McLaren has whipped the covers off its new Elva, with the new Ultimate Series roadster billed as the brand’s first open-cockpit road car.

Like its P1, Senna and Speedtail that went before it, production of the new Elva will be “strictly limited”, in this case to 399 units.

Where does the Elva name come from? Well, the firm says it serves to celebrate the Bruce McLaren-designed M1A and McLaren-Elva M1A, M1B and M1C of the 1960s.

Described as an “extreme" two-seater with a bespoke carbon-fibre chassis and body but no roof, no windscreen (although the brand says a "fixed-windscreen derivative will be available) and no side windows, the new Elva is powered by a fettled version of the brand's twin-turbo 4,0-litre V8.

Offering 600 kW and 800 N.m to the rear wheels via a seven-speed “seamless-shift” gearbox, the V8 facilitates a zero to 100 km/h sprint in “less than three seconds”, with 200 km/h reached in a claimed 6,7 seconds (that’s quicker than the Senna!). It certainly helps that this is lightest vehicle weight of any road car produced by McLaren Automotive...

The Woking-based firm says a new active air management system channels air through the nose of the Elva and out the front clamshell at “high velocity” ahead of the occupants, before being directed over the cockpit to create a “relative bubble of calm”.

Interestingly, stowage space (with room for two helmets) is offered beneath the rear tonneau. Crafted from carbon-fibre, the curving single-piece panel is operated manually and secured with soft-close latches.

In the interests of weight-saving, McLaren Elva does not have an audio system as standard but customers can specify a bespoke system at no additional cost. Further no-cost options include five-spoke super-lightweight forged alloy wheels in place of the 10-spoke ultra-lightweight items fitted as standard, along with Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres rather than the standard P Zero rubber. A vehicle lift system is also available.

In the United Kingdom, the new McLaren Elva will be priced from £1 425 000, which translates to around R27,5-million at the current exchange rate.