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2023 McLaren Artura's Lightweight Technology Explained

Weighs far less than other hybrid supercars

2023 McLaren Artura exterior
  • New McLaren Artura is the British supercar company’s first high-volume hybrid model.
  • Artura counters the heavy nature of hybrid drivetrains through a series of innovations.

Whenever you’re talking supercars there’s one immutable truth: Light makes right. Sure, high horsepower, a precisely tuned suspension, and kidney-squeezing brakes are all critical components on any supercar’s pedigree, but every one of those systems is negatively impacted by weight. Every additional pound a supercar lugs around makes it harder for the engine, suspension and brake systems to do their job.

Unfortunately, when you’re talking the future of automotive design, there’s an equally immutable truth: Electrification is coming. Ultimately this means battery-powered EVs will replace most internal combustion vehicles over the next 10-20 years, but in the near term it means the increasing use of hybrid technology to meet fuel efficiency and emissions standards, even for high-end supercars like the all-new 2023 McLaren Artura.

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2023 McLaren Artura profile

Here's where these two truths clash electrification is inherently heavy, making it the least desirable drivetrain solution for high-performance sports cars. Yes, we know, electric motors provide instant torque, and the Tesla Plaid is really quick. In a straight line. But its curb weight of nearly 5,000 pounds is why all the Instagram videos never show it turning. And even highly capable hybrid supercars from recent years, like the Acura NSX and Porsche 918, weigh between 3,600 and 3,900 pounds. By supercars standards, that’s on the tubby side.

But like every automaker, McLaren sees the electric future rushing at it, and even the brand’s most fleet-footed internal combustion cars can’t outrun it. So, the Artura represents McLaren’s future. It’s the brand’s first “series hybrid” — which is a fancy way of saying the first model meant to sell in high volume (by McLaren standards …). Previous McLaren hybrids, like the P1 and Speedtail, were extremely limited-production models priced between $1 million and $2.2 million. The Artura’s starting price is $237,500.

That price is in line with comparable supercars like the Lamborghini Huracan and Porsche 911 Turbo S, neither of which is electrified. The 911 weighs around 3,600 pounds, while the Huracan, in track-focused STO form, comes in around 3,350 pounds. McLaren lists the Artura’s curb weight at 3,303 pounds, making both its price and weight comparable to non-electrified supercars, but with the hybrid benefits of instant torque and up to 11 miles of pure electric range, along with a 3-second zero-to-60 time and 205 mph top speed. How’d they do that?

Innovation has always been a key factor in high-end supercars, and the list of innovative features on the new Artura reads like an aerospace design brief. Jeff Groce, McLaren’s lead engineer for the Artura, told us, “The only way to do a high-performance hybrid was to start from the ground up. Everything is new and everything is optimized. It starts with this lightweight carbon-fiber monocoque that’s at the center of our structure. It’s super stiff, it’s super strong, so it’s safe, but it’s also very light.”

2023 McLaren Artura carbon fiber tub detail

Jeff might be understating things a bit as the 181-pound tub is unbelievably light for a supercar’s primary structure. A new manufacturing process creates the entire tub in a single piece, making it both lighter and stiffer than a multi-piece tub. There are also numerous “bolt-on” components integrated into the tub, including the seat-belt shoulder anchor and the door hinge mounts. Fewer parts = less weight. The aluminum subframe for the engine is also notably smaller and lighter because it carries a smaller and lighter powertrain.

2023 McLaren Artura electric motor detail

For instance, the Artura’s electric motor is about the size of a disc brake rotor, and it weighs just 34 pounds. Yet it adds 94 horsepower and 166 lb-ft of torque to the 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6, for a grand total of 671 horsepower and 530 lb-ft of torque. The motor is powered by a 7.4-kWh battery that weighs just 194 pounds and is mounted under the fuel tank.

2023 McLaren Artura engine detail

The engine is also an exercise in compact, lightweight design. It uses a 120-degree V angle to make it 7.5 inches shorter and 8.7 inches narrower than McLaren’s own 4.0-liter V8. It also sits 2 inches lower in the chassis than the V8, lowering the Artura’s center of gravity, and the engine weighs a scant 353 pounds, or 110 pounds less than the 4.0-liter. Combine that with the new eight-speed dual-clutch automatic, which saves space and weight by using the electric motor for reverse, and you have the lightest, most compact drivetrain in McLaren’s history.

2023 McLaren Artura transmission detail

Additional weight savings show up in areas like the superformed aluminum exterior panels, which are the largest and most complex in McLaren’s history. The rear clamshell is a single body panel, despite its massive size and complex shape. One again, fewer pieces = less weight. Another 20 pounds was shaved with each of the Artura’s new, optional club sport seats (compared to the standard Comfort seats), which feature a very stiff structure but still allow adjustments for seat height and seatback angle, making the seat position effective for a wider range of driver heights.

All of this translates into one of the most responsive and nimble supercars you can buy today. From the immediate throttle response (thank you, electric motor toque) to the intuitive steering feedback (thank you, McLaren, for sticking with hydraulic-assisted power steering), the 2023 McLaren Artura manages to achieve all the benefits of electrification without any of the liabilities this drivetrain technology usually incurs.

Edmunds says

For automotive enthusiasts dreading an electrified future, the Artura’s spec sheet and driving dynamics suggest the future of high performance remains bright and light!