You’ll likely want to find some shelter if it starts raining while driving the new McLaren Elva. The latest entry into its Ultimate Series line comes absent both windows and a roof. Then again, with its 804 horsepower, perhaps you can outrun the raindrops.
The name, Elva, might seem a little odd though, if you’re a McLaren fan, it could trigger a sense of déjà vu, harkening back to several groundbreaking – and checkered flag-taking – race cars, such as the McLaren-Elva M1A that the company’s founder, Bruce McLaren, built back in the 1960s. Indeed, there’s a distinct resemblance between those classic track cars and the design of the new Elva.
“The McLaren-Elva M1A [Mk1] and its successors are in many ways the true spiritual forerunners of today’s McLarens,” explains Mike Flewitt, the CEO of McLaren Automotive, “superlight, mid-engined cars with the highest levels of performance and dynamic excellence. It’s fitting that the new McLaren Ultimate Series roadster … acknowledges our rich heritage with the Elva name.”
It may reach into the past, but the new McLaren Elva is anything but a retro-mobile, as its performance numbers suggest. Its twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 punches out a full 804 hp and 590 pound-feet of torque through a seven-speed gearbox that directs power to the rear wheels. According to McLaren, the open-topped, street-legal Elva will launch from 0 to 100 kmh, or 62 mph, in 3 seconds. And, to put that into perspective, that means it’s actually a wee bit faster than that another new McLaren, the Senna.
Even by McLaren’s own traditions, the Elva is an extreme machine, among other things doing away with niceties like windows and even a fold-up softtop in order to minimize weight. It’s expected to come in somewhere under 2,900 pounds. Oh, and should you buy one of the limited-run hypercars solely for track purposes, you even can delete the windshield, as well as the sound system – and then add a six-point harness.
The British automaker doesn’t expect those who will pay $1.69 million for an Elva to suffer while going out for a spin, however. The hypercar incorporates a variety of tricks, such as vanes and deflectors – which McLaren dubs its Active Air Management System, to minimize airflow into the passenger compartment.
Visually, Elva features an arcing front fascia with a large, track-style air scoop up front and additional air intakes on the hood and leading into the exaggerated rear wheel wells. Double bubble headrests add to the subtle retro touches.
Inside, Elva features completely electronic instrumentation, with a large, vertically mounted touchscreen popping out of a center binnacle. Oh, and should you decide to take the car out onto a track, there’s even a special storage space behind the two carbon fiber seats for storing helmets.
But should you want to show off your new car at the country club – considering only 399 copies of the Elva will be produced – you can add the no-cost option audio system. And the cabin is outfitted the way you might expect for something in this price range, including what McLaren describes as “a portfolio of bespoke interior materials,” including “enhanced full aniline leather,” and something it describes as “Ultrafabric.”
Oh, and if you haven’t already picked up on that fact, McLaren will extensively customize Elva, something you might expect at this price tag.