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McLaren Artura Spider revealed – open top hybrid supercar debuts

Deliveries of the Artura have barely began but that hasn't stopped McLaren giving the coupe a facelift and launching the Spider

This is the new McLaren Artura Spider, and it is at once exactly what you’d expect, and a car with a few surprises. The model itself doesn’t come as a shock: an open-top, Spider version of the Artura was always planned from the get-go, just as it has been for all modern-era McLaren’s previous core models. 

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More of a surprise is the level of change beneath its skin. This is a more comprehensive evolution than simply an Artura with a folding hard-top: McLaren has also taken the opportunity to work on the engine’s power and the delivery of that power; the exhaust system and its sound within and outside of the car; the transmission’s shift times; the hybrid system’s electric-only range; the suspension’s damping control; the engine mounts; the cooling performance; the car’s turn-in response and handling characteristics… the list goes on. Perhaps the biggest news of all is that McLaren will be mapping all of those changes onto the regular Artura coupe, too, less than two years after its (infamously protracted) launch. 

Company insiders say the step from the original Artura to the new ‘MY25’ – Model Year 2025 – version (both Spider and coupe) is similar to that from the 720S to the excellent new 750S. And like that car, while there’s little that’s visually different on the outside, a lot of work has gone into what’s inside. 

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And if you’re an existing Artura coupe customer who might feel a tad miffed at the upgrades applied to MY25 cars? The increased power output (to a total of 690bhp from the twin-turbo V6 and electric motor, up from 671bhp previously) can be applied to the original cars free of charge in markets where that’s permitted, including the UK (though the other engineering changes can’t be). 

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Both the Artura Spider and the MY25 Artura coupe are available to order now.

More power, delivered differently – and a new exhaust system

Aside from the increased power output, McLaren’s engineers have worked on the way that it’s delivered. It comes from the mid point in the rev range, right the way up to the 8500rpm redline, creating what director of product planning Jamie Corstophine describes to evo as a ‘crescendo effect.’ Peak torque output is unchanged, at 531lb ft, across the same impressively broad 2250-7000rpm spread as before.

Likewise, McLaren has retuned the exhaust system to create a more evocative note than the original Artura, which can sound a little gruff at times. Re-shaped tailpipes manage the shape of the plume of soundwaves exiting at the rear and, if customers spec the optional sports exhaust, there’s an on-board sound symposer system too. This isn’t a speaker system, though its module, located between the two seats, looks a little like one: its internal diaphragms transmit the soundwaves from the engine into the cabin of the car, becoming active in Sport and Track mode. It’s amplifying the sound of the engine itself, rather than emitting a synthesised note. 

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The extra power comes from the engine side of the hybrid system; there’s no change to the compact axial flux motor. 

Faster gearshifts, flamboyant burnout mode, increased EV range

There are no changes to the eight-speed dual-clutch transmission (technically a triple-clutch system, since there’s a third clutch to manage the connection between the engine and the electric motor). Nevertheless, the Artura Spider and updated coupe can shift gears as much as 25 per cent swifter than before. 

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To achieve this, McLaren has developed a ‘pre-fill’ system, which uses pressurised hydraulic fluid to take the open clutch as close as possible to the engaged clutch, to reduce shift time when it’s called upon. The team has also developed a new, just-for-fun ‘Spinning Wheel Pull-Away’ mode which can be accessed when the ESC is fully switched off. McLarens are already quite good at burnouts, as the 750S on the opening pages of evo Car of the Year 2023 in evo issue 317 ably demonstrated, but since the Artura is able to harness its electric motor immediately, without requiring turbo boost to build, it will be even more adept in this regard.

More practically, the Artura’s electric-only range has been increased, to 21 miles from 19 previously. There have been no changes to the battery; that’s been achieved purely through finessing the system’s software. 

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ADAS systems now include Lane Departure Warning and Road Sign Recognition.

Electric folding hard-top, light overall weight

We haven’t got to the roof yet: it’s a carbon-composite folding hardtop, powered by eight electric motors. It takes 11 seconds to fold itself open or closed, while the Artura is being driven at up to 31mph. It can also be activated from the keyfob.

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An electrochromic glass panel is an option, which is able to darken or lighten via a button, and block a claimed 99 per cent of sunlight from entering the cockpit to keep it sheltered when needed. The rear screen is heated, and can be raised or lowered to allow fresh air, and exhaust sound, into the cabin.

The buttresses – major styling elements of the Artura coupe – have been redesigned for the Spider, and incorporate glazed sections to enable the best possible all-round visibility. 

All together, the Artura Spider weighs 62kg more than the renewed Artura coupe – an increase down to the roof mechanism, as well as the considerable, and clever, new thermal management measures used to keep the hot-vee engine cool now that a roof mechanism has been placed on top of it. Since the Artura’s strength comes from its one-piece carbon tub, no strengthening measures have been required. 

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With a kerb weight of 1560kg (dry weight 1457kg in lightest spec), McLaren considers the Artura Spider to be the lightest car in its class; when pressed on what that class consists of, it references the Maserati MC20 Cielo and the Ferrari 296 GTS (the Ferrari is a more expansive, more powerful car, but McLaren realises some buyers may cross-shop). 

Faster-acting damping, enhanced brake cooling, new engine mounts

The adaptive damper system has reprogrammed Domain Control Units (DCUs), which McLaren says can respond up to 90 per cent quicker than before, aiding both ride comfort and handling agility. The valving within the dampers too has been revised, making their response more rapid. 

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As before, there are three modes for the suspension, Comfort, Sport and Track, activated by the rocker switches on top of the instrument binnacle.

Carbon ceramic brake discs are standard. There are no changes to the discs or pads, but McLaren has gone to town on the cooling ducts that go underneath the car, with a particular eye on track use. Aerodynamic studies showed that with steering lock applied, the wake from the wheel is affected by the ducts, so they’ve been reshaped to not only improve cooling but reduce overall drag, too.

The Artura Spider is claimed to be able to decelerate from 124mph to zero in 124 metres, helped also by recalibrated ABS.

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There are new engine mounts too, something which may not sound like a big deal on the face of it but in a car such as the Artura, where the engine is a stressed member coupled to the carbon monocoque, contributes a great deal to its driving characteristics.

The new mounts are said to limit the powertrain’s movement when the Artura is loaded up in fast cornering, improving stability, precision on the limit, and steering feel. McLaren adds that likewise the stiffer engine mounts make the driver sitting within the chassis more aware of the powertrain, making the whole experience more intense without being at the expense of comfort or refinement.

Complex cooling management 

The regular Artura famously has a ‘chimney’ section on the rear deck to extract the hot air from its twin-turbo, 120-degree V6, which situates the turbos in a ‘hot-vee’ configuration between the cylinder banks. Since the Spider now sits a folding roof on top of the engine, the heat management becomes even more crucial and McLaren’s engineers have embarked on some very complex thermal management solutions beneath the rear deck. 

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Four separate ducting systems work to keep the roof assembly and engine bay cool, no matter how hard the V6 is working, roof up or down. 

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McLaren has also reshaped the windscreen surround to reduce buffeting in the cabin. You can see where the hot-formed aluminium surface has grown subtle protuberances to tidy the flow. Beneath the aluminium the windscreen frame is carbonfibre, for lightness and rollover protection.

McLaren Artura Spider performance and price figures

The Spider’s performance figures are very similar to the coupe’s: 0-62mph in an identical 3.0 seconds, and 0-124mph just a tenth slower at 8.4 seconds. Zero to 186mph takes 21.6 seconds, and top speed is capped at 205mph, as per the coupe. 

Fuel consumption is rated at 58.9mpg combined under EU WLTP measurements, and CO2 emissions at 108g/km. 

Apple CarPlay is now standard, and a wireless phone charging module has been added to the centre console; you can stash your phone vertically in a slot while it charges. 

Prices in the UK start at £221,500. There are three optional interior trim packages, Performance, TechLux and Vision, which each cost an additional £5050 on top of the standard price. 

As before, there’s a five-year warranty (six for the battery and ten for the body).

The original-spec Artura is an impressive car with many fans (this writer included), and it tied with Ferrari’s more expensive, more powerful 296 in evo’s 2022 Car of the Year test. It was a car that arguably needed a bit of soak time to appreciate, however, some miles behind the wheel to fully appreciate. The Artura Spider – and its rejuvenated coupe stablemate – may be more captivating cars from the get-go.

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