Meet The New McLaren Elva: McLaren's Lightest Road Car Ever

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McLaren's first-ever open-cockpit roadster is limited to 399 units, at $1.83M each.

Say hello to the newest member of the McLaren Ultimate Series family: the Elva. As we saw in the teaser photo released in August, the Elva is McLaren's first open-cockpit roadster with two seats, no roof, no windshield, and no side windows, and it looks sensational. A fixed windscreen is available as an option, so it should be street legal in the US, unlike the Ferrari SP1 and SP2. A low nose and pronounced front fender give the Elva classic roadster proportions.

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 thanks to a deployable roll-over protection system. The uppermost sections of the carbon fiber doors also curve over and flow down into the cabin, while the buttresses also flow into the cabin behind the seats, resulting in a striking design.

McLaren Automotive
McLaren Automotive

The Elva name is a homage to the Bruce McLaren-designed M1A race car and road-going McLaren-Elva M1A, M1B, and M1C in the 1960s. "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," said Mike Flewitt, CEO, McLaren Automotive.

"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."

In a world-first, the Elva features what McLaren calls an "Active Air Management System," which channels air through the nose of the Elva to come out of the front clamshell at high speed ahead of the occupants before being directed up over the cockpit. The system comprises a large central inlet positioned above the splitter, a front clamshell outlet vent and a subtle carbon-fiber deflector that raises and lowers vertically.

McLaren Automotive
McLaren Automotive

When the AAMS is inactive, the central duct is sealed, diverting air flow into the low-temperature radiators and increasing their cooling efficiency. An active rear spoiler and an extreme rear diffuser further optimize the car's aerodynamics. Thanks to its bespoke carbon fiber chassis and body, unique carbon fiber seats and sintered carbon-ceramic brakes, the Elva is the lightest car McLaren has ever produced, but the weight is still being finalized. The front clamshell is 0.04 inches thick and is formed from a one-piece panel. The side panels are also single pieces stretching from the front wheels, past the side intakes, around the rear tonneau cover and all the way until the active rear spoiler, while the gullwing doors are also made of carbon fiber and mounted with a single hinge.

Powering the McLaren Elva is the same 4.0 liter twin-turbocharged V8 used by the Senna that sends 803 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Using launch control, the Elva will accelerate from 0-62 mph in less than three seconds. Impressively, the Elva will hit 124 mph from a standstill even quicker than the Senna at 6.7 seconds.

McLaren Automotive
McLaren Automotive

The increased power output is achieved through an optimized exhaust system with reduced back pressure and improved LTR performance that reduces charge air temperatures. Sintered carbon-ceramic brakes with 15.3-inch discs provide substantial stopping power.

Inside, the Elva features bespoke seats with a lightweight carbon fiber shell available with different upper and lower colors and materials, while the dashboard seamlessly flows down into the cabin and around to meet the swooping doors. In a first for McLaren, the controls for the Active Dynamics functions are integrated into the instrument cluster, which moves with the steering wheel.

Other functions such as the satellite navigation, McLaren Track Telemetry, rear-view camera and climate control are accessed through an eight-inch touchscreen. To save weight, the Elva doesn't come with an audio system as standard, but this can be added for no extra cost. Other options include five-spoke light forged alloy wheels and track-focused Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires.

Production of the McLaren Elva is limited to 399 units, while prices start at £1,425,000 ($1.83 million). Customer deliveries will start towards the end of 2020.

McLaren Automotive
McLaren Automotive
McLaren Automotive

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