No windscreen, but an Active Air Management System channels air up over the cockpit to create a relative ‘bubble’ of calm.
No windscreen, but an Active Air Management System channels air up over the cockpit to create a relative ‘bubble’ of calm.
Image: Supplied

With 600kW of power, but no roof, windscreen or side windows, McLaren’s new Elva supercar promises a toupee-tugging experience.

The latest speed chaser from the British stable is the brand’s first open-cockpit road car and only 399 are being built at £1.425m (R27m) a piece, before import duties.

McLaren’s hair-ruffler offers the “ultimate connection between driver, car and the elements”, says Mike Flewitt, CEO McLaren Automotive. “With every sensory input heightened, this is a car that exists to provide unparalleled driving pleasure on road or track.”

The car is part of the brand’s Ultimate Series lineage that also includes P1, Senna, and Speedtail.

Like all McLarens the Elva is made of carbon fibre. It’s the lightest road car McLaren has built and it’s even more powerful than the track-focused 588kW Senna. The 4.0l turbocharged V8 engine fires power to the rear wheels through a seven-speed seamless-shift gearbox, and with the aid of launch control the car blitzes the 0-100km/h sprint in under three seconds. It’s even quicker than the McLaren Senna to 200km/h at just 6.7 seconds.

It has Comfort, Sport and Track modes to adapt the driving characteristics for the driver mood or environment. The level of available wheelspin and oversteer can be adjusted with Electronic Stability Control and Variable Drift Control.

With every sensory input heightened, this is a car that exists to provide unparalleled driving pleasure, says McLaren.
With every sensory input heightened, this is a car that exists to provide unparalleled driving pleasure, says McLaren.
Image: Supplied

With its open cockpit the Elva gives new meaning to the term “immersive experience”, but clever aerodynamics help to reduce the hurricane effect inside the supercar’s cabin with an Active Air Management System (AAMS) that channels air over the cockpit to create a relative “bubble” of calm.

Owners can also specify a windscreen on request.

The Elva name pays homage to McLaren Elvas of the 1960s, which company founder Bruce McLaren built as “customer” versions of his race cars.

It’s a car that will leave you stirred and shaken.

“Our mission with the McLaren Elva was to create an open-cockpit, two-seat roadster that delivers the most elemental of driving experiences,” says Rob Melville, design director McLaren Automotive. “Formula 1-inspired shrink-wrapped volumes create a technical sculpture that is as striking as it is remarkable.”

This article was originally published by the Business Day.

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