It is now 30 years since the launch of the seminal McLaren F1; more than 20 years since Woking built what became the Mercedes SLR McLaren; and over a decade since it set up shop as a car brand in its own right with the McLaren MP4-12C.
And still McLaren Automotive’s struggle to establish itself in the irresistibly attritional business of modern supercar making goes on. While its key rivals in Maranello, Stuttgart and Sant’Agata continue to reap the rewards of their investments in electrified models, in SUVs or in both, McLaren’s biggest success over the past five years seems simply to have stayed in the fight – just.
After a turbulent period, though, it might now be on the cusp of genuine progress again. A new boss is at the helm. A new business plan is on the table, with mentions made of potentially transformational new cars. And an all-new model that might itself drive some of that business is finally ready for market.
Between its British-built carbonfibre monocoque, its ethernet electrical architecture, its superformed aluminium bodywork and its V6 plug-in hybrid powerplant, the McLaren Artura is the most technically daring project that McLaren has undertaken since the McLaren P1 hypercar – and quite possibly ever.
Its development has proven both deeply challenging and notably struck with mishap. But, says McLaren, the causes of the gestational hiccups have now been dealt with. The Artura is at last finished. And after a hiatus to address the causes of the technical problems we reported on at the car’s press launch in the summer, it is finally being delivered to deposit holders – and now to Autocar’s road testers.