The car’s dynamic high points, for this tester, are its relatively modest footprint, its superbly accurate and enticing steering, its super-flat, effortless body control, and its readiness to carry speed along a fairly narrow lane while so clearly telegraphing its size and grip level. The car feels light on its feet, agile and threadable, but ever intuitive to place.
Dynamically, it feels like an established supercar recipe refined and perfected, but not reinvented or revolutionised in any way, by electrification. At times, you can forget that the Artura is a hybrid entirely; it doesn’t feel heavy, muted or complicated to drive.
The e-diff adds some on-track, on-limit handling adjustability, but it doesn’t turn the Artura into some yaw-addled drift junkie. The car is much more interested in being driven quickly and engaging you as a driver at a simpler and more accessible level – and there’s nothing wrong with that.
So all that’s left to deliver is the ringing recommendation, surely? That’ll have to wait. For now, we’re duty bound to report that, having impressed on the road, our Artura test car encountered some thermal powertrain management issues that brought a concerning end to our first track test session, and were the cause of plenty of smoke, and track marshalls hurriedly emptying their fire extinguishers into the car’s engine bay. McLaren explained that the car’s cooling system had been mistakenly fitted with the wrong oil cooler – an honest mistake, perhaps. But one other car on the launch suffered from its own thermal incident unrelated to ours, and others had ultimately less serious but still concerning software problems.
The experience left this tester convinced that the Artura will be a superb addition for McLaren, capable of converting people into electrified supercar ownership with a really light touch, and with a reassuring purity and familiarity about it – once it is finished. Once McLaren has completed its technical troubleshooting, made every system in the car work fully in tune with every other, proven every last corner of that powertrain, and ironed out every last software hiccup.