New iteration of handbuilt Lotus sports car launched with
Sprint adds carbon fibre to cut 41 kg and hit 798 kg dry
New front and rear design, and significant interior upgrades
Available to order from Lotus dealers now
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.
Focusing on driver involvement, to provide an immersive experience, the new
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. Distilled from the very essence of the company’s heritage,
the Elise carries Lotus founder Colin Chapman’s vision of efficient engineering
into the future and arrives as the company continues its return to form with its
strongest ever line-up of vehicles.
Integrating a new front and rear aesthetic with Lotus’ established design
language, this latest Elise also receives a wide range of cabin enhancements -
including the lightweight open-gate gear select mechanism first introduced on
the Lotus Exige Sport 350. The Sprint is available in both the 1.6-litre
naturally aspirated and 1.8-litre supercharged versions. Delivering an exciting
mid-point in the range, it broadens the car’s appeal by including lightweight
and carbon components as standard.
Speaking of the new car Jean-Marc Gales, CEO, Group Lotus plc. said, “Once again,
the Elise continues to redefine what is possible in terms of adding lightness to
a sports car. Whilst other manufacturers try to keep pace with Lotus’ weight
reduction achievements, we’ve raised the bar beyond their reach. An agile,
lightweight sports car does not weigh just over a tonne. It should weigh
substantially less and, it is a fantastic achievement from Lotus in ensuring
that the fully type approved new Elise now dips below the 800 kg barrier.”
Jean-Marc Gales continued, “Enhanced by less weight, the Elise now provides even
more driving purity, greater agility and higher all-round performance. As we say
at Hethel: less weight equals more Lotus.”
The Sprint and the spirit of Lotus
Ensuring that this latest Elise remains true to the company’s DNA, the return
for 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 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).
Unlike some manufacturers, Lotus understands the importance of engine note, and
Hethel’s acoustic engineers have spent time altering the aural appeal of the
more powerful Elise Sport 220 and Elise Sprint 220 models. Providing the perfect
soundtrack at any speed, the new exhaust makes the 1.8-litre supercharged Elise
the best-sounding 4-cylinder car on the market.
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 vents surrounds, all with contrasting
Less mass means more Lotus
As well as a new Elise Sprint edition, the whole of the new Elise line-up
benefits from a range of improvements, which includes a 10 kg mass reduction
thanks to a number of new components. Changes to the body including a redesigned
lightweight front clam panel, with wider radiator apertures and mesh pattern
grille provide a more aggressive aspect and 8.7 kg less weight. The new design
of rear transom panel now has two rear light clusters, rather than four, with
reversing and fog lights now mounted inboard so reducing weight by 0.3 kg and
visually enhancing the rear design.
Modifications front and back are more than skin deep and have allowed the
careful balancing of aerodynamic downforce across the whole car. Rubber elements
mounted on the flat underside and ahead of the front wheel, together with an
additional diffuser vane at the rear, help modify airflow under the car reducing
drag and increasing stability.
In addition to injecting some visual drama into the new Elise’s cabin, Lotus’
beautifully detailed open-gate manual gearbox also provides a much more positive
and direct operation - giving more precise and quicker shifting. Both
technically and aesthetically appealing, thanks to the exposed open-gate design,
it further reduces weight with a net saving of 1 kg. An evolution of the design
first used on the Exige Sport 350, but specifically optimised for the Elise, it
perfectly matches the Lotus’ personality.
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.
Options for the new car include Alcantara® trimmed steering wheel,
vent-surrounds and sills. Further enhancement can be specified, including a new
paintwork colour: “Electric Light Blue” joining the Lotus core colour range.
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
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
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.
A new Lotus Elise Cup 250
A new version of the Elise’s most popular model, the Cup 250, will be released
in May 2017 with a list price of £47,400. Also, incorporating all the Elise
range updates, the Elise Cup 250 model is a massive 23 kg lighter than its
predecessor, with lightweight options including a Carbon Aero pack, front access
panel, roll hoop cover and engine cover to take this to 40 kg, providing even
more blistering performance. Further press information will be available closer
to the car’s release, but customers can order the new Cup 250 today.
Every new Lotus Elise customer can personalise their vehicle through the Lotus
Exclusive programme. Developed by the Lotus Design team, it combines traditional
British craftsmanship with the best of modern design. Conceived to inspire
customers, allowing them to tailor vehicles to their personal taste, it offers a
comprehensive array of options and provides an alluring alternative to an
off-the-peg sports car.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price
Elise Sport £32,300
Elise Sprint £37,300
Elise Sport 220 £39,300
Elise Sprint 220 £44,300
Elise Cup 250 £47,400
Images and text copyright Group Lotus PLC