Top Gear magazine climbs all over the McLaren Elva

Active Air Management System puts function over form

Top Gear deputy editor Jack Rix took a camera crew to McLaren's Technology Center for a closer look at the Elva roadster. Not only did Rix provide his usual, thorough once-over and explanation of design features, but thanks to the magic of moving pictures, we get graphic demonstrations of how the Elva's most interesting feature works. McLaren engineers needed to figure out a way to protect helmetless occupants from getting their faces painted with bugs and detritus at speed. Their solution is the Active Air Management System (AAMS), composed of a deflector and a network of vents that create a "bubble of calm" around the passenger cell. Unlike the rest of the Elva, the AAMS ain't pretty, but beauty always loses tie-breakers to effectiveness in Woking. 

For a vehicle with so little to it, including the number of body panels, there's a ton going on all around the open-top. The rear mesh is 3D-printed titanium. Short seat squabs combined with a moving steering wheel and gauge cluster improve ingress and egress. Four high-flow exhaust pipes are placed in two locations and pointed two directions in order to separate tones as if the exhaust were an audio system – because, in truth, it is. And there's more, but we'll let Rix explain. 

As an aside, for all the Elva does have, we think it's a shame the roadster doesn't have a roofed version. Digital artist Nikita Aksyonov drew up an Elva Coupe, and we're fans. Better looks than the McLaren GT, in a package that appears more compact than the 720S, with a more powerful engine than the Senna? Yes. All day yes.

But we digress, so check out Rix's take in the video.

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