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First Look: McLaren Unveils the New 700 HP Artura Spider

First Look: McLaren Unveils the New 700 HP Artura Spider

McLaren has officially revealed its Artura Spider, a model variant that the British marque’s new CEO, Michael Leiters, says delivers “more power, more dynamic performance, and even higher levels of connection . . . without any compromise in everyday driving.” All of that with a side order of fresh air and sunshine, of course. 

If Leiters—who joined McLaren after eight years as chief technical officer at Ferrari—sounds confident, we too have high hopes. The Artura coupe finished second in Robb Report’s 2024 Car of the Year contest, and was our editorial team’s top choice. Could the open version be even better?

A definitive answer will have to wait until we drive the Spider this summer. In the meantime, a visit to McLaren’s futuristic factory in Woking, England, for a secret preview, revealed every detail of the car, and provided access to the senior engineers who led its development.

The new 700 hp McLaren Artura Spider.

Patrick Gosling / Beadyeye, courtesy of McLaren Automotive Limited

So, what’s new? Most obviously, the folding hardtop roof, which disappears beneath the rear deck in 11 seconds, even when the car is traveling at speeds up to 31 mph. The roof panel itself is made of carbon-fiber composite and is optionally available with electrochromic glass, which can darken or brighten at the touch of a button. 

Also helping to ruffle your follicles is McLaren’s plug-in hybrid power train, consisting of a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 and an axial flux electric motor. Recalibration of the engine software means it now develops an extra 20 hp compared to the coupe, for a total of 700 hp at 7,500rpm. The eight-speed automatic transmission has also been updated, with a new “pre-fill” feature that pressurizes the hydraulic fluid to quicken shift speeds by 25 percent. Maximum torque remains the same, at 531 ft lbs, with the e-motor contributing 166 ft lbs from zero rpm. 

True to form, McLaren has also focused on saving weight. The Artura’s ultra-rigid carbon-fiber tub ensures the Spider version needs no additional chassis bracing, and its folding roof mechanism adds only 137 pounds. The car’s lightest dry weight is 3,212 pounds, while its curb weight (measured with all fluids and the fuel tank 90 percent full) is 3,439 pounds. “Either way, we have the lightest convertible supercar in its class,” claims chief engineer Andy Beale. 

The 700 hp McLaren Artura Spider.

The Artura Spider requires no additional chassis bracing, and its folding roof mechanism adds only 137 pounds.

Patrick Gosling / Beadyeye, courtesy of McLaren Automotive Limited

Against the clock, the Artura Spider is level-pegging with the coupe, covering zero to 60 mph in 3.0 seconds and a standing quarter-mile in 10.8 seconds. Top speed is 205 mph. More prosaically, the new model now offers more emissions-free electric range with the power train in E-mode: now up to 21 miles.

Program manager Michael Norrington walks us around the first pre-production vehicle, which is finished in dazzling Papaya Spark—a pearlescent version of McLaren’s trademark orange hue—with new “Stealth” black badges. From the front, and in profile with the roof up, the Artura Spider looks almost identical to the coupe, but its hind quarters are redesigned to work around the retracting roof.

The 700 hp McLaren Artura Spider.

The convertible covers zero to 60 mph in 3.0 seconds, a standing quarter-mile in 10.8 seconds, and has a top speed of 205 mph.

Patrick Gosling / Beadyeye, courtesy of McLaren Automotive Limited

Norrington lifts the dihedral door, holds down a switch, and the two-piece roof, activated by no less than eight electric motors, folds quietly atop the engine. The coupe’s vertical “hot vee chimney,” used to evacuate heat from the 120-degree V-6, has shifted rearwards by around eight inches, and now has cooling vents on either side. Look closer and you’ll spot subtle gurneys on the windshield frame, which direct air over the occupants’ heads, and the new rear buttresses, made from motorsport-style clear polycarbonate. “Those were a real engineering challenge,” Norrington admits, “but they have two functions: improving visibility and channeling cold air into the engine compartment.” 

Lowering the roof—or even just the car’s electric rear window—inevitably raises the volume, so McLaren has tuned the exhaust for a “cleaner” tone and a greater crescendo when you near the 8,500 rpm redline. The optional sports exhaust includes a sound symposer for even more aural drama. “It really makes you want to push the car on and enjoy it,” adds Norrington. 

The 700 hp McLaren Artura Spider.

The roof panel itself is made of carbon-fiber composite and is optionally available with electrochromic glass, which can darken or brighten at the touch of a button. 

Patrick Gosling / Beadyeye, courtesy of McLaren Automotive Limited

Enjoy the Artura Spider to its fullest and Beale promises the driving experience won’t disappoint. “We’ve increased the bandwidth of the car, with a more supple ride and better body control,” he explains. McLaren also claims that revised shock-absorber valving has improved response rates by up to 90 percent, while new engine mounts reduce movement under load and enhance feedback and agility. As before, there are three handling modes: Comfort, Sport, and Track, along with a choice of Pirelli P Zero or track-ready P Zero Corsa tires.

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McLaren hasn’t forgotten to inject a sense of fun, either. A new “Spinning Wheel Pull-Away” function allows you to screech off from a standstill in swirling clouds of wheelspin and shredded rubber. Ron Dennis wouldn’t approve, nor will your neighbors, but you can’t please everybody . . .

The 700 hp McLaren Artura Spider.

The folding hardtop roof disappears beneath the rear deck in 11 seconds, even when the car is traveling at speeds up to 31 mph.

Patrick Gosling / Beadyeye, courtesy of McLaren Automotive Limited

The Artura Spider joins a refreshed McLaren range that also comprises the GTS, 750S, and Solus GT hypercar. Given the Artura coupe accounted for more than half of Woking’s production in 2023, and that the new convertible version is expected to make up 60 percent of the Artura mix, this could shortly become McLaren’s bestseller. Orders are open now, with first deliveries expected later in the summer. 

Most of the enhancements made for the Artura Spider will be carried over to the 2025 model year coupe, also available to order now. And for existing Artura owners, McLaren dealers worldwide will offer the 700 hp upgrade free of charge, so you needn’t feel left behind. Not that anyone behind the wheel of an Artura is likely to.

Click here for more photos of the McLaren Artura Spider.

The 700 hp McLaren Artura Spider.

The new 700 hp McLaren Artura Spider.

Patrick Gosling / Beadyeye, courtesy of McLaren Automotive Limited

Source: Robb Report

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