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The Ultimate open-top roadster experience: McLaren Elva

HighLifeChannel November 11, 2021

As the brand’s first open-cockpit road car, McLaren  Elva celebrates the renowned Bruce McLaren-designed M1A and McLaren-Elva M1A [Mk I], M1B [Mk II] and M1C [Mk III] of the 1960s. Produced as ‘customer’ versions of the innovative and exciting Group 7 McLaren race cars, the McLaren-Elva sportscars embodied many of the pioneering design and engineering principles integral to the McLaren road cars produced today.

“Super-lightweight and extremely powerful, the Elva delivers the ultimate connection between a driver, the road and the elements. Created to celebrate the pure joy of driving, it’s one of the most distinctive – and exclusive – cars we have made. Roofless and without windows, whether you opt for the screenless model with its sophisticated AAMS technology that provides an invisible barrier of air, or the windscreen version with an additional level of enclosure, this is a roadster that rewards owners with the most exhilarating of open-air driving experiences, delivered as only a McLaren can.”, said Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Automotive.

The Elva links McLaren’s heritage to its present and future with a name and style that recalls the McLaren-Elva race cars of the 1960s. The new McLaren Elva is a ferociously fast, open-cockpit, powerful two-seater with a bespoke carbon fibre chassis and body but no roof, windscreen, and side windows. With every sensory input heightened, this car exists to provide unparalleled driving pleasure on the road or track. The appearance of the McLaren Elva is as striking and unique as the driving experience. The low nose and pronounced front fender peaks provide visual drama and, at the same time, enhance forward vision. Large, carbon fibre rear fenders flow from the front of the door to the rear deck, while the height of the twin rear buttresses is minimized by using a deployable roll-over protection system.

A true connection with the elements is integral to the McLaren Elva driving experience, but that hasn’t stopped McLaren innovating a world-first – the Active Air Management System (AAMS) – to enhance driving pleasure. The system channels air through the nose to come out of the front clamshell at high velocity ahead of the occupants before being directed up over the cockpit to create a relative ‘bubble’ of calm. The system comprises a large central inlet situated above the splitter, a front clamshell outlet vent and a discreet carbon fibre deflector that raises and lowers vertically; when the AAMS is active, the deflector is deployed at the leading edge of the bonnet outlet, rising 5.9in into the freestream to create a low-pressure zone at the vent. Helmets can be worn if preferred, but the form and sculpture of the upper cabin wrap around the driver and passenger to provide a secure environment. A fixed windscreen derivative of the car is also available for most markets as a factory option.

Interior leathers in a range of finishes and levels of protection – including an Enhanced Full Aniline leather with a second protective layer to the leather – have been developed to meet the requirements of the open-cockpit car. Additionally, a new technical interior material, Ultrafabrics®, is another innovation for the vehicle. This synthetic material offers a very different proposition to leather, comprising four layers. The outer two surfaces provide durability and moisture resistance, and the inner layers add a reinforced rayon-fibre base and cushioning. It helps to ‘grip’ you in the seat. The McLaren Elva does not have an audio system (in line with the determination to minimize vehicle weight). Still, customers can specify at no additional cost a bespoke design. Further non-cost options include 5-Spoke Super-Lightweight forged alloy wheels instead of the 10-Spoke Ultra-lightweight wheels fitted as standard; track-focused Pirelli P Zero™ Corsa tires rather than Pirelli P Zero™ tires; and a vehicle lift system.

Alternatively, customers can select a Gloss Visual Carbon Fibre Body, which exposes the carbon fibre body panels and the perfectly aligned twill of the composite material. This can be further enhanced with a range of colour tints. McLaren Special Operations can also develop a bespoke hue for the exterior or interior carbon fibre. The McLaren Elva can also be personalized with 18ct white gold or platinum badges that feature a TPT inlay.

McLaren Elva

Such braking performance is essential because of the performance delivered by the 804bhp, 590ft-lb 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged McLaren V8 that powers the Elva. From the same family of engines that powers the McLaren Senna and Senna GTR, it features a flat-plane crankshaft, dry-sump lubrication and lightweight connecting camshafts, rods and pistons that reduce mass in the powertrain. The hypercar can sprint from 0- in less than three seconds, bringing on par with the McLaren Senna to 124mph at just 6.8 seconds.

McLaren Elva

The Ultimate Series McLaren is priced from $1,690.000; the final specification is determined by customer choice, with infinite possibilities in terms of personalization by McLaren Special Operations (MSO) to ensure each of the 149 Elvas is unique.


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