Evolved, energised and even lighter, a significant update for the legendary Lotus Elise has been unveiled ahead of its arrival in showrooms this spring.
Pride of place in the latest Elise line-up 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 800 kg. Featuring a host of weight-saving items as standard, as well as the Elise’s distinctive new 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 new 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 variants.
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 41 kg from the previous model, to reach a benchmark dry weight of just 798 kg.
The Sprint’s standard lightweight components include a Lithium-Ion battery, saving 9 kg, Lotus’ beautifully detailed carbon race seats, 6 kg, new lightweight forged alloy wheels, 5 kg, while the carbon access panel, roll hoop cover and engine cover, and polycarbonate rear screen save 6 kg. Collectively they cut an impressive 26 kg, 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 798 kg (dry). This includes new, optional two-piece brake discs, saving 4 kg, which will be available from May this year and optional carbon sill covers (-0.8 kg). This reduction in weight translates into quicker acceleration (with 0-60 mph 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 168 hp / tonne (Elise Sprint) and 257 hp / tonne (Elise Sprint 220).
The cabin also benefits from a new centre console, as seen on the Exige and optional carbon sill covers which reduce weight by 0.8 kg and increase the door aperture by up to 10 mm, aiding ingress and egress. The Elise’s instrument panel has also received attention, with new graphics making it easier to read and a new in-car entertainment system, including iPod® connectivity and Bluetooth® functionality, can also be selected when ordering.
The new Elise Sport and Sprint are available in two engine options: the 1.6-litre or the supercharged 1.8-litre. Offering 134 hp / 160 Nm of torque and 217 hp / 250 Nm of torque respectively, they have been specifically tuned to suit the Elise and both help to deliver a benchmark power-to-weight ratio and class leading efficiency. Being so lightweight, emissions are extremely low with 149 g / km CO2 and 173 g / km CO2 for the 1.6 engine and 1.8 engines respectively.
Stopping power is provided by AP Racing twin-piston front calipers and Brembo single-piston rear-calipers – optional lightweight two-piece brake discs are also available. All cars benefit from user selectable ESP driving modes – Drive / Sport / Off.
Retaining the elements that have always kept the Elise ahead of rivals, the car is built around an extruded and bonded aluminium chassis which is both tremendously strong and torsionally stiff – weighing just 68 kg.
The new Elise also carries over the same suspension setup as before, with fully independent double wishbone suspension and a front anti-roll bar, coupled with Bilstein high-performance gas dampers and Eibach coaxial coil springs front and rear. Being lighter than the preceding model, the effective spring rate is marginally increased, retaining the compliant ride for which all Lotus cars are legendary.
Designed to continue the legacy of the Elise as Lotus’ most popular model ever, the new range car can be ordered today with deliveries starting from April 2017.