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McLaren Elva vs Ferrari Monza - The Super Speedster Shootout

Nov 21, 2019

By Jack Booker

See how these roofless rides stack up!

There’s a new trend in town and it’s actually an old trend, but now it has been reimagined for today. Based on the open-cockpit designs of race cars from the 1950s and 60s, both Ferrari and McLaren have released 800-horsepower supercars without roofs. The Ferrari Monza SP1 (and SP2) seems to lean toward the luxury GT market, while the McLaren Elva appears to present a high-tech track focus. Though this car segment isn’t crowded, it is surely competitive, so which speedster is the better buy?

chart comparing specs

Right out of the gate, the McLaren Elva looks more rare and less expensive, but not by much. The Elva is limited to 399 units while the Monza has a whopping 499, however the Monza comes in multiple variants- one seat or two. So despite having more units total, the Ferrari might actually be more rare. This of course depends how many windshields McLaren buyers opt for. Assuming the additional windshield is an uncommon option, a McLaren Elva with a windshield might prove the be most rare combination here.

Speaking of options, both cars will provide many opportunities for customer requests, so the official pricing will vary quite a bit. The Elva starts around $1.7 million before McLaren Special Operations is done making it to order, and the Monza costs around $2 million dollars. Yes, the Ferrari is more expensive, but at this price point and with this level of customization, it is hard to tell how large the cost difference really is and if it even matters to the buyers of these masterpieces.


The biggest difference between these cars is clearly the engine. The McLaren Elva retains Woking’s trusted 4.0L V8 in the middle of the carbon chassis with two turbos of course. On the other hand, the Ferrari Monza houses the beefy 6.5L V12 from the 812 Superfast. The engine is up front and aspiration is all natural. Both power plants crank out just over 800 horsepower, but the McLaren generates 60 more lb/ft of torque - 590 to the Monza’s 530. Which engine is better is clearly a toss-up depending on your tastes, but the Ferrari assumedly wins the sound competition.

As far as speed goes, both open-top racers get to 60mph in under 3 seconds, but the McLaren Elva is considerably faster to 124mph. The Monza takes 7.9 seconds to reach 124mph, which is crazy fast but not as fast as the Elva’s 6.7 seconds. Yes, the Elva is even faster than the track-conquering McLaren Senna in that regard! But weight, there’s more.

The McLaren Elva also weighs less the Senna, and the Senna is over 400 lbs lighter than the Ferrari Monza. More specifically, the Elva weighs less than 2900 lbs, and the Ferrari weighs over 3300 lbs. That 0-124mph time is making a lot more sense. The Elva is clearly the faster option here, but without a windshield how fast will anyone really be driving these million-dollar toys?

McLaren seems to think that buyers will surely flex the Elva’s muscles, because it includes some serious technology up-front. The Active Air Management System is a device that creates a comfortable bubble of air for the Elva’s passengers. This high-tech feature blends perfectly with the greater design of the car. The Elva’s interior has a large touch screen and digital cluster, with shiny metal accents, and the exterior features flashy side scoops and diffusers. This all contributes to a strong futuristic essence and it blends well with McLaren’s technology.


The Ferrari Monza does not have an air management system, and the general design is much more minimal. There is no large touch screen, and the buttons are slightly hidden on a soft black console under a large piece of carbon body work. The cluster is not new from Ferrari either, and the exterior is quite simple.

Flowing from the sharp nose, a beautiful line culminates into one long stream of LED lights rounding the rear. There are no air intakes on the rear hips, since the car is front-engine, and the headlights are set behind a single, short light strip. The Ferrari’s resigned luxury reflects the analog masterpieces of the past, and the leather straps on the passenger side of the SP2 are really the icing on the cake.



When it comes to design, the Ferrari Monza is hard to beat. Personally, I think the Monza is one of the best looking Ferraris of all time. It also has the classic V12 up front, so Ferrari’s history is roaring through the Monza. It definitely deserves the $2 million price tag. But if we are being honest, are the open-top race cars of today luxurious? Are they heavy?

The McLaren Elva is much closer to a race car than the Ferrari Monza, and in that respect, the Elva better accomplishes the goal of a reimagined speedster. Unfortunately, we know that most of these cars will not be raced or even see the track. And in that case, the Ferrari is clearly more appealing in this market, even if the Elva is the better car.

Which one would you choose?

Gallery: McLaren Elva

Gallery: Gordon Ramsay's Ferrari Monza SP2