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McLaren Elva Gains a Windshield but Still Has No Roof

McLaren Elva Gains a Windshield but Still Has No Roof
McLaren Elva Gains a Windshield but Still Has No Roof
  • McLaren has released a version of the Elva with a windshield, but it still doesn't have a roof.
  • The addition adds a claimed 44 pounds.
  • It has the same 804-hp twin-turbocharged V-8 engine.

    We respect the purity of purpose of the McLaren Elva, the stripped hypercar lacking any form of physical weather protection. But we have more difficulty understanding McLaren’s announcement of a version that will have a windshield, but still no roof. Isn’t that missing the point a little?

    The actual logic behind the half-naked Elva is a more prosaic one. It is illegal to sell a car without a windshield in some parts of the world, and some states in the U.S. The company says it also anticipates that some buyers in less restricted markets will also prefer to the additional security of safety glass over the modest protection offered by the unadorned Elva’s clever Active Air Management System, which uses ducts and vents to divert airflow to create a low speed ‘bubble’ around the passenger compartment. McLaren anticipates the screen will add around 44 pounds in weight.

    The rest of the Elva is unchanged, with an 804-hp version of McLaren’s 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8. The company claims that the car accelerates to 62 mph in 2.8 seconds, and to 124 mph in just 6.8 seconds. The company makes no claims about the new car’s top speed, but we would be surprised if the windshield didn’t improve its high-speed aerodynamics. Yet the addition doesn’t improve the car’s looks; instead, it just emphasizes just how striking the unglazed version appears.

    McLaren originally planned to produce up to 399 of the Elva, each with a $1.7 million base price. That production figure has been substantially reduced, as the company began to realize the limited appeal of a car with so much performance and so little weather protection. McLaren has now pledged to make no more than 149. That figure still seems high compared to the limited-to-12 Bentley Mulliner Bacalar—which does have a windshield, but no roof—and the limited-to-88 Aston Martin V12 Speedster which is equally naked.

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