase torque when needed, similar to an F1 or LMDh race car.

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