2025 McLaren Artura Spider First Drive Review: Easy, Breezy, and Better Without the Roof

Escaping the bumper-to-bumper traffic of the Côte d’Azur’s glamorous villages was a slow and infuriating process. But it led me to the serpentine roads of the Alps-Maritimes where near-empty tarmac and perfect weather teed up the ideal test drive of Woking’s newest convertible: the 2025 McLaren Artura Spider. At last, I pressed down on the accelerator and let the 120-degree, 3.0-liter twin-turbo hybrid V6 do what it does best: Scare the shit outta its driver.

That intoxicating mix of engine roar and rushing wind crescendoed as the speedo climbed, reminding me that bespoke gas engines and cutting-edge electric motors are the perfect solution for all-around performance. Internal combustion and electricity are a match made in heaven—though I was already in heaven, enjoying infinite headroom and rally-esque roads carved between stone-faced mountains.

Jerry Perez

If you’ve ever driven an EV, chances are, you’ve been ruined. That rapid acceleration and instant torque from an electric motor can easily numb you to other cars that, although quick, can’t give you that brutal rush, that infectious high. Suddenly, zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat doesn’t feel that quick anymore, and you’re left wondering if there’s a life beyond EVs—or a life worth living, at least. McLaren’s roofless entry-level plug-in supercar is here to ask us, “Hey, hard launches are cool, but have you experienced near-endless acceleration well into triple-digit speeds while the wind molds your hair?”

The Basics

The Artura Spider’s arrival ushers in a whole slate of updates, refinements, new components, and even more power for the Artura as a whole. A lot of these are specific to the Spider, but others, such as the power bump from 671 to 690 horsepower, are shared with the coupe and will even be retrofitted to first-year Arturas. So while the plebs can have Apple CarPlay retrofitted in their Honda Accords, McLaren owners can take their cars to the dealer and leave with 19 more hp at no charge.

Let’s start with the most obvious enhancement: the retractable hard top. It’s a single piece that can raise or lower in just 11 seconds and at speeds of up to 31 mph. My tester featured the optional electrochromic glass panel that can lighten or darken (and block UV rays) at the touch of a button. It’s pretty awesome and highly recommend if you buy one of these; it’s like having a coupe, a coupe with a pano roof, and a convertible all in one car. 

McLaren did not have to perform any additional strengthening tricks to carry over the coupe’s rigidity thanks to that ultra-rigid carbon tub—or MCLA (McLaren Carbon Lightweight Architecture) as the automaker calls it. As a result, the Spider only weighs 136 pounds more than the coupe, boasting a power-weight-ratio of 467 hp per ton and making it the lightest convertible supercar in its class, according to McLaren. Of course, by “lightest in its class” what McLaren is really saying is, “It’s lighter than the Ferrari 296 GTS.”

The Artura Spider gets several design tweaks, the most notable of which are the lovely flying buttresses. These look amazing finished in see-through glazed glass but are also functional, directing air toward the cooling ducts on the engine cover. New aero ducts throughout the car aid with cooling, including fender vent louvers and side intakes for the radiators. Another important feature not readily visible is an exhaust symposer that cleverly pipes engine sound into the cabin for a more dynamic driving experience. That’s right, real engine sound, none of that fake stuff.

As with any McLaren, the end result is one sleek, modern, and very expensive-looking car; quite literally the definition of a supercar. It also inherits a lot aesthetically from McLarens higher up the food chain—the rear end reminds me of the P1, the front is very 750S, and there are hints of the ultra-rare Sabre in its profile.

Driving Experience

Nowadays, nearly half of the cars I drive for work are EVs, so hustling the Artura Spider off the line doesn’t feel as brain-scrambling as it would have a few years ago. Don’t get me wrong, zero to 60 mph in 3.0 seconds isn’t slow by any standard—it’s quicker than the McLaren F1 and Ferrari Enzo—but most of us in my line of work are spoiled and ruined. What is impressive about launching the Artura is the theater, and that’s ultimately what I love about convertibles. You’re more involved with the top down. In Comfort mode, the revs build up a bit slower off the line and you can hear the turbos behind you begin to spool up before all hell breaks loose. It’s a lovely way to experience engineering in motion. In Sport mode and above, that build-up happens much, much quicker and you almost don’t get a chance to appreciate the nuances. It’s just wham, bam, and thank you very much, ma’am. 

The Artura Spider’s happy place isn’t throwing down quick 0-30 or 0-60 runs between stoplights. While it’ll do both without breaking a sweat—even letting you do a pre-meditated burnout thanks to a special launch mode—it much prefers to be in the 85-150 mph range as you click through third and fifth gears between 3,500 to 6,000 rpm. Unlike anything fully electric out there (that doesn’t cost a million bucks), the power delivery is incessant should you dare keep your right foot buried for more than a few seconds.

Jerry Perez

The hybrid V6’s 596 ponies are relentless, and they’ve got help from the axial flux e-motor which generates another 94 horses. That eight-speed dual-clutch transmission features something called pre-fill, which adjusts the clutch to the engaging point as much as possible so when you pull on the paddle, the shift happens much quicker.

The end result is a tsunami of torque pushing you back against the seat and a view out the windshield that starts rushing toward and past you extremely fast. Shifts audibly explode behind you and the tach’s needle nears the red much quicker than you anticipated. This may be the baby of the McLaren range, but there’s nothing innocent about it—it’s got a killer instinct and you don’t have to poke around too much to evoke it. 

Stan Papior

If the engine is the Artura Spider’s best attribute, the steering has to be its second best—or maybe it’s the grip? The two go hand in hand, so I suppose it’s a tie. As The Drive’s reviews editor Chris Tsui highlighted during his drive of the Artura coupe, the steering feedback is so exceptional you can almost feel the road’s texture on your fingertips. Every surface change and road undulation is clearly communicated to the driver via the button-less steering wheel. As a result, it takes some time to get used to how sharply the car corners and how you must rethink driving lines. If you drive it like a normal car, you’re going to turn in way, way early. You gotta brake later, turn in later, and then get back on the throttle sooner. The Artura Spider is made for al fresco driving enjoyment, and enjoyment it delivers. 

McLarens may be designed for high-speed driving, but after spending hours stuck in heavy traffic while getting up and down a mountain, the Artura Spider proved that it can morph into a practical sports car that has no qualms running errands around town. My tester was equipped with the base comfort seats which aren’t just more, well, comfortable but also fully adjustable up, down, front, and back, have lumbar support, and are heated. I also rode in the ClubSport seats which are more bucket-like and not fully adjustable. Frankly, they were still fairly comfortable, just not as versatile.

After a long day of hustling the car in the Mediterranean sun, I clicked the drivetrain and suspension back down to Comfort mode and put the top back up. Fun fact: The glass pane separating passengers from the engine can be moved up or down, allowing for more or less engine noise to come into the cabin.

A detour on the way back into town forced me onto some narrow roads jam-packed with street-parked cars, and I even had to put it in park on a hill because a school was letting out and what seemed like 500 little kids had to cross the road holding hands. Cruising on purely electric mode to not scare the children, I also made a couple of two-point turns at some hairpins to avoid crushing a bumper. The Artura also performed several U-turns after I took the wrong tunnel around Monaco, each time relying on the car’s tech features. Navigation (native and Google Maps via wired Apple CarPlay) worked flawlessly, the backup camera and parking sensors did their job, and the updated (faster) nose lift system kept me from handing McLaren its car back without a front splitter. Should I win the Mega Millions and move to the south of France, I know which supercar would pass the test. 

McLaren Artura Spider Features, Options, and Competition

The 2025 McLaren Artura Spider starts at $281,008 though the unit I drove came in at $344,058. The extra money was mostly spent on carbon fiber exterior bits, upgraded wheels, the $9,400 electrochromic roof, a sport exhaust, and an ADAS pack. This is considerably less than the Ferrari 296, which starts north of $320,000, and expect that car to approach if not pass $400,000 when similarly equipped. Both of these hybrid V6 supercars are truly some of the best supercars—if not the best—I’ve driven in recent times, proving that we should all embrace electrification.

Of course, they both have their merits and flaws, and the McLaren isn’t perfect. While the infotainment OS is quicker and smarter than previous versions, the vertical screen still feels quite small at 8.0 inches and is placed quite low in the dash. My right forearm was always in the way of the screen, so I had to either raise or lower my arm so I could see it while driving. Apple CarPlay is only available via wired connection, and while that’s not a dealbreaker for me, you’d think wireless CarPlay would be standard at this price point. McLaren almost made up for this by designing a genius, new-for-2025 wireless charger that secures your phone and prevents it from going flying while cornering. It’s the little things.

Jerry Perez

The Early Verdict

There’s a line that’s stuck with me since I drove the McLaren GT a few years ago: Easy Breezy Supercar. Truly, the McLaren Artura Spider is just that. It’s comfortable, easy to operate, and things just work. That’s not exactly why people buy supercars, but it’s certainly a plus when a supercar boasts those traits. 

Even better, if you’re looking for something visceral, agile, and brutally fast, it also checks those boxes. The coupe already offered the best of those worlds, and the Spider takes that experience and makes it even better, more glamorous, and honestly, way more fun. Overly serious supercar owners will always argue that convertibles just aren’t as stiff and therefore not as hardcore as a coupe, but that argument isn’t even applicable here. So, why wouldn’t you get the cooler one of the two?

2025 McLaren Artura Spider Specs
Base Price (as tested)$281,008 ($344,058)
Powertrain3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 with axial flux e-motor | 8-speed dual-clutch automatic | rear-wheel drive
Horsepower690 @ 7,500 rpm
Torque531 lb-ft @ 2,250 rpm
Seating Capacity2
Cargo Volume5.7 cubic feet
DIN Weight3,439 pounds
0-60 mph3.0 seconds
Top Speed205 mph
Fuel Economy45 mpge | 19 mpg (gas only)
EV Range11 miles
Quick TakeOne of the best supercars money can buy made even more fun and better looking.
Score9/10

Contact the author at jerry@thedrive.com

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