I touched the seven-figure no-windshield McLaren Elva last night and it was like that scene in Ratatouille where the bad guy tastes food so good he gets transported back to his childhood. This car is like a Hot Wheels toy. One of the dumb ones that looks like a fish or something. Except, in real life, it’s so iconoclastic and absurd that it stands out even among other supercars.
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In 2013, I truly thought fast cars had plateaued. The 2014 Porsche 991 911 Turbo S could hit 60 mph (97 kmh) from a standstill in a claimed mere 2.9 seconds. There was no way we could crack that. But cars have since gotten faster and faster. And now we have McLaren’s CEO saying the next McLaren supercar will pull off the feat in a targeted 2.3 seconds. What.
Well damn, you may as well throw your McLaren Senna right in the trash heap because the British supercar maker just bested itself again. The new 2020 McLaren Elva is lighter, faster with an 804 horsepower twin-turbo V8, and audacious in its lack of a windshield and windows.
The pick of the litter, for my money (I have no money), is a Koenigsegg One:1, which went for $US4.6 ($7) million and which Koenigsegg was previously extremely mad online about. But there are just so many, including a McLaren P1 ($2 million), a Lamborghini Veneno ($12 million), an Aston Martin One-77 ($2 million), a Ferrari Enzo ($5 million), and a Porsche 918 Spyder ($2 million.)
While on the McLaren 720S Spider drive last week, I was poking around in the cabin and noticed a little button nestled in the center console to the left of the button that electronically lowers and raises the roof. This, as it turns out, is the little button that controls the car’s powered rear window. Yes, you read that right: The 720S Spider has a powered rear window! This is extremely rad! Exclamation point!
Ferrari’s 488 Spider is an absolute gem of a car, with striking good looks, unbelievably good turbocharged V8 motivation, and confidence-inspiring mid-engine dynamics that make it feel a little bit like a stupid fast 981 Boxster (That’s a really good thing, I promise). McLaren is smashing a gauntlet across the 488's aggressive face, and throwing it down with a new 720S Spider that is 88kg lighter than the Fezza, with an extra 50 horses for good measure.
This week McLaren gave us another glimpse of its first Speedtail prototype ahead of real-world testing. It's absolutely stunning, but what caught my eye above all else was the name.
McLaren is known for its alphanumeric naming system - like the P1 and 720S. It wasn't until the Senna, which was named after McLaren F1 driver Ayrton Senna, that the car manufacturer decided to look at more traditional nameplates.
Which brings us to the Speedtail, which has been dubbed 'Albert'. Yeah, really.
Upon learning of the McLaren Speedtail’s flexible carbon fibre rear ailerons, I shot off a couple of emails to McLaren to learn more about how and why its engineers pulled this off. Here’s what I learned.
I’ve made no secret of my disdain for the McLaren Senna’s visage (and the rest of it, for that matter). I find its design to be harsh, rude, incohesive and butt-ugly. Unlike the very sleek and excellent 720S. But this very well could become one of those cases where I’ll stomach the way it looks because of how incredibly it performs.
If you’re into exotic cars, you’re probably living in the best era for them. No longer the scarce things they once were, you can get your mitts on more of them than ever before. AMG makes legit supercars, Aston Martin’s range is ever expanding, Ferrari’s on a roll lately, Lamborghini’s SUV is… a thing, and McLaren’s determined to bring out as many new models as it can. And the new McLaren 600LT comes to the family as the smallest McLaren for people who are constantly late for things.
McLaren’s Formula One cars have been fairly terrible as of late, but its high-end road cars are unimpeachable. They’re big, beefy, twin-turbo V8 carbon-eaters, although McLaren admits the future is electrified and possibly even fully electric. So an announcement from the company today could be a big step in that direction.
McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt wants to be very clear about whether or not his company would join the current climate of performance luxury SUVs from Bentley, Lamborghini, Porsche and so on. Not only would it be too expensive to develop and not fit the brand, but McLaren customers apparently don’t even want one.
A quick glance at the speedo in the $1.3 million, 789 horsepower McLaren Senna showed I was knocking on 300 km/h, and quick brain math meant that was nearing 186 mph. My foot stayed planted on the gas. Then at the 200 meter board... I stood on the brakes to make turn one at Estoril. We lost over 100 km/h in no time at all.