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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Loud, powerful, visceral: What happens to the V8 engine in an electric car world?

They’re loud, powerful and as American as apple pie.

And they could soon become extinct.

The fabled V8 engine that powers American muscle cars and European exotics has been slowly losing its standing with carmakers and motorists. Smaller, more fuel-efficient four- and six-cylinder engines have overtaken the V8 as CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards tighten.

The V8 got a crushing blow last month when General Motors, the industry behemoth behind the Corvette, Camaro and Silverado truck, announced that 40% of the company’s U.S. models will be battery electric vehicles (BEV) by the end of 2025. That’s not all: GM said it plans to eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles by 2035.

Automotive insiders were already bracing for a possible all-electric ‘Vette. Then Ford, GM’s domestic rival and

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