Unveiled in 2019, the limited-edition McLaren Elva promised to free motorists from the constraints of sitting behind a windshield. Not all bugs taste good, and not all governments take a fancy to cars without a windshield, so McLaren has listened to customer feedback and introduced a variant of the Elva that’s fitted with a full windshield.
McLaren identified the two main factors that convinced it to give the Elva its first and only piece of glass. First, some buyers disliked the virtual canopy (called Active Air Management System in McLaren-speak) that was fitted to replace the windshield. Second, getting the Elva registered for road use without a windshield was challenging in some areas, notably in a handful of states in America. Adding this option is expected to broaden the car’s appeal.
Windshield aside, the Elva hasn’t changed. It’s still not offered with door windows, a rear window, or a roof.
Lightweight construction is one of the Elva’s claims to fame; without a windshield, it tips the scale at about 2,900 pounds. McLaren notes the windshield adds roughly 44 pounds, which is impressive considering that figure includes the glass, its carbon fiber frame, a pair of sun visors, and the rain-sensing wipers. The extra weight has no effect on the the Elva’s performance numbers, including its sub-three-second sprint from zero to 60 mph, and McLaren has not made mechanical changes. Power still comes from an 804-horsepower, twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8.
McLaren initially planned to build 399 units of the Elva, but it dropped that number to 249 several months after the car’s unveiling. While it didn’t reveal how many of those will be built with a windshield, it predicted the new variant will become one of the rarest production cars it has ever made. Deliveries are scheduled to start in early 2021. Pricing hasn’t been announced, but remember the regular Elva costs around $1.7 million before options.