McLaren Automotive revealed its new Ultimate Series roadster, the McLaren Elva. As the brand’s first open-cockpit road car, the Elva adds a new dimension to the range-topping Ultimate Series lineage. Like its McLaren P1, McLaren Senna and Speedtail predecessors, the volume of the new McLaren Elva will be strictly limited: just 399 are being offered for customer order. The Elva name celebrates the renowned Bruce McLaren-designed M1A and McLaren-Elva M1A [Mk I], M1B [Mk II] and M1C [Mk III] of the 1960s. Produced as ‘customer’ versions of the innovative and exciting Group 7 McLaren race cars, the McLaren-Elva sportscars embodied many of the pioneering design and engineering principles that are integral to the McLaren road cars produced today.
The new McLaren Elva is a ferociously fast open-cockpit car; an extreme two-seater with a bespoke carbon fiber chassis and body but no roof, no windscreen, and no side windows. With every sensory input heightened, this is a car that exists to provide unparalleled driving pleasure on road or track. A 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged McLaren V8 from the same family of engines that powers the McLaren Senna and Senna GTR combine with the lightest vehicle weight of any road car produced by McLaren Automotive (weighing less than 1198 kg claimed by the Senna) to give the superlight new Ultimate Series roadster truly breathtaking performance across the board, with extraordinary levels of acceleration, agility and driver feedback. The Elva makes 804 horses and will do 0 to 100 km/h in under 3 seconds and will do 200 km/h in just 6.7 seconds.
The appearance of the McLaren Elva is as striking and unique as the driving experience. The low nose and pronounced front fender peaks provide visual drama and at the same time enhance forward vision. Large, carbon fiber rear fenders flow from the front of the door to the rear deck, while the height of the twin rear buttresses is minimized by using a deployable roll-over protection system. Helmets can be worn if preferred, but the form and sculpture of the upper cabin wraps around the driver and passenger to provide a secure environment. A fixed windscreen derivative of the car is also available for most markets as a factory option.
A true connection with the elements is integral to the McLaren Elva driving experience but that hasn’t stopped McLaren innovating a world-first, the Active Air Management System (AAMS) to enhance driving pleasure. The system channels air through the nose of the Elva to come out of the front clamshell at high velocity ahead of the occupants before being directed up over the cockpit to create a relative ‘bubble’ of calm. The system comprises a large central inlet situated above the splitter, a front clamshell outlet vent and a discreet carbon fiber deflector that raises and lowers vertically; when the AAMS is active, the deflector is deployed at the leading edge of the bonnet outlet, rising 150mm into the freestream to create a low-pressure zone at the vent.
The vented air is directed through a 130-degree radius, using a network of transverse and longitudinally mounted carbon fiber vanes across the bonnet outlet; distributing the airflow both in front of and along the side of the cabin further assists air management in the cabin environment. At urban speeds, when the level of airflow into the cabin means the AAMS is not needed, the system is inactive. As vehicle speed increases, the AAMS automatically deploys and remains active until speed reduces, at which point the deflector retracts. The system can also be button-deactivated by the driver.
Only 399 McLaren Elvas will be made with each coming in at a price tag of £1.425 million.