New Model News

The new McLaren Elva is an extreme roadster that oozes sex appeal

McLaren has introduced a new car, its lightest to date, the Elva.

Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive

The Elva is McLaren Automotive's new Ultimate Series roadster. It's an open-cockpit two-seater based on 1960s design with 804 horsepower. Bite your lip accordingly.

The Elva name originates with the Bruce McLaren-designed M1A and McLaren-Elva M1A, M1B, and M1C of the 1960s, which were produced as consumer variants of the Group 7 McLaren race cars.

McLaren Elva 2020 2019 front The front of the car is very McLaren with a deep nose and minimal badging.Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive

"McLaren continues to push the boundaries of supercar and hypercar development in pursuit of outstanding and unparalleled driving experiences for our customers, and the McLaren Elva epitomizes that pioneering spirit," said Mike Flewitt, CEO, McLaren Automotive. "The McLaren-Elva M1A [Mk1] and its successors are in many ways the true spiritual forerunners of today's McLarens – superlight, mid-engined cars with the highest levels of performance and dynamic excellence. It's fitting that the new McLaren Ultimate Series roadster – a uniquely modern car that delivers the ultimate connection between driver, car and the elements and with that new heights of driving pleasure on road or track – acknowledges our rich heritage with the Elva name."

The Elva retains many of McLaren's signature exterior and interior design lines. It has a low nose with animalistic McLaren badging. There are also pronounced front fender peaks and at the rear are carbon fiber rear fenders that flow into the lines of two rear buttresses that deploy to activate a roll-over protection system.

McLaren Elva 2020 2019 side tires wheels A fixed windshield can be added in some markets.Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive

McLaren built this car to blur lines. The automaker is touting the car's "unparalleled driver engagement" and takes the stance that the absence of a roof, windscreen, and windows ensure an "incredibly immersive and enthralling experience." Cue the lambswool-lined racing goggles. A fixed windshield is also available.

The automaker has designed the Active Air Management System to deploy when the car is traveling at moderate and high speed. The technology changes the airflow of the car to keep the cockpit calm rather than the traditional rough rumble you get when you put down a soft top.

"Our mission with the McLaren Elva was to create an open-cockpit, two-seat roadster that delivers the most elemental of driving experiences," said Rob Melville, Design Director, McLaren Automotive. "Formula 1-inspired shrink-wrapped volumes create a technical sculpture that is as striking as it is remarkable, the exterior flowing into the interior in a stunning example of a new and unique McLaren 'blurred boundaries' design principle that has allowed us to seamlessly bring the outside in to further enhance driver engagement while remaining true to our philosophy of making no compromises."

McLaren Elva 2020 2019 side tires wheels roof The roofless model is a provocative design.Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive

It gets its power from a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter McLaren V8 that is paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission. The car gets from zero to 62 mph in under three seconds. Its zero to 124 mph time is quicker than the McLaren Senna at just 6.7 seconds.

Pushing on the accelerator brings the car to life. Its Inconel and titanium quad exhaust professes a befitting throaty growl as the engine obliges.

The car has a linked-hydraulic active suspension and electro-hydrauling steering, which delivers the heightened level of feedback performance car drivers want.

This is the lightest road car that McLaren has ever built. It features a bespoke carbon fiber chassis and body, carbon fiber seats, and sintered carbon ceramic brakes.

McLaren Elva 2020 2019 back rear There is very little storage space in the Elva, but that's okay.Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive

It rides standard on 10-spoke ultra-lightweight wheels that are shoed with Pirelli P Zero tires. Five-spoke super-lightweight forged alloy wheels and Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires are available. A vehicle lift system comes standard.

The interior is properly appointed with composite materials and the right amount of modern technology. The car's design makes the driver and passenger feel as if they're in a cocoon. McLaren has integrated the controls for the Active Dynamics system into the instrument cluster and equipped the car with drive mode switches near the gearshift paddles.

It does not comes standard with an audio system but customers can add a bespoke one at no additional cost. A 24-carat gold engine bay heat shield and 18-carat white gold or platinum badges with a TFT inlay are also available.

McLaren Elva 2020 2019 interior cockpit cabin The interior of the Elva is finished in high-quality premium materials designed to withstand the elements.Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive

A six-point racing harness is available.

There is storage space below the car's rear tonneau cover, which is secured with soft-close latches.

McLaren is selling just 399 Elva models, which start at $1.69 million each. The final price of each car depends on the customer's level of personalization by McLaren Special Operations.

Customer deliveries of the McLaren Elva are scheduled to begin near the end of 2020.

Trending News

 
 

Automotive auction

Mecum Auctions is ready for 2022

The Mecum Kissimmee Auction will feature a handful of rare, low-mileage supercars.

Mecum

Today marks the end of 2021, and 2022 is looking to be an exciting one for auto enthusiasts. Mecum Auctions, one of the most prominent and popular automotive auction companies around, is ready for the year with its Kissimmee 2022 auction. Though the event takes place over an eleven-day period, the automotive portion of the auction takes place from January 6 through January 16 in Kissimmee, FL.

2021 Ferrari SF90 Stradale Low-mileage exotics are just the start. Mecum

Many auto auctions feature impressive vehicles, and this one is no exception. Everything from a 725-mile 2016 Pagani Huayra to a crew of classic Corvettes will cross the block, and there will be a few full-collection auctions. The Don Salmon Collection features 62 American muscle cars, including Corvettes, Impalas, Mustangs, and more. The Gary Thomas Collection is on offer as well, featuring 33 Ford and Shelby vehicles.

In addition to classic American cars, a collection of six low-mileage supercars are on offer, including #100/106 McLaren Speedtail with just 194 miles, a 2021 Ferrari SF90 Stradale with 57 miles, a 2021 Ferrari 812 GTS with 138 miles, and a 2021 Ferrari F8 Spider with 66 miles. Two Mercedes-AMG cars join that impressive group, including a 2018 AMG GT R and a 2020 AMG GT R.

1967 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe As usual, the auction will feature several rare American muscle cars. Mecum

If you're hoping to bid on a lot at the auction, registration is available online and on-site at the event. The cost to register is $200, but if you just want to look around, you can buy a general admission ticket for $20 in advance or $30 at the door.

Trending News

 
 

New affordable sports sedan

The new VW Jetta GLI may be more GTI than the real GTI

The GLI is slower than a GTI but offers all the driving fun.

Victoria Scott

The Jetta GLI has always occupied a strange niche in the Volkswagen model line. The GTI is typically the go-to affordable sports Volkswagen, and the GLI has always felt like the compromise proposition for Volkswagen buyers; it was hard to endorse choosing the relatively soft, grown-up sedan vs. the youthful, more-tightly tuned hot hatch. And with the Golf moving to a four-door-only offering four years ago, it made the Jetta even less appealing, as the outgoing GTI actually offered more cargo space than the Jetta and still kept an accessible back seat.

2022 VW Jetta GLI A turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four and a six-speed manual transmission are standard.Victoria Scott

But the MK7 GTI is no more, and now the relatively forgotten GLI has a chance to stand outside the shadow of its five-door sibling. Volkswagen has fully revamped the GTI and Golf R for the 2022 model year, but the Jetta GLI persists with the last-generation interior and drivetrain that it shared with the outgoing GTI. The GLI has been refreshed for the 2022 model year, but make no mistake, under the skin, it’s the same as it has been since its introduction in 2019.

On paper, this makes it look relatively weak compared to its newest hot-hatch sibling. The GLI still persists with the third-generation EA888 2.0L turbocharged inline four, with 228 HP and 258 ft-lbs of torque; the GTI now punches out 13 more horsepower and 15 more ft-lbs with its fourth-revision EA888. All lower trims of the GLI have been dropped, with only the fully-loaded Autobahn edition offered at an MSRP of $30,995, which makes it roughly $1,500

more than the base price of the all-new GTI on offer. The GTI has actually gained a slight amount of cargo capacity, now offering just shy of 20 cubic feet, whereas the Jetta offers just 14.1 cubic feet. Nearly everything in the spec sheets favors the newest iteration of the hot hatch over the sporty Jetta.

2022 VW Jetta GLI The new GLI makes its limits clear through a communicative steering system and chassis tuning.Victoria Scott

When I drove the GLI, it was at a media event in Asheville, North Carolina, through some of the most fun and challenging roads East of the Mississippi. I bookended my hot-Jetta driving experience with the all-new MK8 GTI and Golf R, and as I’ve written here before, those two cars didn’t quite cut it for me. They’re both incredibly competent and quick hatches, but the newest iteration of VW’s infotainment makes the interiors feel considerably less usable, and the handling dynamics are now more buttoned-up and refined. Surely, the new MK8 GTI will be faster around a track than the outgoing MK7 generation car, but it didn’t strike me as nearly as much fun. With the Golf line, fun should be key; the first generation GTI had all of a whopping 108 horsepower and that was still plenty to define an entire generation of sports cars, because it was so damn enjoyable.

And so I was sad to report that the shift to the MK8 is the first step back in the history of the long-running VW line, and driving it made me nostalgic for the wholehearted embrace of driver amusement and driver involvement that the MK7 had mastered. And lo and behold, the GLI is right there, still persisting with its last generation interior that still has physical dials and buttons, and it finally has a chance to be appreciated in the way it’s always deserved to. The lesser numbers belie the true point of the new GLI: It is the final hurrah of the MK7 generation’s perfected formula.

2022 VW Jetta GLI The GLI is every bit as capable as an everyday cruiser as a normal Jetta.Victoria Scott

So as soon as the GLI is evaluated off of the specification paperwork and on the streets, it shines. The new sheet metal looks sharp, and helps give the GLI some of the aggression it’s always been missing as the softer, more adult GTI sibling. The interior is mostly unchanged from the outgoing generation’s layout with the exception of the unfortunate capacitive-touch steering wheel shared across the VW line, but there are still physical controls for volume and climate control, and that’s enough to make it a pleasant place to be. Because the only trim available is now the fully-loaded Autobahn package, it has all of the finest tech and driver comforts VW currently offers, including Volkswagen’s excellent IQ.Drive driver-assistance package and a bumpin’ BeatsAudio 400-watt sound system. The seats are comfortable, the interior is quiet, and the driving position is relaxed enough that even when eating highway miles, it feels like a usable daily driver in the way a Jetta is expected to be. Whip it through some corners, though, and it truly makes its case.

2022 VW Jetta GLI The GLI remembers that fun doesn't show up on a stat sheet.Victoria Scott

On the two-hundred-plus tight corners of my test roads in the hills of Asheville, the GLI’s chassis felt excited in a way that the GTI no longer does. On hard braking, there’s noticeable weight transfer from front to rear that doesn’t loosen the tail but loads the front suspension in a lively, predictable manner. The Hankooks scream long before the nose gently understeers at the limit in a way that’s extremely easy to anticipate and forgiving when you do push a bit too hard. The body doesn’t suffer from excessive roll but it lets you know that it’s feeling the G’s in the same way you are; it is not a corner-terminator perfectly optimized for lap times in the same way the newest hatches are, and it’s more fun for it. The steering feel is less surgical than the MK8’s, but it makes the car more engaging in the switchbacks of North Carolina’s finest twisties. Boost comes on with just the slightest delay, and the GLI’s engine management tuning encourages revving it all the way out.

2022 VW Jetta GLI The GLI now gets 13.4-inch brake rotors for incredible stopping power.Victoria Scott

All of these traits make it slower than the new GTI, but as a driver just looking for a fun run through some incredible roads, it made me much more captivated by the GLI. As I’d line up a corner I’d actually need to throw it down a gear, make sure I nailed my braking points, and give it as much power as I could as early as I could and let the now-standard LSD yank me out of the corner. I could do all of this on the tight roads of NC-209 because I never was unclear where the limits were, thanks to how expressive the chassis tuning is and how progressively the front end loses traction. Slamming the brakes late into a corner is more confidence-inspiring than ever, too, because the GLI now gets the massive 13.4” brake rotors that previously only the MK7 Golf R had. And for an extra dose of fun, where the MK8 gained a dose of quiet and moderation, the GLI didn’t - it barks on downshifts, and it sounds great doing it.

2022 VW Jetta GLI Competition for the GLI is stronger now than ever before, with several great affordable performance cars hitting the market this year.Victoria Scott

Granted, it’s not all perfect. Downsides of the MK7 were few, but they’re still present: the manual transmission is unchanged along with the rest of the drivetrain, and so the six-speed I drove suffered from typical VW long throws and vague feel, and I did miss the new generation’s electronic brake booster as the day went on and I began to feel the GLI’s pedal fade. The price is admittedly a bit high for what it offers, with strong competition from the likes of Hyundai’s Elantra N and Honda’s 11th generation Civic Si inbound, both likely to start slightly cheaper.

But at its core, the new GLI nails Volkswagen’s ethos for affordable sports cars with such deftness that at the end of my day in Asheville, when we could take out any of the new Volkswagens we’d driven for more photos or driving time, I walked right past the technologically superior all-new hatchbacks and straight back to the GLI. A car can always be improved on paper, sure, but the GLI remembers that fun doesn’t show up on a stat sheet, and I love it for that.

Trending News