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  1. McLaren Artura
June 21, 2022updated Aug 25, 2022

McLaren Artura: Aerodynamics and the Pursuit of Lightness

From our partners: When creating the Artura, McLaren took aerodynamics to the next level.

By Toby Louch

In the Artura, McLaren has mastered the art of aerodynamics and the pursuit of lightness. As one of the world’s preeminent supercar manufacturers, slicing a hole through the air is one of their specialties. The McLaren Artura continues this trend with the gusto you would expect from a company that has proved itself on both road and track.

When designing the next generation of supercar, McLaren was guided by the desire to follow a bold philosophy. The Artura represents the purest distillation of everything McLaren has done previously. It’s a delicate balance of ultra-light engineering, intoxicating power, race-honed agility and pioneering electrification.

The Artura is a new era for McLaren’s design language, with every choice made for a reason. It’s graceful, minimal, ultra-low, uncluttered and shaped by aerodynamics. Encased in carbon fiber and Superformed aluminum, the Artura is both McLaren’s internal and external vision for the future.

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Aerodynamics

Artura air intakes
The cavernous, unmissable air intakes force clean air into the high-temperature radiators / ©McLaren

Visually, the Artura is unapologetically McLaren. Shaped like a slick arrow, it looks thrilling from every angle. The car’s curves provoke a true visual pleasure, but every arc and deviation, from the subtle shrink-wrapped inflections on its bonnet to the deep air intakes on its side fulfill a purpose. The embodiment of form following function.

[See also: The Functional Elegance Behind the McLaren Artura]

“We were guided throughout by three key phrases – purity, technical sculpture and functional jewelry,” says chief designer, Goran Ozbolt. “The purity is not only purity of line, but also in the integration of components. Technical sculpture references the need to be stunning to look at, but there for a reason, like the forms you see in nature. Functional jewelry is best explained by the fact that we don’t decorate, we do what is needed and make it beautiful.”

McLaren Artura Driving
The vented louvres above the front wheels release pressure from the wheel arches/ ©McLaren

From the front, McLaren Artura’s aerodynamics are clear, its hammerhead lines split the air, sending it either down into the radiators or up and over the roof. The cavernous, unmissable air intakes which make the shape so unique, forces clean air into the high-temperature radiators which cool the powertrain.

The Artura is defined by small details like the vented louvres — found above the front wheels — that release pressure in the wheel arches while also guiding dirty air away from the air intakes. The sculpted rear spoiler and diffuser generate 110lbs of downforce, pressing the car into the road and creating agility at low speed and stability at high speed.

McLaren Artura Monocoque
The carbon fiber monocoque appears for the first time in Artura / ©McLaren

Lightness

The path from petrol only to hybrid petrol-electric was fraught with challenges, not least maintaining low weight which is hampered by the heavy batteries. McLaren Carbon Lightweight Architecture (MCLA) is one of the numerous technologies McLaren has developed to solve this issue.

The new McLaren Carbon Lightweight Architecture (MCLA) is quite literally at the core of the super-lightweight engineering philosophy that is inherent throughout the Artura,” says director of product strategy, Jamie Corstorphine. “We developed this all-new, High-Performance Hybrid supercar with all of our learnings from decades of working with advanced composite and other lightweight materials. Using world-first processes and techniques to deliver weight savings that offset heavier hybrid powertrains, ensuring greater energy efficiency and maintaining the outstanding agility and dynamic performance our customers expect.”

McLaren Artura Exaust
Carbon fiber, introduced to Formula 1 racing by McLaren, continues to be used in their road cars / ©McLaren

The key to MCLA is the carbon fiber monocoque which appears for the first time in the Artura. Composite technology like carbon fiber was first introduced to Formula 1 racing by McLaren and it continues to be utilized in their road cars. Weighing only 181lbs including the extra material required for the battery compartment and aero surfaces, the monocoque plays a vital role in keeping Artura’s weight down.

The pursuit of lightness can be seen across every inch of the Artura. A domain-based ethernet system was added, boosting electronic capability while reducing weight. The Artura has no mechanical reverse gear and instead uses the E-motor, this reduces the gearbox length and makes the car lighter.

The combination of lightness and aerodynamics is partly what makes the McLaren Artura such a revolutionary hybrid. It’s these small details that highlight McLaren’s quest for perfection, culminating in the Artura.

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