It’s been several weeks since a new supercar has been revealed by the chaps over in Woking, but that ends today as the McLaren Elva debuts to the world. The Elva is McLaren’s first open cockpit road car and just 399 units will be produced. The Elva is not dissimilar in concept to the two open-top Monza models by Ferrari, which you can read about at this link.

A historic nod

The McLaren Elva celebrates the Bruce McLaren-designed M1A and McLaren-Elva M1A racing cars of the 1960s (pictured above with its newer namesake). It is based on a bespoke carbon-fibre tub and body that has no roof, no windscreen and no side windows. McLaren says that in the Elva every sensory input heightened, this is a car that exists to provide unparalleled driving pleasure on road or track.

Special aero tuning has resulted in a cabin that isn’t buffeted by high-speed air. McLaren’s Active Air Management System (AAMS) channels air through the nose of the Elva to come out of the front clamshell at high velocity ahead of the occupants before being directed up over the cockpit to create a ‘bubble’ of calm.

The appearance of the McLaren Elva is the most unique of any recent model from the brand. Large, carbon-fibre rear fenders flow from the front of the door to the rear deck. Helmets can be worn, but the shape of the upper cabin wraps around the driver and passenger to provide a secure environment. A fixed windscreen derivative of the car is also available for most markets as a factory option.

Plenty of power

The Elva is powered by the firm’s familiar 4,0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine. In this vehicle it has been tuned to deliver a massive 588 kW along with peak torque of 800 N.m. The V8 features a flat-plane crankshaft, dry-sump lubrication and lightweight camshafts, conrods and pistons. Power is fed to the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. The engine breathes through an Inconel and titanium quad-exit exhaust that is said to deliver a unique soundtrack and enhances engine power by reducing back pressure.

Thanks to launch control functionality, McLaren says the Elva will spring from 0-100 km/h in less than three seconds, and they say the Elva is quicker than the McLaren Senna to 200 km/h at just 6,7 seconds. Think about that for a moment, this car gets to 200 as quick as a hot hatch gets to 100 km/h…