The McLaren Elva might be a hardcore new supercar that can both outrun the McLaren Senna and look a lot better in the process, but it does have one quirk: its lack of a windshield. But don’t fret, because McLaren has a method to keep bugs out of your mouth—aside from pricing it way out of your reach, that is.
That method is called the “McLaren Active Air Management System,” which McLaren mentioned when the car debuted. It’s meant to deflect air around the passenger compartment in order to create what McLaren describes as a “bubble of calm,” which sounds like something we all need in our lives.
But those words don’t mean much without visuals, so we thankfully now have this handy Top Gear video to show us how it, and other parts of the car, work:
The windshield-less Elva debuted last month, along with a twin-turbocharged V8 rated at 804 horsepower, a claim of less than three seconds to get from a standstill to 62 mph, and a rated 0-to-124-mph time of 6.7 seconds. That last stat translates to “faster than the Senna” in McLaren speak, with the asterisk that “all performance figures [are] still to be validated” on the Elva.
But no one’s questioning performance stats on the Elva, because it looks fast, it starts at just under $1.7 million, it’s limited to 399 models, and it has McLaren logos. The questionable part is how all of that performance is designed to happen without any glass in front of the driver and passenger, since most of us equate the lack of a windshield with a lot of unpleasant and involuntary meetings with other occupants of the road: bugs, gravel, and other unidentified debris kicked our way. McLaren offers a version of the Elva with a fixed windshield, should that fear become too strong.
For Elva buyers choosing to go without a windshield, Top Gear said the air-management system meant to redirect air and debris is essentially a six-inch deflector that comes up past 30 mph in order to send the air around the car. Above 70 mph, though, the video recommends a helmet.
Here’s how it’s meant to work:
For a base price of $1.7 million, it’s probably just better to slap a windshield on this thing. After all, that deflector isn’t exactly cute, and neither is taking the risk of rolling up to the club with bugs in your hair or dust on your car seats.
But the style points are important, it seems, even if you get a few deductions elsewhere.