The Elise Cup 250 replaces the Cup 220 in the model lineup, and Lotus plans to limit production to 200 units annually. The 1.8-liter supercharged four-cylinder now makes 243 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, compared to 217 hp and 184 lb-ft from the predecessor. The company claims the Cup 250 laps its test track in 1:34, which is four seconds better than the 220.
On paper, the Cup 250 could give a Cayman GT4 quite a fight. The Porsche's 385 hp wins on power, but it weighs significantly more at 2,955 pounds. Those differences translate to a slower 60 mph run of 4.2 seconds but a faster 183-mph top speed.
We also think the upcoming Jaguar F-Type SVR could make for interesting competition around a very tight track. A recent leak suggests the new model has over 560 horsepower and a 200-mph top speed, so it would easily win on an open course. On a curvy circuit, the Lotus could be an intriguing challenger.
Lotus Elise Cup weighs a scant 2,053 pounds in normal trim and 2,030 pounds with the optional Carbon Aero package, which includes carbon fiber parts for the front splitter, rear wing, rear diffuser and side-floor extensions. To save weight, Lotus fits the car with a lithium-ion battery, carbon fiber seats, and forged alloy wheels. The suspension and brakes carryover from the 220, including Bilstein dampers, Eibach springs, and AP Racing brakes.
Lotus models often have a sparse interior, and that continues with the Cup 250. The options list includes usually common items like air conditioning and cruise control. A package even combines a radio, carpets, and sound deadening. Standard cars come with a red or black Alcantara interior, but leather is available.
The Cup 250 goes on sale in April for 45,600 pounds ($65,170 at current rates), but it isn't available in North America. This forbidden fruit makes for an interesting comparison to other stripped-down models, though. For example, the Evora 400, which is for sale in the US, is slightly slower to 60 at 4.1 seconds but its 1:32 time around the Hethel test track is two seconds a lap quicker.
• Fastest Elise ever: 0-60 mph in 3.9 secs, 154 mph top speed
• 243 hp and in excess of 261 hp/tonne
• Available as a roadster as standard
• Carbon Aero Pack option saving a further 10 kg
• The global production run of the Elise Cup 250 will be limited to two-hundred vehicles per year
Proving that less is more, Lotus' high performance Cup version of the famous Elise has shed 21 kg and gained 26 hp. Weighing in at 931 kg, and capable of 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds, the Elise Cup 250 is the fastest road-going Lotus Elise ever.
Replacing the acclaimed Elise Cup 220, the new Elise Cup 250 perfectly demonstrates the Lotus 'light is right' mantra as all vehicle components were optimised to add lightness and speed.
Delivered to the marque's now famous 'Lightweight Laboratory', it emerged with a range of features, including a Lithium-ion battery which slashes 10 kg of the weight, carbon fibre seats, reducing the weight by 6 kg, and ultra-lightweight forged alloy wheels, saving a further 1.5 kg.
Designed to suit all sports car fans, the Lotus Elise Cup 250 is available for the first time as a roadster as standard with a hard top available as an option. For those wanting to cut the car's weight still further, and so boost performance, a Carbon Aero Pack is available, which cuts an extra 10 kg, reducing the mass to just 921kg.
Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus plc, commented, "The Lotus Elise has long set the benchmark in its class, yet we've been able to hone its straight-line performance and handling. Yes, it is capable of amazing things on a track, but it also retains its road manners and is perfectly composed for day-to-day driving. No rival offers this level of performance and accessibility."
With the new car lapping the company's Hethel test track in 1 minute 34 seconds, the changes and engineering adaptions to the Elise Cup 250 have taken an impressive four seconds off the previous Elise Cup 220's best time and represent the fastest recorded lap time for a production Elise.
The new Elise Cup 250 benefits from the continuous improvement design philosophy of Lotus and its perpetual quest to evolve all constituent parts, lightening and optimising them. Every aspect of the car has been carefully considered: from the recalibrated ignition system, right down to the wider 195/50 R16 front tyres to give sharper, more-responsive steering.
Powered by a new higher-output version of the supercharged, 1.8-litre 4-cylinder engine, the Elise Cup 250 boasts 243 hp (246 PS) at 7200 rpm and 250 Nm of torque between 3500 rpm and 5500 rpm.
Lotus Dynamic Performance Management (DPM) provides a 'Sport' mode, increasing throttle response, lowering traction slip thresholds and removing understeer recognition, allowing enhanced control before the system intervenes.
The aerodynamically optimised body kit provides 66kg of downforce at 100mph and an impressive 155 kg at maximum velocity of 154 mph. Shaping and working airflow over and around the bodywork has been key to delivering the car's extremely focused handling. An optional Carbon Aero pack replaces the standard front splitter, rear wing, rear diffuser and side floor- extensions with lightweight carbon components and reduces mass by a further 10 kg.
The Elise Cup 250 carries over the motorsport-derived suspension and braking components from the Elise Cup 220, including an adjustable front anti-roll bar, Bilstein sports dampers and Eibach coaxial coil springs and double wishbone suspension. AP Racing twin-piston front calipers, and Brembo single-piston rear calipers work in conjunction with the track-tuned ABS system with ultra- lightweight forged alloy wheels (16 inch, front and 17 inch rear) are fitted with Yokohama AO48 tyres (195/50/16 on the front and 225/45/17 on the rear)
New larger switches with improved haptics have been introduced for the Lotus Dynamic Performance Management System (with Sport setting), headlights and rear fog lights, mounted together with the vehicle's new engine start button.
As standard, the Elise Cup 250 comes with a full Alcantara® interior in red or black, with an optional Leather Pack available. An integrated in-car entertainment system can also be specified, including iPod® connectivity and Bluetooth® functionality along with full carpets and enhanced sound insulation.
A total of ten paint choices are available for the Cup 250: two are no-cost options, seven are metallic and one is the Signature Grey option. The new Elise Cup 250 can also be personalised through the recently launched Lotus Exclusive programme. Combining traditional British craftsmanship with modern design, the service inspires customers to spend time tailoring the character of their Lotus with a comprehensive array of options.
The Lotus Elise Cup 250 goes on sale in all major markets, excluding North America, from April 2016.
Those wishing to register their interest in the new Lotus Elise Cup 250 should visit: http://www.lotuscars.com/lotus-elise-range