Meet the McLaren Elva – photographed by Simon Puschmann.

22 January 2020

Meet the lightest production McLaren ever made, and the first open-cockpit road car from Woking. It’s called the McLaren Elva, and it’s the latest car to slot into the brand’s range-topping Ultimate series range. That’s the same bracket as the Senna and the Speedtail.

As you’d expect from its superhero looks and Ultimate Series tag, Woking’s Ferrari SP1 rival is going to be pretty exclusive: just 399 will be made with a list price of £1,425,000.

However, the Elva isn’t about ultimate performance or silly v-max luxury. This new entry to the Ultimare Series has more power than the Senna, but less downforce – and no windscreen either. Driver engagment is the key here, not outright speed.

On the outside, the Elva looks like a mixture of Ferrari SP1 and McLaren’s own 720S. There’s no roof or windscreen (unless you specifically want one) but McLaren claims passengers won’t be blown around by buffeting, either.

Enter McLaren’s new Active Air Management System (they do love a good acronym in Woking, don’t they?). Essentially designed to manhandle air around the cabin, AAMS forces slipstream away from the cockpit between 30-70mph. When engaged a flap is able to stall air while large vents on the bonnet of the car force out another stream of air through a 130-degree radius.

This basically wrestles air around the Elva, and creates a ‘bubble’ when combined with the free-flowing air you get when the car is in motion. McLaren is keen to point out just how good the system was, saying just below motorway speeds it’s possible to hold a conversation.

Thanks to Car Magazine for these words.

Thanks to VCCP for the commission.