Celebrating the start of deliveries of the McLaren Artura, a select number of invitees, including managing editor STANLEY SZECOWKA, were offered an opportunity to test drive the first series high-performance hybrid supercar on the roads of Bahrain. Here’s his verdict.
It was a 9am appointment I wasn’t going to miss, although the crazy university drivers did their lane-cutting best to curtail my special date with a beautiful blue version of motoring heaven.
I picked up the car from the Bahrain International Circuit and, after a video briefing, set out on a drive of a lifetime with a professional co-pilot who sat in the passenger seat to offer tips, advice … and probably to pray I didn’t get into a tangle with a teenage student throttling his souped-up Civic into the sunset.
We headed on the Sakhir and beyond highways towards the new Jumeirah Gulf of Bahrain Resort and Spa.
I have to mention slipping into the driver’s seat was not a problem, even for a man with a dodgy knee, and the ride in the Artura was as comfortable as sitting in your favourite armchair.
The design on the inside is as slick and subtle as the outline. Slipping through the modes from silent electric to comfort, to sport to vroom-vroom track is simplicity itself with the touch of a finger.
For the motorheads reading this, one important fact to take into account is that it features a wealth of weight-reduction measures, resulting in a class-leading lightest dry weight of 1,395kg, and a DIN kerb weight of 1,489kg.
At the heart of the Artura is an all-new lightweight 2,993cc twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engine, paired to a bespoke eight-speed transmission and a compact e-motor, which provides the supercar with instant torque and improved throttle response.
It dispels a few myths readily found on the internet too, such as untrue suggestions that hybrids lack power.
This package generates a combined power output of 680PS (671 bhp) and 720S Nm of torque, which translates to a class-leading power-to-weight ratio of 488PS per tonne, as well as truly breath-taking performance figures.
The Artura’s top speed is electronically limited to 330km/h with 0-100km/h reached in just 3.0 seconds and 0-200 km/h in 8.3 seconds.
Of course, I was fully compliant with the kingdom’s driving laws, but felt the power under the pedal.
I couldn’t help but reflect back to the day I was the first Bahrain-based journalist to visit the UK production centre where, McLaren’s then new, MP4-12C – dubbed the national sports car of Bahrain – was lovingly being put together.
Forget the numbers game, the new car has a vocabulary of its own – where art meets the future.
The future is green and even if money is not an issue, you can be cool and buy a fuel-efficient car with style and speed, and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time.
In all my decades of reviewing cars of all shapes and sizes, this was an incredible experience, made special by the silence of accelerating away in electric mode. Magical.