McLaren’s Ultimate Series of supercars gets a new member in the form of the brand-new Elva. The $1.69-million Elva shares its name and design inspiration with the McLaren-Elva M1A racecar of the 1960s.

Just like its spiritual successor, the McLaren Elva lacks a roof and windows. There is a windshield, although it is available as an option in certain markets. McLaren is confident that the occupants will not miss the windshield since the Elva is designed to create an aerodynamic “bubble” that encapsulates them.

McLaren Elva

No roof, no windows, no windshield. The Elva is McLaren's tribute to one of its most popular race cars.

A new vent starting from the car’s nose exits just ahead of the passenger area. Guided by an active deflector that rises up to 150mm, turbulent air passing through the vent flows over the passenger area, saving those onboard from buffeting.

The McLaren Elva features a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine making 804hp. It can sprint to 100kph within three seconds, while 200kph comes up in 6.7 seconds. That is faster than the fantastic McLaren Senna. The British carmaker has thoughtfully included storage for two helmets under the tonneau cover, since no amount of aerodynamic trickery will protect the occupants once speeds rise.

McLaren has equipped its latest Ultimate Series model with an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainments system, customisable leather upholstery, and assorted creature comforts. Although its focus is outright performance, the Elva does not compromise on safety either.

McLaren Elva 2021

Generations apart but made of the same principles. Seen here are the McLaren Elva M1A and its modern namesake.

Finally, the carmaker’s aim with the Elva is to recreate its successor’s concept of open-top lightweight sports cars. Light weight, no roof, mid-mounted engine – the McLaren Elva stays true to the core attributes of its nameplate. Oh, and it is the lightest ever road car from the marque yet, thanks to its advanced carbon fibre Monocell II construction.

McLaren has a rich motorsport legacy and an impressive number of sports cars to draw inspiration from. Much like the Senna that celebrated one of McLaren’s most celebrated racing drivers, the Elva reimagines the company’s dominant line of racing cars of the 1960s.

McLaren had announced an aggressive lineup of sports cars following the launch of the MP4-12C. At the time, the statement appeared too bold to be true. Looking at the vision of the British sports car maker, there is no doubt that the Ultimate Series has a lot more to give.