Lightest Lotus Elise might be also be the best yet
British sports car maker Lotus has sliced a significant slab of weight off its already slim, lightweight Elise sports car to create what could be one of the best iterations of the classic roadster to date.
The new Elise Sprint benefits from a series of weight-saving measures, while heralding sharper styling and a spruced up interior. The fresh looks and revised cabin will be applied to the Elise range as a whole.
The Sprint’s kerb mass is 41 kg lower than the previous model, thanks to a raft of lightweight components. As a result, the car’s dry weight dips below 800 kg, tipping the scales at 798 kg.
The list of weight-saving components includes a li-ion battery, carbon fibre racing seats, lighter forged alloy rims, and various composite and carbon fibre trim panels. The rear screen swaps glass for polycarbonate, too.
Exterior features unique to the Sprint include black wheels, a matt black transom panel and distinctive graphics.
Inside the snug two-seater cabin, the most eye-catching change is the exposed open-gate manual gear shift mechanism. The design isn’t just for show, either: Lotus says the shift action is quicker and more precise, while shaving another 1 kg off the car’s weight.
Across-the-board changes to the cockpit include a revised centre console, carbon sill covers, fresh instrument dials and an upgraded audio system. The Sprint gets unique colour-coded accents and surrounds, while Alcantara trim can be added as an option..
The Sprint might be the lightest Elise in the current range, but the updated Sport is also lighter than before, thanks to the new front and rear design.
The keener front clam panel with wider apertures weighs almost 9 kg less, while the rear transom panel, with its simpler tail light clusters, is also trimmer.The styling changes aren’t only aesthetic, but also benefit the car’s aerodynamics, reducing drag and improving stability.
Both the Sport and the Sprint are offered with a choice of a normally aspirated 100 kW/160 Nm 1,6-litre engine, or a 162 kW/250 Nm supercharged 1,8-litre mill. The reduced weight improves the power-to weight-ratio and unsprung mass, benefiting performance and handling.
The hardcore Elise Cup 250 benefits from the same aesthetic, aerodynamic and weight-saving measures.