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Jay Leno Takes the McLaren Elva Out for a Spin, Thinks It’s the Ultimate Convertible Car

People have mixed reactions when it comes to the McLaren Elva. It seats in the same spot as the Porsche 909 Bergspyder and the Ferrari Monza SP2 - no windshield. But Jay Leno thinks it’s the ultimate convertible and is a fun car to drive swiftly instead of fast.
Jay Leno McLaren Elva 10 photos
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Jay Leno got the exclusive chance to review the Ultimate Series car, McLaren Elva, an 804 HP convertible with zero protection from gushing wind and road debris.

Elva's Chief engineer, Andrew Kay, joined him for a spirited drive in a car that, according to McLaren, has one mission - driver immersion.

Like the Monza SP2, the Elva comes with a unique aerodynamic system that directs air over the windshield-less beauty to protect the driver from elements. At speed, it sort of creates a bubble of air that goes over the passengers.

After working on the McLaren 720 Spyder, Kay got a request from his bosses to work on an Ultimate Series car for McLaren. Their request was pretty straightforward, they needed a topless vehicle with a weight target.

Jay Leno initially thought the McLaren Elva was dumb, but the more he thought about it, he realized it was the ultimate expression of a concept not done many times before.

The Elva is not just about unique aero designs. It has “Senna” handling, mind-boggling performance, and lightweight carbon-fiber construction. It weighs just about 1,269 kg with 70 liters of fuel, which is about 50 kg lighter than the McLaren Senna.

Its wild, unique design can easily distract from the Elva’s highest credential - remarkable performance. It packs a Senna twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8, making a whopping 804 HP and 800 Nm of torque. According to McLaren, the Elva can do 0 to 62 mph (100 kph) in sub-3-seconds and 0 to 124 mph (200 kph) in 6.7-seconds.

Behind the wheel, Leno immediately feels it is fun, comfortable, and exciting. Unlike the Monza SP2, the Elva comes with a deflector that helps redirect air. He confesses it rides a little bit smoother, even in sport mode.

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