Should we be worried about the McLaren Artura?

by | Feb 11, 2021 | Articles

I like McLaren. I like the brand’s history. I like the brand’s stated ethos. I’ve driven a couple of modern McLarens, including a long road trip in a 570S across the better part of California, and enjoyed them. I do worry a little bit about McLaren.

Despite the brand’s rep and history, there are no guarantees in life and that’s especially true for boutique car manufacturers. They’ve long built cars around a shared carbon fiber tub with variations on the same V8 motor and, while that seemed smart and somewhat novel a few years ago, it’s starting to feel a bit like the FCA trick where they keep building permutations of the same Challenger/Charger and trying to convince us they’re special.

McLaren Artura test mule (Courtesy of McLaren)

I can tell a McLaren Elva from a Senna, but a McLaren 620R from a 720S? You’re going to have to give me a minute. I can do it. I just need a minute.

All of this is to say that the financial strength of McLaren was something people questioned before the pandemic and before they put their famous and iconic HQ up for sale. We’re about a week away from the reveal of the new Artura and it is, in many ways, the first completely new McLaren since the MP4-12C and McLaren P1.

McLaren has thus far told us that the new vehicle will sit on top of their new McLaren Carbon Lightweight Architecture and feature a new high-performance twin-turbo V6 engine. This architecture and variations of this motor are intended to appear in future supercars and this model should replace the 570S.

Should I worry? McLaren’s hybrids have thus far been stellar examples of what can be achieved by pairing a traditional ICE setup with batteries and a motor. The company has also historically been on the bleeding edge of implementing lightweight composites.

Unfortunately, the failure of the reborn Acura NSX is a reminder that you can’t lean on a brand to make something work. McLaren’s stature seems like it’s faded relative to other exclusive brands. I would like to see the Artura succeed and the key, I think, is that it has to feel as new as it is. Fingers crossed.