McLaren chooses clean chassis and engine for Artura supercar
Earlier this year, McLaren unveiled its Artura supercar. When it goes on sale later in 2021, it will become the brand’s new entry-level car, replacing “Sport Series” cars like the 570S and 600LT. And it’s really brand new. All previous McLarens (except F1) used different variations of the same V8 engine and versions of the same carbon fiber monohull tanks. But the Artura is powered by a plug-in hybrid V6 powertrain, and the carbon monocoque – which must pack the high-voltage battery – is just as cool. McLaren recently sat down with Ars above Zoom to give us a deep dive into Artura technology; read on to find out what we learned.
Until now, McLaren had outsourced the production of its carbon fiber “single-cell” chassis to an Austrian company called Carbo Tech. But in 2020 McLaren opened its own composites manufacturing center in Sheffield, England, and the Artura’s chassis, dubbed the McLaren Carbon Lightweight Architecture, will be manufactured in-house.
McLaren claims more than 500 pieces of carbon fiber are laser cut and assembled into 72 preforms; these constitute 11 sub-assemblies which come together to form the finished tank. It is not, however, a full carbon car. Like the current Sport Series McLarens, the Artura will use aluminum body panels. But it still manages to achieve a very respectable curb weight of 3,303 lbs (1,498 kg).
A hot vee
The new engine, named the M630, is a twin-turbocharged 3.0L V6 with an output of 577 hp (430 kW) and 431 lb-ft (584 Nm). One notable feature of the V6 is that it uses a 120-degree V-angle between the cylinder banks and a “hot-vee” configuration, where the turbochargers nestle between the two cylinder banks on top of the engine. This helps with the packaging, but it also means that the exhaust has shorter distances to travel and therefore the engine is more responsive.
It was designed from the ground up with hybridization in mind, forcing McLaren engineers to be a bit obsessive when it came to reducing both its length and mass to compensate for having to also. pack a lithium-ion battery. The V6 is approximately 8 inches (200 mm) shorter than McLaren’s V8. Part of this is because you have one less cylinder in each bank, obviously. But the cylinders also have a smaller bore (3.5in / 84mm) than the V8, and McLaren poured the cylinders directly into the block (rather than mounting wet liners), which reduced the space qu ‘it was necessary to leave between them.
Keeping the engine cool probably gave McLaren engineers a headache. In addition to the two exhausts at the rear, there is a sort of chimney directly above the engine, which allows the air which is pumped into the engine compartment (after leaving the high temperature radiators of the Artura ) to cool the turbochargers.
Press photos from supercar makers usually show the cars on a deserted but spectacular road or perhaps smoking a tire on a private racetrack. But many supercars spend a lot of their time in the city, prowling from parking spot to parking spot in glitzy neighborhoods for the benefit of a legion of young YouTubers.
But the writing is on the wall for idling internal combustion engines in places like Knightsbridge in London. That’s why, aware of this reality, McLaren made the Artura a hybrid.
It’s not the company’s first hybrid road car – that honor goes to the bonkers P1. Unlike the P1, the Artura is a plug-in hybrid and capable of running in pure electric mode, at least for short trips, but with only 94 hp (70 kW). The electric motor is an axial flow design and, as a sign of progress, generates 166 lb-ft (225 Nm) with a mass of 34 lb (15.4 kg); The P1’s engine was more torquier at 192 lb-ft (260 Nm) but weighed 84 lb (38 kg). The total power of the powertrain is 671 hp (500 kW) and 531 lb-ft (720 Nm).
The disc-shaped motor is located inside the clutch housing between the motor and transmission, directly on the input shaft. The car’s battery is located forward of the engine compartment, mounted under the car’s carbon fiber monocoque chassis. This keeps it well protected in the event of a crash, while placing it in the optimal location for the Artura’s weight distribution and center of gravity. The pack has a capacity of 7.4 kWh, and McLaren says it takes 2.5 hours to charge it to 80% using a 240V charger.
McLaren says that in Comfort mode, most of the Artura’s city trips will be electric, with the V6 running at around 60 km / h. Top speed on the electric motor alone is 81 mph (130 km / h), and McLaren is aiming for an electric-only range of around 30 km under the WLTP system.
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