One of the most common product strategies in the automotive world is to offer something that pays tribute to the past. For example, the Ford GT sports car is a tribute to the legendary GT40. After about eight attempts at Ford, the GT40 finally had a successor, namely a larger version with more modern elements.
across the Atlantic, McLaren is known for its ultra-fast and ultra-fast supercars. The supercar lineup currently includes the 720S, 720S Spider, 765LT, 765LT Spider and the Artura. It also offers the so-called Ultimate Series, which includes the Senna, Senna GTR, Speedtail and the Elva. Those who call them slow need to recalibrate their speed settings.
Under McLaren’s Ultimate Series, the Elva seemed like an odd man out. It differs from its current siblings in many ways, especially in appearance. But still, it offers pure driving pleasure – but with a twist from the past. After all, it celebrates McLaren’s glorious racing past.
Being a unique ultimate proposition, the Elva comes with several features. All of these contribute to the overall dynamic look of McLaren’s most extreme roadster to date. Let’s take a look at the best features of the McLaren Elva.
Open cockpit, extreme two-seater, inspired by the past
McLaren unveiled the Elva at the end of 2019 as the extreme roadster designed for ultimate driving pleasure† the roadster is his first-ever open cockpit car. Only 149 copies were available for customers to order, starting at approximately $1.69 million. However, the final price will depend on the degree of customization by McLaren Special Operations (MSO).
The choice of name is fitting for the roadster, as the Elva celebrates famous cars of the 1960s – M1A and McLaren – Elva M1A (Mk I), M1B (Mk II) and M1C (Mk III) – all designed by the legendary Bruce McLaren. The first of these race cars was the Elva M1A, which featured a tubular steel frame, a pointed nose and the lack of a rear lip. Like all these racers, the modern Elva lacks a roof and the driver can also wear a helmet when driving the roadster.
No windshield but with the world’s first aero protection
Initially, the McLaren Elva had no windscreen. Only a year and a half later McLaren introduced a version of the Elva with a windscreen. Nevertheless, even without the windshield, the Elva ensures that the oncoming wind will not affect the occupants and their open-air driving experience.
This is made possible by a world first: the Active Air Management System (AAMS). This system consists of a large central intake above the splitter, a front clamshell exhaust opening and a discreet carbon fiber deflector that goes up and down vertically.
With the AAMS, air flows through the nose of the roadster and exits the front clamshell at high speed just ahead of the occupants. The air then moves up over the cockpit, creating a relative ‘bubble’ of calm.
At low speeds, the airflow in the cab is acceptable, meaning AAMS is not needed and remains inactive. But as the Elva accelerates, the AAMS automatically activates and stays active until the roadster brakes.
Nevertheless, for the sake of aesthetics, customers can also specify a windshield.
804-HP Turbo V8: gone in less than 3 seconds
Working wonders for the McLaren Elva is the core: a powerful V8 engine. Part of the same engine family found under the hood of its Ultimate Series siblings (McLaren Senna and Senna GTR), the 4.0-litre, twin-turbo McLaren V8 mill is capable of a delivering maximum power of 804 hp and 590 lb-ft. couple.
To help achieve this power level, McLaren used an optimized exhaust system with reduced back pressure, as well as improved LTR performance to lower the intake air temperature. The lightweight titanium and Inconel exhaust system features two lower outlets on either side of a dual top-mounted outlet.
As a result of these optimisations, the 4.0-litre, twin-turbocharged McLaren V8 enables the Elva to zoom from zero to 100 km/h in less than three seconds. It also allows the Elva to reach a speed of 124 mph in 6.8 seconds, making it just as fast as the McLaren Senna in this sprint.
The power of the Elva is supported by a chassis configuration that maximizes agility and driver involvement, aided by electro-hydraulic steering and McLaren linked hydraulic full active suspension.
Lightweight carbon fiber all over Elva
McLaren has used carbon fiber monocoque as the basis for its cars since 1981. Some 40 years later, the Elva still benefits from this technology. The fairing used for the Elva is both strong and rigid, meaning it requires no further support, unlike cars with an aluminum or steel chassis. There is also another advantage: McLaren was able to make the Elva as light as possible.
For the Elva, McLaren used carbon fiber to the greatest effect: the entire body of the Ultimate series roadsters is made of carbon fiber. The front clamshell is a one-piece carbon fiber panel that wraps around the nose of the car, while the side panels extend from the front wheels to the active rear spoiler. The doors and even the floor of the Elva are made entirely of carbon fiber.
Furthermore, McLaren also used 390mm sintered carbon-ceramic discs for the braking system, which the carmaker first used on the McLaren Senna. On the Elva, the system uses titanium caliper pistons.
Source: McLaren Automotive
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