The Elva has rightly grabbed the headlines with its light weight and pioneering Active Air Management System; but ask the engineers who developed it and they just want to talk about one thing: the way it drives
Taken individually, the Elva’s specifications are impressive enough: this lightweight roadster weighs just 1148kg, for example, giving it the lowest dry weight of any other road car we’ve built. Then there’s the power output: the Elva’s twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 produces a phenomenal 815PS – 50PS more than the already blistering 765LT.
In the driving seat, however, these numbers aren’t distinct or unrelated – at the wheel, they converge to create a truly breathtaking driving experience. Elva’s Programme Manager, Jonny Swinhoe, tries to describe it: ‘The Elva has an incredible power-to-weight ratio – better even than the McLaren Senna. But the Elva isn’t aiming to set fastest laps, it doesn’t have all the aerodynamic wings of the Senna, so it has a lot less downforce. The result is a much more active, playful car. That handling characteristic is very much what we were aiming for: you can really feel the lightness in the way the car performs, the way it moves beneath you, the way it responds instantly to your inputs.’
With such a huge power output and 800NM of torque, some might approach the car with a little trepidation, but Jonny explains that accessibility was every bit as important to the development engineers as pure performance. ‘It was always our target to make the Elva feel progressive and provide lots of feedback. Instead of being intimidating, it really feels like it wants to work with the driver, to deliver a great driving experience.’
To that end, the Elva has the latest version of our Proactive Chassis Control II, which delivers sublime ride and handling. Variable Drift Control (VDC) is another technology that allows the driver to get more from a car, by dialing up or limiting oversteer. Our renowned electro-hydraulic steering is specially calibrated for the Elva, and is rich with feeling, allowing the driver to feel every nuance of the road; and the sintered carbon ceramic brakes further boost the driver’s confidence with their progressive feel and amazing stopping power.
All this, with the full-bodied soundtrack of the quad exhaust system filling the open cockpit. No wonder driver engagement is the Elva engineers’ favourite topic.