Meet The McLaren Elva: The Ultimate Series Roadster You May Want To Drive Wearing A Helmet
This is the McLaren Elva, the open-cockpit two-seater sportscar that is claimed to offer unparalleled levels of driver engagement and ultimate driving enjoyment. Were these claims made by most other manufacturers we might dismiss them as marketing talk, but this is the same company that has produced such ground-breaking cars as the P1 and the 720S.
The Elva follows in their tire marks with a bespoke carbon fiber chassis and body as well as the latest version of McLaren’s active aerodynamics, advanced linked-hydraulic active suspension and electro-hydraulic steering setup. Where it deviates from those vehicles and every other McLaren since the 1960s McLaren-Elva sportscars is that it features a completely open cockpit design with no roof, no side windows and no windscreen.
This goes some way in helping the Elva become the lightest road car ever produced by McLaren Automotive (the curb weight has not been revealed yet) and its twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 has been fettled to produce a serious 804hp, which is 94hp more than the 720s can muster and 15 more than the Senna. That means it can spear to 124mph in 6.7-seconds, quicker than both of those models and just about every one of its competitors.
The open-cockpit design harks back to the Bruce McLaren M1 models of the 1960s which were produced as customer versions of the intense Group 7 McLaren race cars. Mike Flewitt, CEO of McLaren Automotive explains why the Elva is so special and relevant in the manufacturer’s line-up today.
“McLaren continues to push the boundaries of supercar and hypercar development in pursuit of outstanding and unparalleled driving experiences for our customers and the McLaren Elva epitomizes that pioneering spirit. The McLaren-Elva M1A [Mk1] and its successors are in many ways the true spiritual forerunners of today’s McLarens—superlight, mid-engined cars with the highest levels of performance and dynamic excellence. It’s fitting that the new McLaren Ultimate Series roadster—a uniquely modern car that delivers the ultimate connection between driver, car and the elements and with that new heights of driving pleasure on road or track—acknowledges our rich heritage with the Elva name.”
Just like the P1, Senna and upcoming Speedtail, only 399 examples of the McLaren Elva are destined for production, and while this machine’s extreme looks and performance figures have been designed to shock, the base list price of £1,425,000 ($1,830,000) is likely to be the biggest surprise of all.
And that is before customers start delving into the endless customization options afforded them by the McLaren Special Operations (MSO) department. While the Elva will feature a McLaren Active Air Management System (AAMS) designed to manipulate airflow around the car’s occupants, a fixed windscreen option will also be on offer which somehow seems to defeat the point. Deliveries are scheduled for late 2020.
Images courtesy of McLaren