Test: McLaren Artura Spider – Very good, but no goosebumps

The McLaren Artura Spider looks a bit like a superhero. Spider Man.

With its bright paint color, the McLaren Artura Spider looks a bit like a superhero. And then Spider-Man is of course the most obvious. Not only because of the name, but also because the Artura Spider, like Spider-Man, is a bit of a nerd.

The roof is off, but are there any other changes?

It’s raining numbers and percentages during the presentation of the new Artura Spider. McLaren is using the introduction of the open variant to update the technology of the Artura, so all the news from the Spider also applies to the coupe. The plug-in hybrid powertrain gains 20 hp, the gearbox now shifts 25 percent faster, the new roof system adds only 62 kilos to the weight of the Artura, and thanks to updates to the data cable, the adaptive damping can be as much as 90 in some cases. percent faster response and adjustments to the exhaust system create 20 percent more volume in the interior. They don’t say it, but you get the impression that there is a spreadsheet somewhere in a drawer in Woking that calculates exactly how much more driving pleasure this all produces.

Test: McLaren Artura Spider – Very good, but no goosebumps

And what is the Spider like?

It should be clear: the Artura is also a very rational supercar as an open Spider. And a damn good one in every measurable way. Opening the roof takes 11 seconds and can be done at speeds of up to 50 km/h. Once you are open, it is easy to handle at any speed permitted in the Netherlands. You feel the wind blowing over the top of your hair, but there is no annoying turbulence. Even at slightly more than a Dutch pace, you can have a normal conversation with the side windows up. In addition, the Artura Spider is super stiff thanks to its carbon fiber shell. McLaren prides itself on the fact that no additional reinforcements need to be added and the supercar feels exceptionally sturdy on the not-so-flat roads. Nothing vibrates, the interior mirror does not vibrate: neat.

And how does that drive?

Another advantage of the carbon base is that it weighs little. Ready to drive, the Artura Spider weighs 1,560 kilos, which is very little for a plug-in hybrid supercar convertible. Despite the absence of the hydraulically linked shock absorbers of the 750S, the Artura Spider drives fairly relaxed. Of course the suspension and damping are firm, but even on the sometimes cratered road surface in the south of France we rarely have the feeling that it is too hard. Even the Sport mode turns out to be quite usable and only in Track does it really stop being fun. Not that you need that mode, because even in the most timid mode, the chassis of the Artura Spider can do more than any sensible person would ever try on public roads. Especially when there is some temperature in the wide Pirellis, the Artura strangles the asphalt a bit. It is striking that the steering still works old-fashioned hydraulically and although the steering wheel seems to stick a bit at the first touch, the thin wheel provides a lot of feedback. The brake pedal also only operates the disc brakes, so you don’t first pedal through a dead end in which the electric motor regenerates. This makes the Spider fun to drive, even on the 50 percent of the time that you can use on public roads. Moreover, the brakes should be able to withstand track use for longer thanks to new cooling ducts. You still have to pedal quite hard to make them work, after which the car also comes to a standstill very quickly. For the hooligans there is now even a Spinning Wheel Pull-Away mode. Actually a burnout position, but with a nice name. Turn off the ESP completely, step on the gas in one go and the transmission will close the clutch in one go, after which smoke and spectacle will follow automatically. While driving away, the car keeps an eye on whether you are turning right into the ditch and cuts off the power if necessary. You can play, but not too wildly.

McLaren Artura Spider

What about the plug-in technology in the Artura Spider?

With the plug-in hybrid powertrain, the changes compared to the Artura coupe are limited to new software for the V6. As a result, it now produces 605 hp, which, in combination with the 95 hp electric motor, now results in a system power of 700 hp. Nice detail: owners of an ‘old’ Artura can also have the software installed. Will that extra 20 hp do it for him? No, in practice you don’t notice it at all, especially because you are doing completely different things when fully accelerating. The Spider is blisteringly fast and with the roof open you are treated to a whole battery of sounds. The V6 rasps, the electric motor whines, it’s entertaining in any case, but really goosebumps? No, not that. The six-cylinder just doesn’t sound nice enough for that; it all remains a bit flat. While some high-revving engines really start to sing in the last (few) thousand revolutions, the Artura continues to hammer home. However, it does deliver and because the electric motor can make the first move when pressing the accelerator pedal, the car hangs bizarrely well on the gas. There is also real life at the top, although you will rarely get there on public roads, because it goes very fast. There is also something to be said about quietly rolling electrically through a village in your bright orange supercar.

McLaren Artura Spider

Is there anything to complain about the McLaren Artura?

All in all, the Artura Spider is a very impressive supercar, but it is certainly not perfect. The footwell remains somewhat limited due to the carbon bucket, the view of the digital instruments is partly covered by the steering wheel and the small infotainment screen is very simple for a car that costs three thousand euros. The McLaren always feels like a very perfect car, which prefers to do everything correctly. But hey, a superhero has to hold himself to a high standard.

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