Evolved, energised and even lighter, a significant update for the legendary Lotus Elise has been unveiled ahead of its arrival in showrooms.
Pride of place in the latest Elise lineup is the new Sprint edition, capturing the spirit of Lotus by offering the latest in efficient engineering to deliver a car that sets the standard at under 800kg.
Featuring a host of weight-saving items as standard, as well as the Elise’s distinctive styling, the new Lotus remains true to the company’s founding principles. Benefitting the range as a whole, all new Elise editions receive the car’s refreshed look and new interior options, and every single one of the Sprint’s lightweight components can be specified on the standard Elise Sport and the Elise Sport 220.
In the biggest weight cut to the car since the introduction of the first-generation Elise, Lotus has returned to its roots by employing the same intense engineering strategy as used on its most recent models. The Sprint edition of the Lotus Elise has removed 41kg from the previous model, to reach a benchmark dry weight of just 798kg.
Focusing on driver involvement to provide an immersive experience, the renewed Elise reaffirms the company’s leading position in automotive engineering. A benchmark in purity and balance, the Elise is a favourite amongst drivers and enthusiasts, and to date nearly 33,000 examples have been hand-built at Lotus’ famous Hethel factory.
Integrating a new front and rear aesthetic with Lotus’ established design language, this latest Elise also receives a wide range of cockpit enhancements, including the lightweight open-gate gear selector mechanism first introduced on the Exige Sport 350.
The Elise Sprint is available in both the 1.6-litre naturally aspirated and 1.8-litre supercharged versions. Delivering an exciting mid-point in the model range, it broadens the car’s appeal by including lightweight and carbon components as standard.
Ensuring that this latest Elise remains true to the company’s DNA, the return of the Sprint badge (as used on historic models including the Elan) is designed to provide a highly attractive super-lightweight option sitting above the respective Elise Sport models, and below the top-of-the-range Elise Cup 250.
The Elise Sprint’s standard lightweight components include a lithium-ion battery (saving 9kg), Lotus’ beautifully detailed carbon race seats (minus 6kg) and new lightweight forged alloy wheels (minus 5kg), while the carbon access panel, roll hoop cover and engine cover, and polycarbonate rear screen save 6kg.
Collectively, they cut an impressive 26kg compared to the previous Sport and Sport 220 models, and together with the improvements made to the whole Elise range, bring the weight of the new Elise Sprint down to just 798kg (dry). This includes new, optional two-piece brake discs (saving 4kg) and optional carbon sill covers ( minus 0.8kg).
This reduction in weight translates into quicker acceleration (with 0-100km/h in 5.9 seconds and 4.1 seconds for the Elise Sprint and Elise Sprint 220 respectively), harder cornering and a power-to-weight ratio of up to 168bhp per tonne (Elise Sprint) and 257bhp per tonne (Elise Sprint 220).
External design touches for the Sprint range include a matt black transom panel, black wheels which come with custom contrasting metal spun rims, distinctive yet subtle side stripes on the bodywork, and unique side and rear badging.
Other highlights comprise bodywork-keyed colour inserts for the sports seats, transmission console and HVAC surround, along with Sprint badge stitching. The Sprint’s detailing continues inside with an array of optional Alcantara trim panels on the doors, sills, seats and vent surrounds, all with contrasting stitching.
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