MCLAREN has unveiled a new open-top super roadster that it claims is faster-accelerating than the Senna.
The gorgeous Elva, which evokes Bruce McLaren-designed Elva sports cars of the 1960s, slots into the British car maker’s Ultimate Series of models, which also includes the Senna, Senna GTR and Speedtail, so of course the Elva also packs some serious performance.
In fact, the mid-mounted 4-litre, twin-turbocharged McLaren V8 is lifted directly from the Senna, though tuned to 804bhp — up from 789bhp in the Senna. All the Elva’s power is directed to the rear wheels via a seven-speed automatic gearbox.
Although with carbon fibre construction, no roof, no windscreen and no side windows, there’s no reason to doubt McLaren’s claim that the Elva is its lightest car ever, the final weight hasn’t been announced, as according to the car maker it is yet to be officially certified. As a guide, the dry weight of the Senna is “under 1,200kg”.
Performance figures, too, are still to be validated, though that hasn’t prevented McLaren from releasing claimed acceleration times: 0-62mph is achieved in “less than three seconds”, and the 0-124mph time of 6.7sec is Elva makes it a tenth quicker over that speed range than the McLaren Senna.
We don’t have a top speed for the Elva, though the Senna maxes out at 208mph. At that speed, open top motoring could get rather … exciting. That’s why the Elva’s “Active Air Management System” channels air through the nose and out of the front clamshell, ahead of the driver and passenger, before being directed up over the cockpit.
McLaren says this creates “a relative bubble of calm” in the cockpit, and no helmets are needed, though a fixed windscreen derivative of the car is also available for most markets as a factory option.
There’s no audio system as standard, to help save wright, though customers can specify a bespoke system at no additional cost.
The AAMS is an active aero system, with the deflector deployed at the leading edge of the bonnet outlet able to rise up to 150mm as speed increases to create a “low-pressure zone at the vent”. The system can also be deactivated by the driver.
The Elva’s full-width rear spoiler is active, too, with the height and angle being adjusted on the fly “to optimise aero balance”, and help slow the car under braking from high speed as an airbrake. A completely flat floor and rear diffuser help guide the airflow under and behind the car.
Electro-hydraulic steering is matched with hydraulic active suspension that has bespoke software settings, as well as unique springs and damper settings.
The Adaptive Dynamics Controls can be set to Comfort, Sport and Track modes, and the level of wheelspin and oversteer can be controlled via three electronic stability control modes and a variable drift control system.
Mike Flewitt, McLaren Automotive’s CEO, said: “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 epitomises 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.”
The price for all this? Upwards of £1,425,000 including tax, depending on specification. If you have that kind of cash lying around, get your order in quickly, as just 399 examples of new McLaren Elva will be available for customers.