Lotus Elise lightens up as engine power improves

  • Hand-built Lotus sports car in new Sprint edition
  • Carbon-fibre use cuts 41kg to 798kg dry weight
  • New front/rear design, significant cabin upgrades
Image: Lotus Cars / Newspress
Image: Lotus Cars / Newspress

LONDON, England – Evolved, energised, even lighter. They are the key items in a significant update for the Lotus Elise set to reach showrooms in mid-2017.

The latest Sprint edition is said to have “captured the spirit of Lotus with the latest in efficient engineering to deliver a car that sets the standard at under 800kg” while “distinctive new styling remains true to the company’s founding principles”.

Image: Lotus Cars / Newspress
Image: Lotus Cars / Newspress

The new look brings with it new interior options: all the Sprint’s light components can be specified on the standard Elise Sport and the Elise Sport 220 variants.

Lotus told The Corner in a media release it had returned to its roots by using the same “intense engineering strategy” as that on other recent models along with shedding 41kg from the previous model, to reach 798 kg.

The automaker says the Elise is a favourite with enthusiast drivers. Nearly 33 000 have been hand-built by Lotus craftsmen.

‘WE’VE RAISED THE BAR BEYOND REACH’

Among the mid-range Elise’  cabin enhancements are the light open-gate gear selection mechanism introduced on the Lotus Exige Sport 350 and the Sprint is available with either a 1.6-litre non-blown or 1.8-litre supercharged engine.

Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus,  told The Corner: “The Elise continues to redefine what is possible in lightening a sports car. Other automakers try to keep pace with Lotus’ weight reduction but we’ve raised the bar beyond their reach. An agile, light sports car does not weigh just over a tonne. It should weigh substantially less and it is a fantastic achievement from Lotus in dipping below 800kg.”

“The Elise now provides even more driving purity, greater agility and higher all-round performance: less weight equals more Lotus.”

SPRINT AND SPIRIT OF LOTUS

The Sprint badge – used on historic models such as the Elan – defines a highly attractive super-lightt option above the respective Elise Sport models but below the top-if-the- range Elise Cup 250.

The Sprint’s standard light components include a lithium-Ion battery (saving 9kg), Lotus’ carbon race seats (6kg), forged alloy wheel rims (5kg) and carbon access panel, roll-hoop and engine covers and polycarbonate rear screen (6kg). That’s a total of 26 kg, against the previous Sport and Sport 220.

New optional two-piece brake discs will save another 4 kg and optional carbon sill-covers (0.8kg).

So what does all this achieve? Quicker acceleration (0-100km/h in 5.9 and 4.1sec for the Elise Sprint and Elise Sprint 220 respectively), harder cornering and a power-to-weight ratio of up to 126kW/ tonne (Elise Sprint) and 193kW/ tonne (Elise Sprint 220).

OPTIONAL HIGHLIGHTS

External design touches for Sprints include a black transom panel, black wheels with contrasting metal-spun rims, distinctive yet subtle body stripes and unique side and rear badges.

Other highlights are bodywork-keyed colour inserts for the sport seats, transmission console and HVAC surround, along with stitched Sprint badges. The Sprint’s detailing continues inside with an array of optional Alcantara-trimmed door panels, sills, seats and vents, each with contrasting stitching.

As well as a new Elise Sprint , a whole  new Elise line-up now has a range of improvements, that includes a 10kg reduction thanks to  new components. Changes to the body including a re-designed light front clam panel, wider radiator apertures and mesh grille (8.7kg shed).

The re-designed transom panel now has two light clusters (previously four) with reversing and foul-weather lights now mounted inboard.

SUPERLIGHT CHASSIS

Options for the new car include Alcantara-trimmed steering-wheels, vent-surrounds and sills. Electric Light Blue joining the paint colour range.

Stopping power comes from AP Racing twin-piston front and Brembo single-piston rear-callipers. Each car has selectable driving modes – Drive / Sport / Off.

The car is built around an extruded and bonded aluminium chassis that’s tremendously strong and torsionally stiff and weighs only 68kg.

READ MORE Lotus features on Carman’s Corner

A new version of the Elise’s most popular model, the Cup 250, will be released in May 2017 with a weight reduction of 40kg.

Every Lotus Elise customer can personalise hisher vehicle through the Lotus Exclusive programme which combines “traditional British craftsmanship” with “the best of modern design”. Buyers can spec their car from a range of options to add to the off-the-peg car.

Image: Lotus Cars / Newspress
Image: Lotus Cars / Newspress

To find out more about Lotus Elise range visit: http://www.lotuscars.com/about-elise.

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