Matt Robinson profile picture Matt Robinson a month ago 12
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The 803bhp Senna-Engined McLaren Elva Has No Roof Or Windscreen

McLaren's latest Ultimate Series machine is its lightest product ever and has a clever way of stopping your face being rearranged at speed

Remind me later
Mclaren - The 803bhp Senna-Engined McLaren Elva Has No Roof Or Windscreen - News

The mad-as-a-box-of-frogs open-cockpit McLaren Ultimate Series model first teased a few months ago has been revealed in full. The big surprise? Even though the hypercar - dubbed the ‘Elva’ - packs 803bhp, it won’t completely destroy your face each time you go anywhere near the throttle pedal.

To compensate for the complete lack of roof or windscreen, McLaren has developed an ‘Active Air Management System’. Air is forced through a slot just above the front splitter, which is then chucked out of a vent forward of the exposed cabin. This high-pressure chunk of air acts as a barrier, protecting occupants from the airstream.

The McLaren Elva uses the same engine as the Senna
The McLaren Elva uses the same engine as the Senna

At lower speeds when your precious mug doesn’t need protecting, a carbonfibre diverts that air to the intakes for the radiators. Clever.

The rest of the ingredients are more familiar - it’s built around a modified version of McLaren’s tried and tested MonoCage carbonfibre safety cell and is powered by a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8. The unit is lifted from the Senna, but as the Elva is rocking a new part 3D-printed exhaust, it’s slightly more powerful. Torque meanwhile sits at 590lb ft.

Mclaren - The 803bhp Senna-Engined McLaren Elva Has No Roof Or Windscreen - News

Although McLaren hasn’t given a weight figure yet, we do know the Elva is lighter than the Senna. And anything else Woking has made for the road in the modern era, for that matter. As a consequence, 0-62mph happens in less than three seconds, with 124mph coming up from rest in 6.7 - a tenth brisker than the Senna.

Mclaren - The 803bhp Senna-Engined McLaren Elva Has No Roof Or Windscreen - News

The usual McLaren hydraulically linked dampers are present and correct, although they have a bespoke setup here to make the Elva more pleasant and cosseting to drive. That’s a key message here - this is primarily for the road, not the track.

That said, it does feature a whopping set of 390mm carbon-ceramic discs squeezed by aluminium calipers with titanium pistons. You won’t find those on any other Macca.

Mclaren - The 803bhp Senna-Engined McLaren Elva Has No Roof Or Windscreen - News

Like other Ultimate Series cars, the Elva shirks the usual bunch o’ numbers McLaren naming convention. Instead, it takes its name of the McLaren-Elva M1A, a Chevrolet V8-powered racer built under the instruction of Bruce McLaren in the 1960s.

So it’s bonkers, clever, very fast and has a nice historical connection. All of which McLaren will charge top dollar for - the Elva starts at £1,425,000. Only 399 will be made.