No reverse gear? How the hell does that work?

LISTEN 05:02

With cutting edge technology inside its all-new twin-turbo V6 engine, an electrical plug AND a warranty - surprised face - this is the brand-new McLaren Artura, a plug-in hybrid supercar that finally has a name you’ll remember. Probably. Oh, and it also doesn’t have a reverse gear.

The Artura will replace the 570 Sport Series McLarens and it has a lot of cool stuff underneath its rather familiar bodywork. It’s undeniably a McLaren, but then again, so is every other Porsche, and everyone seems to love those, so why change something that’s instantly recognizable, right? But even though it looks like every other McLaren, it’s completely new - inside and out.

Before I go too far off topic, let me get to the point: the engine, motor, and transmission.

Gone is the old V8, and in its place stands a brand-new, three-liter, 120-degree V-6 that houses twin turbochargers inside the hot vee configuration and develops 585 horsepower and 585 Newton meters of torque on its own. Power is sent to the rear wheels via an all-new, eight-speed transmission that encompasses McLaren’s first ever electronic differential AND an axial flux electric motor that makes 95 horsepower and 225 Newton meters.

McLaren Artura - The Plug-In Hybrid Supercar Without a Reverse Gear! Exterior Wallpaper quality High Resolution
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All in all, the new Artura has a total power output of 680 horsepower and 720 Newton meters or 530 pounds feet of torque. 0-100 km/h takes three seconds, zero to 200 km/h is done in a brisk 8.3 seconds, and 0-300 km/h will take 21.5 seconds.

McLaren Artura performance specs
0-97km/h (0-60mph) 3.0 seconds*
0-100km/h (0-62mph) 3.0 seconds*
0-200km/h (0-124mph) 8.3 seconds*
0-300km/h (0-186mph) 21.5 seconds*
0-400m / ¼ mile 10.7 seconds*
Maximum speed 330km/h (205 mph) – electronically limited
200-0km/h (124mph-0) braking, metres (ft) 126*
100-0km/h (62mph-0) braking, metres (ft) 31*

And now to explain that lack of reverse gear that you saw in the title. Because this is a plug-in hybrid that has heavy batteries, everything else had to be lightened as much as possible, including the transmission, which is 40 millimeters shorter than McLaren’s older transmissions and lacks a reverse gear. But because the Artura also has an electric motor, Reverse is handled via emissions-free power.

McLaren Artura - The Plug-In Hybrid Supercar Without a Reverse Gear! Exterior Wallpaper quality High Resolution
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And talking about electricity, that fancy axial flux E-motor is powered by a five-module lithium-ion battery pack that has a usable energy capacity of 7.4 kilowatts and can offer a pure EV range of up to 30 kilometers.

Charging to 80 percent takes two and a half hours with a standard EVSE cable, and the batteries can also be charged while driving, from the combustion engine, but the car does NOT have regen braking, because that would spoil the braking feel. So it’s not necessarily the most fuel efficient car out there, but it is the most fuel efficient McLaren ever made, with a WLTP fuel economy of over 50 mpg, with the batteries fully charged.

McLaren Artura - The Plug-In Hybrid Supercar Without a Reverse Gear! Interior High Resolution
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And another cool fact for everyone who thinks they’ll have to push their new McLaren to back it up if the batteries run out of juice - rest assured, because the batteries will always have some power left in them for this purpose alone. It also has a power reserve for start-up. See, they thought of everything.

Earlier I was talking about lightness and how it’s a key point of the Artura. Using a lot of carbon fiber and aluminum, the new plug-in hybrid McLaren weighs just 1.5 tons, which is just crazy.

By comparison, it’s just 63 kilograms heavier than the recently revealed Porsche 911 GT3, which is not a hybrid and has 170 horsepower less. So, I guess the future doesn’t have to be boring - but then again, McLaren already proved this years ago with the mind-bending P1.

The suspension has proactive damping control and a rear multi-link setup, while the steering is still hydraulically assisted, which should offer an impeccable feel behind the wheel.

McLaren Artura - The Plug-In Hybrid Supercar Without a Reverse Gear! Interior High Resolution
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Speaking about the interior, the Artura adopts a new arrangement of the controls, with the digital instrument cluster mounted on the steering column. This means that when you adjust the steering, the instrument cluster moves with it. The steering wheel itself has no controls on it, but there are two rocker switches just inches away from it, for controlling the powertrain and handling modes.

There’s also a center-mounted, 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system that’s based on Android and features support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Other nice features that the Artura gets are road-sign recognition, adaptive cruise control, auto high beam full adaptive LED headlights, lane departure warning, and 360-degree park assist.

McLaren Artura - The Plug-In Hybrid Supercar Without a Reverse Gear! Exterior Wallpaper quality High Resolution
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It also comes with a five-year warranty for the whole of the vehicle, six-year warranty for the battery, and 10-year warranty for the body. This sounds like something normal, but you have to remember that McLaren has made series production cars on its own for just ten years, and its reliability track record has been less than ideal, with all sorts of problems reported by owners.

In other words, this should be a great thing for future McLaren owners.

Pricing starts at $260,000, and you can already order one.

Iulian Dnistran
Loves cars since he was a toddler. Learned how to drive when he was 6. Born and raised in a small Romanian mountain town, he had a radio show with two buddies when he was 14, and continued his love affair with radio until the end of high school. Got a Master's degree in journalism in 2013 and started to write about cars the same year, when he got a job at the largest motoring website in Romania. Since 2016, he's a videographer and photographer and sometimes he still gets the chance to drive cool cars and write about them.  Read full bio
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