McLaren Artura Spider revealed


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McLaren’s first series-production plug-in hybrid supercar loses its roof, but none of its performance.

As is tradition, McLaren has taken a hacksaw to the roof of its latest production model, lopping off the lid to create the all-new Artura Spider. The maker claims performance is “almost indistinguishable” compared with the coupé, thanks in part to a 14kW power boost that will soon be made available free of charge to existing McLaren Artura customers.

With the roof up, the McLaren Artura Spider looks nearly identical to the coupe. The nose is unchanged, and only once you reach the top of the A-pillars do you start to notice any visual or aerodynamic tweaks. Here, a pair of gurneys have been incorporated into the top of the windscreen – designed to reduce buffeting when the roof is lowered.

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The Spider is based on the same core carbon-monocoque construction as the coupe, and McLaren says most of its additional weight (62kg) comes from the one-piece retractable hard-top. Made from carbon fiber, it’ll open or close in 11 seconds at speeds of up to 50km/h. McLaren product director Jamie Corstorphine told us there is “no loss of rigidity” with the top tucked beneath the carbon-fibre tonneau cover.

That roof can be optioned with electrochromic glass, which McLaren claims can block up to 99 per cent of sunlight at the flick of a switch. Customers can also raise or lower the rear window independently of the roof. With the hard-top stowed away, visibility is improved by a set of transparent glazed buttresses unique to the Spider – a feature that also incorporates the rollover structure, as well as aiding air flow towards the back of the car.

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There is further aerodynamic trickery around the engine bay, necessary due to the fact that the 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 is completely covered when the roof is tucked away. The cooling vents and ‘hot vee’ chimney are located further back on the Spider, for example, while there’s an additional pair of rear deck inlets unique to the drop-top. Even the shape of the roof is designed to channel flow towards the engine, and in turn, push unwanted hot air out the back.

That aforementioned performance boost comes courtesy of a recalibrated hybrid powertrain, though the extra power is provided solely by the V6 motor. Total combined output is 514kW, while peak torque stands at 720Nm, with its delivery apparently optimised by “minor changes to electronic mapping”. McLaren says the Artura Spider will accelerate from 0-100 km/h in three seconds flat and do 0-300 km/h in 21.6 seconds. The top speed is limited to 329 km/h.

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The damping has also been revised for 2024, with McLaren claiming increased response rates of up to 90 per cent. The eight-speed dual-clutch transmission has been tweaked too, with shift speeds up by as much as 25 per cent.

In addition, the maker is using this opportunity to introduce a new launch-control setting it dubs its ‘Spinning Wheel Pull-Away’ feature – in effect, a burnout function that disengages the electronic stability control to allow for “dramatic wheelspin when accelerating from a standstill”. As before, power is sent to the rear wheels via an electronic differential.

To ensure customers feel the full aural benefit of its new open-top supercar, McLaren has tweaked the exhaust setup with a new valve system, which Corstorphine says gives a “cleaner” sound to “envelop” the driver and passenger. An optional sports exhaust will also be offered for greater engagement; the system uses genuine sound waves from the exhaust system to send extra noise from the tailpipe into the cabin.

Of course, being a plug-in hybrid, the Artura Spider is capable of running without its combustion engine for short periods of time. Despite there being no change to usable capacity, increased efficiency means the 7.4kWh battery now allows for a slightly longer 34km EV range.

Other changes over early Artura models include a new set of engine mounts, which the company’s engineers say offer a tangible improvement in powertrain movement “especially when under load” – allegedly improving stability, steering feel and overall agility, delivering a “more precise, more involving drive”.

Inside, the Artura Spider largely mirrors its coupé counterpart, with its fully digital driver’s binnacle and small, portrait-oriented touchscreen, which continues to support Apple CarPlay but not Android Auto. The instrument cluster moves up and down to mirror the position of the steering wheel, which remains free of buttons or switches for a “clean” design. A pair of gearshift paddles sit behind the wheel, as in all McLaren models.

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McLaren says its Clubsport seat will be fitted as standard in most markets. It claims the design offers the support of a lightweight bucket seat, but with the motion expected of a moveable backrest. A “more traditional, but appropriately sporting” heated seat with electric memory adjustment will also be available.

New ‘Stealth’ badging will be standard on the Artura for the 2025 model year, though silver badges will be a no-cost option. Customers can specify a Bowers & Wilkins stereo specific to the Spider, featuring an additional rear centre speaker designed to optimise the “convertible-specific acoustic requirements”.

All cars get a new 15-spoke silver wheel as standard, while a gold ‘Orum’ finish is also available. A 10-spoke Super Lightweight wheel joins the options list and can be specified with optional titanium wheel bolts that McLaren claims save 400g of unsprung mass.

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