2021 McLaren Elva First Look Review: The Ultimate Face Shredder

First Look / Comments

Only 399 units of the 800-hp open-top McLaren will be made, priced at $1.83 million.

In the McLaren hierarchy, the Ultimate Series models sit at the very top above the Sport and Super Series cars. Past Ultimate Series models include the P1, Senna, and Speedtail, all of which have offered insane performance, exclusive production numbers, and eye-popping price tags. McLaren has now introduced the latest Ultimate Series model, an open-cockpit roadster called the Elva. The name comes from an M1A race car designed by Bruce McLaren back in the 1960s and the Elva sports some styling cues that give a nod to the original design.

The Elva looks like the most unique McLaren model to date with its radical roofless design. Only 399 units will be built, meaning it will be highly exclusive. We have no doubt the Elva will instantly increase in value when customers take delivery at the end of 2020, making it a highly sought-after collectible.

Rear Angle View McLaren

An Attention-Grabbing Exterior

Most McLaren cars will attract a ton of stares when they drive past a crowd but with no roof and no windshield, Elva drivers will be the center of attention wherever they go. The Elva features classic roadster proportions with a low front end and flowing fenders. At the back, two large buttresses give off a racing vibe without hindering outward visibility thanks to a deployable roll-over protection system.

While there are no large spoilers like the ones found on the Senna, the Elva was designed to be aerodynamically efficient. The car's Active Air Management System channels air from above the splitter out through a vent on the clamshell hood, then over a deployable carbon-fiber deflector. When the system isn't needed, the central duct is sealed, shifting airflow to the radiators. At the rear, an active rear spoiler and rear diffuser help keep the Elva planted through corners.

Side View McLaren
Front View McLaren
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A New Take On The McLaren Interior

In the cockpit, some of the interior details will seem familiar to previous McLaren customers but the Elva has plenty of unique elements such as bespoke seats as well as a carbon fiber shell with available upper and lower colors and materials. For the first time ever, McLaren has fitted the Active Dynamics functions in the gauge cluster, which moves along with the steering wheel adjustment.

Other car functions are controlled via the eight-inch central touchscreen, though the Elva does not have an audio system as standard to save weight (but it can be added for a fee). Based on what we can tell from photos, the Elva will have far less storage space than other McLaren models, forcing drivers to pay more attention to what's ahead on the road.

Dashboard McLaren
Steering Wheel Details McLaren

Face Shredding Performance

McLaren has not revealed official weight specifications but promises the Elva will be its lightest model yet. Couple the lightweight body with the same 4.0 liter twin-turbocharged V8 found in the Senna, and the Elva should be quick enough to shred some faces (especially without a windshield). The V8 produces 803 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque going to the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. This is enough to get the roadster up to 62 mph in under three seconds and up to 124 mph in just 6.7 seconds (which is even quicker than the Senna).

We don't have a top speed figure but with no roof and no windshield, drivers should feel pretty alert as they approach 200 mph. Carbon-ceramic brakes with 15.3-inch discs will bring the car to a screeching halt and five-spoke light forged wheels with track-Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires are available to further decrease weight.

Rear View McLaren
Side View McLaren

Pricing And Competition

Only 399 examples of the Elva will be built, meaning you better get your order in quickly before it sells out. Pricing starts at £1,425,000 ($1.83 million), similar to its key competitors, the Ferrari SP1 and SP2. Those two cars will be slightly less exclusive with 498 units combined but they will offer similar performance with a front-mounted V12 producing 800 hp. Unlike the two Ferrari cars, McLaren will offer the Elva with a fixed windshield option, which will make it street-legal in the United States.


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