Cars

Reality Sucks, Supercars Rule

Behind the wheel of a McLaren Artura – that’s one-pointed meditation, the momentary suspension of space-time, an infinite flow through curve-scraping recalcitrance.

  • Text
    David Staretz
  • Fotos
    Matthias Mederer · ramp.pictures

Something about this grip as I open the scissor doors feels familiar. It’s that way you reach to the side of your saddle on horseback to see whether the girth is tight enough. Then a shudder surges through the horse’s coat like a gust of wind blowing through a field of wheat. In the case of the McLaren Artura, if you do everything right (i.e., if you’re in possession of the key fob), the door floats up almost weightlessly, discreetly assisted by the hydraulic system – as if it hadn’t been lifted at all, merely guided through the act by a magician as part of his levitation illusion. A velvet interior reveals itself, challenging terrain for Slim Shadys, a promising boudoir of speed and safety in equal measure.

Artura, a made-up name. An amalgamation of art and future, or nature. Proto-Celtic for “she-bear”.

Whatever the case may be, better than just some cold number.

The right leg goes in first, stretched out in front, the rest of the body automatically spirals down behind and glides down into the seat. This must be how revolutionary high jumper Dick Fosbury developed his unconventional technique, I muse to myself, in defiant ignorance of the state of the world. Sometimes I just love thinking up nonsense, straight, incoherent nonsense that doesn’t even have to be particularly funny or bold, just some clunky rebellion against the moment, against tattooed housewives’ arms, flavored water or e-cigarettes. Then I feel detached from the tenacious grip of existence for a moment. Admittedly, it is too short and too meaningless to really make anything of it.

This is where a supercar driving experience can help. The super sports car as a life enricher. Daily dose at maximum dosage. The reliable contrarian. One-pointed meditation and timeless flow. The roadway zooms in, yours to consume, your body positioned as if riding a Harley, transported back to a time when “laid back” was still a philosophy, or at least a state of mind. That’s how it is with the McLaren: “cool” melted into form, into speed, arms stretched out in front, from sleek steering wheel to curve, from curve to sleek steering wheel, a beast lurking in the shadows, a sound of a higher magnitude, the rain beading upward along the windshield, the spray of a summer storm, and the car reliably moving forward, enveloping you in comfort, all systems go, and that’s me in the super sports car, in the middle of it all, concentrated and relaxed, no expectations steeper than the radius of the next curve.

To clear up a fundamental misunderstanding: you don’t have to drive supercars incessantly fast, you don’t have to take risks, you don’t have to be constantly on the verge of having your license suspended. A supercar possesses aesthetic qualities that are evident even when the car is stationary, qualities such as robustness, openness and an unwillingness to compromise. The Artura’s flyline alone is close to perfection.
A velvet interior reveals itself, challenging terrain for Slim Shadys, a promising boudoir of speed and safety in equal measure.

With its free-standing C-pillar, the car is reminiscent of the Maserati Bora, or even better: the Merak SS. The air scoops – large, yet discreet. Eyes always at the point of welling up with emotion. Balanced and perfect, the body sits low over the big wheels. The Artura playfully interacts with the road surface in a way that few competitors can match.

The rear: a dramatic finish over the engine compartment that continues into the unknown. Aerodynamic perfection grappling with the physical forces at play. Above the diffuser, the twin exhaust tips peeking out of the dark basement window of the grille, hinting at the devil’s work going on inside.

One central dogma has been abandoned, however, as ( … )

→ Read the whole text in the new ramp #62 "Wild Things".

David Staretz

David Staretz

Freelance Author
David Staretz, born 1956 in Horn. Since 1976 editor, then chief editor of Autorevue. Since 2000 freelance author: car tests for various magazines, writes and photographs travel reports and artist portraits. In his gallery, Kontor Staretz, he builds kinetic objects and puts them on display to amuse passers-by. In 2004, the book Lenk mich doch! Geschichten rund ums Auto was published by Deuticke.
ramp #62 Wild Things

ramp #62 Wild Things

Das Unterwegs, ein wunderbar weißes Blatt, das sich uns mit einer fröhlichen Unberechenbarkeit als geniale Spielfläche für Versuch und Irrtum, für Neugier und Spontanität, Überraschungen und Fantasie anbietet. Alles ziemlich wild hier. Wie im echten Leben eben.

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