McLaren has gone to an awful lot of effort to make sure your face isn’t shredded when driving its speedster-style Elva hypercar. The enormously clever ‘Active Air Management System’ takes in high-pressure air via a duct in the nose, which is shifted through 120 degrees and spat out a vent at the top of the clamshell, effectively providing a windscreen made of air.
According to McLaren, the system is good enough to leave the cabin “in relative calm” at speeds of up to 70mph and judging by early road tests, it works very well. The problem is the Elva’s lack of physical windscreen isn’t compatible with the rules in some US states. So, Woking will let you spec one for free, making the car road legal across the country.
The windscreened Elva has now been revealed in full, and it looks much like you’d expect. The new screen doesn’t look too out of place, and the front clamshell has a cleaner look following the deletion of the huge outlet used for the regular version’s Active Air Management System.
Along with those looking for a car legal in all US states, McLaren is also pitching the option at “customers who prefer to have a physical screen”. But would you really want to spend upwards of £1,425,000 on a hypercar only to make it look and feel far less distinctive unless you absolutely had to? As arguably silly as these ‘speedster’ hypercars are, dumping a windscreen on the front seems to defeat the whole purpose. We’d like to think it’ll be a niche box to tick, but who knows - it’ll be interested to see how many non-US customers go for this.
In terms of pure performance and dynamics, at least, it’s all as per the open version of the Elva. The windscreen and its carbon fibre surround plus the rain-sensing wipers, washer jets and sun visors only add 20kg to the Elva’s pithy 1269kg (DIN) kerb weight. This means it’ll still happily do 0-62mph in 2.8 seconds and 0-124 in 6.7 thanks to a Senna-spec 803bhp twin-turbo V8. The new part doesn’t alter the stiffness of the vehicle either.
Originally, McLaren was set to build 399 Elvas, before slashing that number to 249, saying it wanted to protect its customer’s investments by making the car more exclusive. Not long after, the Elva’s cap was dropped further to 149, with the blame pinned on “compromised availability of parts” and a reduction of production slots caused by a Covid-19-forced factory shutdown.
This makes the Elva McLaren’s second most exclusive car from its modern iteration, beaten only by the Speedtail and its 106-unit production cap.