The 2025 McLaren Artura Spider Is a Drop-Top Hybrid Supercar That Inspires You Everywhere

 

Merci beaucoup, Mother Nature, for intervening; the shower turns to a sprinkle and then stops. We celebrate by gunning the new Artura Spider’s throttle in several of the A8’s tunnels, immersing ourselves in the intoxicating sonic boom boom supplied by the car’s 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 via its redesigned and more raucous exhaust system. Vive la France! Vive la McLaren!

McLaren Artura Spider Monaco 135

McLaren spent the bulk of its dynamic efforts on modifying the Artura’s eight-speed dual-clutch automatic and its damping and handling systems, speeding up their operation. The transmission is treated to some “kissing,” in McLaren speak. It means the gears are pre-filled, or kissed, to pop 25 percent quicker than before. Smoochy smoochy.

While the dampers aren’t treated to a make-out session, McLaren says it increased the car’s damping- and handling-response rates by 90 percent over the present Artura coupe, thanks in large part to the increased throughput and processing power its ethernet-based electronic architecture allows. Although the Artura isn’t receiving over-the-air updates yet, McLaren says it will soon, and its ethernet backbone and Domain Controller network will aid in making those updates possible.

One of the Artura’s coolest new features is Spinning Wheel Pull Away mode, a very British way of saying it does burnouts. We were dying to try it, but McLaren urged us to wait until we get the car on a closed course.

It’s Spider Time

The star of the 2025 McLaren Artura Spider’s show is its retractable, one-piece hard top that can drop or raise in just 11 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph thanks to no less than eight electric motors. It’s also available with an electrochromic glass panel that can filter in light at a button’s touch. We tried the in-motion exercise while trundling through one of the quaint French villes on our drive, and the top, which is constructed primarily of carbon fiber and aluminum, worked flawlessly. (You can also use the key fob to drop it, impressing your friends!)

McLaren Artura Spider Monaco 154

Not surprisingly, several adjustments are made to the Artura Spider’s aerodynamic and cooling systems to manage the heat and airflow changes that arise when the top retracts and essentially covers the engine bay, including a series of vents along the car’s rear deck, reworked air channels through the (glazed) buttresses, and more. Another neat aero trick is a pair of small Gurney-style flicks located on either side of the top of the windscreen, developed in partnership with McLaren’s Formula 1 engineering team.

Despite the extra weight added by the hybrid system, top mechanism, and other bits, the Artura Spider is just 136 pounds heavier than the coupe, and according to McLaren, much of the car’s baseline performance numbers, such as its 3.0-second 0–60-mph time, are virtually identical. Judging from the seat-of-the-pants launches we performed during our drive, it’s every bit that quick. Weighing in at roughly 3,450 pounds, McLaren also claims it’s up to 183 pounds lighter than its stated competition (cough, Maserati MC20 Cielo, cough). McLaren is known for its commitment to lightweight cars, and the Artura Spider benefits greatly from the automaker’s lightweight carbon architecture setup.

Spinning Its Web

We were fortunate enough that the rain stopped, and even more so when we found ourselves driving the Artura Spider at full chat along a glorious expanse of roadway featuring snaky canyon switchbacks, high-speed jaunts along largely deserted valleys, and tight alpine passes, though it’s a bit sketchy at times given all the bike riders, pokey French traffic, and suddenly one-ish-lane stretches. Driver beware.

The Spider carves it all up and dares you to push it harder, deeper, and faster into the next bend as the dampers stiffen and the car’s e-differential system works its magic. McLaren engineers say the Artura, like other McLarens, begins to mind-meld with you in that it reads your driving behavior as it gets aggressive and reacts accordingly. Our behavior is decidedly bad-intentioned with both main settings in Track and on full attack, and the Artura Spider sharpens up finer than a pencil in an old grinder (remember pencils?).

McLaren Artura Spider Monaco 145

Whether you use the paddles or leave it in auto mode, the transmission never fails to get into gear quickly, upshift or downshift, though one time as it shows a manual + auto mode combo, it bounces off the rev limiter. We aren’t sure exactly who was in charge at that moment.

The meaty part of the engine’s power curve is found around 4,000 rpm to its 8,500-rpm redline—and look out when it’s there. These are the moments when you most appreciate an open-air experience like the Artura Spider provides, when you’re flat-out in a valley and the engine’s roaring behind you as the wind swirls through the high-end luxury-trimmed cabin. This is what you buy a car like this for.

McLaren was also keen to point out that despite its plug-in hybrid setup, the Artura Spider does not use regenerative braking to help push power back into the battery. Instead, it’s done using a complex process involving engine torque. The result makes the Artura Spider’s braking similar in scope to other McLarens in that the pedal is firm on application, but get into it, and the carbon-ceramics are powerful. Beyond the pedal feel, you also need to get used to the actual pedals, which are spaced closely—almost too close for comfort.

Everyday Assassin

On the more pedestrian roadways back to the hotel, we dial it all back to the most compliant Comfort mode (Comfort, Sport, Track, and Electric are available, and none of them punish the car or you over rough pavement). We settle into its multi-adjustable handcrafted leather driver seat and simply drive like any law-abiding French citizen. We jam to some tunes (it’s a solid system), fiddle with the infotainment system and the wired Apple CarPlay (the screen and other controls like climate work fine, but the icons and info are a smidge small), and later charged the phone in its snug pocket (a super cool feature that keeps your phone from flying around when you’re flying around). The cabin itself befits a car that starts around $274,000, with all the leather and Alcantara and metal. And should you for some strange reason want to drive it with the top up, it’s more than acceptable from a sound-deadening standpoint, especially when you drive it sanely. McLaren Artura Spider Monaco 276

Make no mistake: Although the term “everyday supercar” is too often thrown around, the 2025 McLaren Artura Spider mostly fits that bill if and when you want it to be. You can drive it like you stole it one minute and to the drugstore the next and not be worse off for it (just be sure to use the nose lift for those speed humps). Really, the only thing you need to figure out is the best way to get in and out of the car when its butterfly doors swing up. (The fact McLaren offers a winter tire package also speaks to its at-all-times potential.)

As we approach the famed Hotel de Paris, our last stop in the super fabulous and world-famous-for-racing enclave of Monaco, silently creeping and whirring along in Electric mode for the last mile or two, we begin to almost feel like we belong. This place is thick with super- and hypercars, and the McLaren, while not breaking any new ground stylistically as a McLaren, is still every bit as much of a supercar in its wedgy, vented glory, and the Spider only augments the look. We fit right in with all the rich, aimless, and famous milling about in Casino Square. Pulling up to the hotel, we for a hot minute even feel like hot stuff. But as we stumble elegantly out of the car, we realize the Artura Spider is the only thing anyone is looking at, and rightly so.

McLaren Artura Spider Monaco 170

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