In recognition of automotive excellence, Robb Report’s annual Car of the Year (COTY) aims to field entries that are benchmarks, whether it be a vehicle that represents the last of a legacy or is possibly starting a new one. The latter was certainly the case for the 671 hp McLaren Artura, developed to showcase advances intended to define the British automaker’s lineup going forward. The model’s impressive execution of that mission statement earned it a second-place finish at our 2024 contest.
McLaren’s first series-production hybrid also premieres the use of a six-cylinder engine in one of the Woking-based manufacturer’s road cars and introduces the McLaren Carbon Lightweight Architecture (MCLA) platform, which promises to be the foundation that new power-train technologies will be built upon when implemented by the marque.
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In the Artura, McLaren’s new method of propulsion comprises a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6—generating 577 hp and 431 ft lbs of torque—paired with an axial flux electric motor that contributes an additional 94 hp and 166 ft lbs of torque. That configuration, and the car’s 3,303-pound curb weight, allow the Artura to cover zero to 60 mph in 3.0 seconds and reach a top speed of 205 mph. The prodigious output is managed by McLaren’s new eight-speed SSG (Seamless Shift Gearbox) transmission. And when it comes scrubbing all that speed, carbon-ceramic brakes—with forged-aluminum calipers—bring the car from 124 mph to zero in 413 feet.
What’s more impressive than the Artura’s straight-line acumen, though, is the vehicle’s confidence-inspiring agility, owed in part to it having a wheelbase that measures only 104 inches, the shortest of any current McLaren production model. Also contributing to its handling prowess is another first for McLaren, an electronic differential to maximize traction at the back. This is all complemented by the brand’s improvements to its electro-hydraulic steering, suspension, and damping-control systems to further hone response from driver inputs to the chip-equipped Pirelli P-Zero smart tires. The net result was a car that connected the apexes at the Concours Club and Sonoma Raceway—our COTY testing circuits—with disarming aplomb. As for the plug-in hybrid’s drive modes, the usual Comfort, Sport, and Track are joined by an EV selection that enables 11 miles of silent operation on electric power only. And the 7.4 kWh battery can be recharged to 80 percent capacity in 2.5 hours.
The result is “a revelation on wheels . . . a precision-guided missile,” according to Car of the Year judge Jacob Januszewski, while Carl Anderson called it the “fastest and easiest car to drive” out of the contenders presented. Douglas Able commented that “it feels like the car is responding to your thoughts ahead of your actions.”
As for the Artura’s styling, the aesthetic defines McLaren’s singular design ethos inspired early on by marine mammals. This translates to a smoothly curved yet substantially sculpted body that manipulates the air for cooling and downforce, elegantly avoiding the need for more pronounced and track-focused aero features, such as an oversized rear wing.
Although this is purposed as a versatile street performer, don’t expect an overly pampering cockpit behind the scissor doors. The Artura’s interior still presents the spartan approach inherent to the automaker’s DNA, which traces back to motorsport and namesake racer Bruce McLaren. That’s not to say that improvements haven’t been made when it comes to comfort. The Alcantara-dressed capsule has more ergonomic considerations than those of Artura’s predecessors. For example, the instrument display is now fixed to the steering column so that your line of sight is not compromised when the wheel is raised or lowered, and seat adjustments no longer require anger-management sessions after just trying to locate them.
“The minimalist interior focuses the driver solely on the experience they came for,” stated judge Gerritt Huizenga, while the overall size had Mike Tutcher declare that it was still “completely not practical for someone 6 foot three.” But with greater space than its sibling 720S, which placed second at COTY in 2018, and more spirited drive dynamics than the McLaren GT, a contender at the 2021 edition of COTY, the Artura truly is “an everyday supercar,” as judge Mark Newman called it.
While the industry distances itself from sole reliance on internal combustion engines, the McLaren Artura dispels the notion that complete electrification is the only magic bullet, impressively demonstrating the promise that hybridization holds. That alone was a compelling reason for Robb Report’s editorial team to name it their 2024 Car of the Year.
Click here for more photos of the McLaren Artura.
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