BETTER LATE THAN NEVER. MCLAREN’S ARTURA, the company’s first step into its second decade, was down to compete in ecoty 2021, but a cancelled launch in October of that year meant we had to wait until April 2022 before we could drive it and until the first day of this test before getting a second bite.
It impressed Jethro Bovingdon on its launch, delivering the Mclaren trademarks of peerless ergonomics, impeccable ride quality and near unbeatable steering, but it also still betrayed some other, less desirable Mclaren characteristics, such as malfunctioning systems and the small matter of catching fire. Steve Sutcliffe got away more lightly with his launch car, which suffered from failed air conditioning during a Spanish heatwave.
But as new CEO Michael Leiters explained to evo last month, the Artura wasn’t ready earlier this year, which is why he stopped production and deliveries until it was. The car Dickie Meaden has driven to our ecoty HQ is behaving impeccably, looks sensational covered in an early autumn morning dew on day one and feels up for the challenge that lies ahead.
Like the Ferrari 296 (opposite) it finds itself in a test within a test, but it also has more to prove individually than other cars here due to its protracted and much publicised launch failings. But when Mclaren gets it right, few can match its cars when it comes to mixing performance, engagement and a sense of being in a machine designed to do a specific task better than it has any right to. Betting against the Artura would be a risk even among such strong company as can be found at this year’s ecoty.
‘IT OFFERS SURREAL PERFORMANCE AND HAS AN UNCANNY ABILITY TO DEAL WITH ALL SURFACES’ – JETHRO BOVINGDON, EVO 300