One thing’s for sure about the upcoming McLaren Elva. It won’t be your first choice to take your partner and the family dog on a road trip. It’s unashamedly a two-seater roadster offering pure driving fun and excitement but little else by way of creature comforts. Don’t even ask about any kind of roof. In addition there’s no windscreen whatever and cargo space amounts to almost nothing. Yet there is space under a rear tonneau for two helmets. Despite the restrictions of an open cockpit car, your 2-million euros will get you a motoring experience like no other.


McLaren Elva – A Racing Pedigree

The Elva name goes back to a British sports car manufacturer of the 1950s and 1960s. Whose cars were once modified for racing by the great Bruce McLaren. It’s an interesting nod towards nostalgia that McLaren should revive the Elva name for such an awesome product.

The Elva is exceptionally light being, in fact, the lightest road car McLaren has ever built. Firstly the chassis is carbon fibre, as is the bodywork. As well as that, the seats are carbon fibre and the brakes are of sintered carbon ceramic. It all adds up to an exotic car in every respect.

The missing windscreen has aerodynamic body design elements that direct air over the cockpit. This is aided by a deflector at the front of the bonnet that rises automatically. A fixed windscreen is an available option, but that would seem to work against the real point of this car.
This McLaren boasts some mightily impressive performance figures. Behind this pace is a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V-8 that develops 804-horsepower. It drives the rear wheels via a 7-speed dual clutch automatic. The zero to 100 km/h figure of under three seconds is outstanding. Therefore giving the driver an experience much like piloting a Formula One car at the Monaco Grand Prix.

The car will top 200 km/h in 6.7-seconds but no top speed is given by McLaren. It should certainly be beyond 300 km/h. McLaren describes the car as ‘ferociously fast’ and nobody’s going to argue with that.

A Formula One Driving Experience

Although performance is the Elva’s first priority, the car doesn’t lack comfort and convenience features for the driver and passenger. A centrally mounted high-resolution 8-inch touchscreen acts as a hub for all vehicle functions, including satellite navigation. The screen is mounted on a carbon fibre arm and tilted towards the driver.

As far as cockpit trim goes, McLaren offers a broad portfolio of interior materials for buyers to choose from. For instance, full aniline leather specially developed to meet the requirements of an open cockpit car. There’s no audio system as standard since many buyers will reason that there’s little point in a car like this. For customers who can’t live without a sound system, McLaren will throw in a bespoke stereo at no extra cost.

There’s no point in trying to justify what many people would regard as an outrageous roadster. For those with the means, it’s vast amounts of fun with a Formula One driving experience thrown in. Even McLaren wouldn’t describe it as a grand touring car but few owners would make it their sole set of wheels. It’s a machine that functions superbly in good weather. Therefore it’s guaranteed to upstage all those mundane Ferraris and Lamborghinis. For many, that’s what makes it worth the money.

The Stats

ENGINE: 4.0-litre V-8 twin-turbo.
TRANSMISSION: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic.
ACCELERATION: Zero to 100 km/h in under 3.0-secs.
TOP SPEED: 300 km/h-plus (estimated).
I LIKED: Astonishing performance. Light structure. McLaren’s admirable boldness in developing a car that’s purely for fun.
I DIDN’T LIKE: Open cockpit layout is bold, but will deter many would-be buyers.
MARKET ALTERNATIVES: Lots of supercars on the market with convertible tops, but none matches the Elva.
WHO DRIVES ONE? A buyer who already owns a high-end McLaren and would like to add something very different to the garage.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY: Starts at around €1,560,000 euros and up. Available late 2020/early 2021.


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