The Topless McLaren Elva Delivers the Visceral Thrill of Open-Air Motoring

Just like London buses, you wait ages for a roofless British hypercar and then two come along at the same time. While the Italian Ferrari Monza arguably started the extreme roadster trend in 2019, McLaren now has its Elva while Aston Martin has launched the V12 Speedster.

Both limited-edition models come without a roof or a windscreen, each offering a return to the visceral thrill of completely open-air motoring. Understandably, when seeing a chance to dance with the McLaren Elva, we cut right in.

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Priced at nearly $2 million—almost double that of the Aston Martin V12 Speedster—the madcap McLaren is best explained with a couple of technical stats. The 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V-8—mated to the marque’s seven-speed seamless-shift gearbox—is from the Senna hypercar and pushes out 804 hp, while the Elva weighs only 2,531 pounds, some 1,322 pounds less than the V12 Speedster.

The 804 hp McLaren Elva is priced at  million. - Credit: Photo: Courtesy of McLaren Automotive Limited.

The 804 hp

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2021 McLaren Elva First Drive: The Sensible Multimillion-Dollar Supercar

Let’s get right to it: The 2021 McLaren Elva is really, truly, absolutely wonderful. I’m trying to recall a time I felt this smitten after driving a car. Porsche Speedster? Yeah, that’s the most recent one, the Speedster being as close to perfection as it gets. The new 2021 McLaren Elva tickles the same spot and goes a bit deeper. It might not be closer to perfection, but it sails down a different, more elemental branch of driving. It’s more eccentric, with more whimsy, more of a wag, and more mischief, and again, it’s just plain wonderful. Yes, the Elva stickers for $1.7 million (before options), and there’s neither a windshield, a roof, or windows. Did I mention the carbon-fiber plaything makes 804 hp and is—with the exception of the F1—the lightest production McLaren ever built?

2021 McLaren Elva: The Air Out There

Since there’s no windscreen, there is McLaren’s

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