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New McLaren Elva roadster unveiled

14th Nov 2019 3:13 pm

New McLaren roadster is part of the brand's Ultimate Series range of supercars which also includes the P1, Senna and Speedtail. Only 399 units will be produced.

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McLaren has revealed the Elva, an 815hp, two-seat roadster with no windscreen, like its latest Ultimate Series model. The new machine, which was first revealed by our sister publication Autocar UK, joins the P1Senna and Speedtail in the range-topping model line-up and is limited to 399 examples.

McLaren claims the rear-wheel-drive Elva is the lightest road car it has ever produced. Powered by the firm’s 4.0-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 engine has a claimed 0-100kph time of under 3sec and a 0-200kph time of 6.7sec – that's faster than the track-focused Senna.

The name Elva is taken from the East Sussex constructor whose chassis was used as the basis for McLaren’s M1A, M1B and M1C two-seat sportscars in the 1960s, which serve as spiritual predecessors to the new road car. McLaren has acquired the rights to the name.

McLaren boss Mike Flewitt says the Elva is “a uniquely modern car that delivers the ultimate connection between driver, car and the elements”. It features a bespoke, lightweight carbon fibre chassis, with no roof, windscreen or side windows.

To shield occupants from the elements, McLaren has developed an Active Air Management System (AAMS). Automatically activated at speed, this system guides air through a large inlet in the splitter at the front of the Elva’s distinctive low nose and out of a clamshell ahead of the cabin. As a result, the air is channelled up and over the occupants to create a ‘bubble’ of calm. A small carbon fibre deflector rises from the front of the bonnet when the AAMS is active to direct the air, this is then deflected by the carbon fibre vanes across the bonnet.

When not active at low speeds, the air flow is diverted to two low-temperature radiators to boost their efficiency. McLaren claims the radiators boost the output of the engine by cooling the oil in the 7-speed transmission. The firm says the AAMS tech means helmets are not required but they can be worn if preferred, and a fixed windscreen will be offered as a factory option.

McLaren has made the cabin as open as possible with low sides, and by minimising the size of the twin rear buttresses by the use of an automatically deploying roll-over protection system.

McLaren’s traditional V8 engine has been tweaked for improved power output with a revamped exhaust system, while the chassis has been optimised to “maximise agility and driver engagement and feedback”, with electrohydraulic steering and unique software settings and springs.

The carmaker has yet to cite a weight for the car but says that it has been minimised where possible through the extensive use of carbon fibre. The front clamshell is formed from a one-piece panel, as are the large side panels. The small gullwing doors are carbon fibre too, mounted via a single hinge.

The sintered carbon-ceramic brakes measure 390mm, and McLaren claims they are the most advanced to be fitted to one of its road cars, with increased thermal conductivity that allows for reduced brake duct cooling.

The interior gets a carbon fibre element flowing from the rear buttresses into the cabin to serve as the central armrest between the driver and passenger. The dashboard sports an instrument cluster that moves with the steering wheel to ensure optimum visibility. The Active Dynamics controls are mounted on that instrument cluster – a first for a McLaren. A central 8-inch touchscreen is used for many of the car’s functions, including a track telemetry system.

The interior features lightweight carbon-fibre seats and is offered without an audio system as standard. The floor is exposed carbon fibre, with lightweight non-slip mats as standard. With the cockpit open to the elements, the Elva is offered with a range of trims designed to cope with exposure to rain, sunlight and other intrusions. A small storage compartment, designed to house helmets, is located beneath the rear tonneau.

The Elva is expected to reach international markets late next year after the production run of the Speedtail is completed.

Also see:

McLaren Elva image gallery

McLaren 720S Spider officially unveiled

The fastest production car by decade

Copyright (c) Autocar UK. All rights reserved.


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