Replacing the base Elise is the new Lotus Elise Sport, which cuts a good 24 pounds off the already featherlike curb weight – now down to 1,909 pounds. The 1.6-liter inline-four that is sourced from Toyota and enhanced in-house carries over with 134 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque for a 0-60 time of 6.0 seconds and a top speed quoted at 127 miles per hour. Fuel economy and emissions figures improve thanks to the decreased weight, but Lotus says the difference is most felt in the brand's signature handling dynamics.
Those looking for a little more oomph may be more enticed by the upgraded Elise Sport 220. Taking the place of the outgoing Elise S, the new Sport 220 benefits from the same weight reduction as the Elise Sport, but packs the larger, more potent engine. The 1.8-liter supercharged four delivers 217 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque to deliver a 4.2-second 0-60 time and a 145-mph top speed.
Along with the weight reduction, the new Sport models benefit from optimized throttle response, traction slip thresholds, and handling balance. They also feature new Bilstein dampers. Along with ten exterior colors available, buyers will also be able to choose between leather, Alcantara, or (our pick) classic tartan upholstery like the original 1976 Lotus Esprit S1.
Unfortunately, we can't count ourselves among those potential buyers, since Lotus no longer offers the Elise in North America. The automaker is, however, tipped to bring the next generation back to these shores toward the end of this decade. And the incremental improvements that it constantly rolls out bodes well for what's to come.
Lotus Announces New Elise Sport and Elise Sport 220
- New models replace the outgoing Elise (1.6) and Elise S
- Weight reduction of 10 kg in both new Elise models
- New colour and trim options, including classic tartan interior
- Elise Sport priced from £29,900 / €39,900* (MSRP)
The Lotus Elise Sport and Elise Sport 220 mark a return the iconic 'Sport' naming designation, used previously on the famed Lotus Esprit and with it the Lotus Elise package becomes lighter, and even more performance-focused.
20 years ago, the Lotus Elise revolutionised the sports car world, setting the benchmark for handling, purity of the driving experience, lightweight and efficiency. Its pioneering and advanced bonded aluminium chassis was a market-leading technological innovation at the time and over the years has improved and evolved and remains core to the Elise's exceptional performance today.
Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus plc, commented, "We have further refined, distilled and sharpened the driving experience offered by our best selling sports car of the last 20 years, the Lotus Elise. These two new models, the Elise Sport and Sport 220 revive the iconic 'Sport' naming designation and are both worthy of wearing this badge. Over the years, with each improvement to the Elise, we have ensured that the purity of the driving experience has been retained and improved upon and with these two new models, we have taken it on to the next level."
Both the new Elise Sport and Elise Sport 220 benefit from a significant weight reduction of 10 kg, a result of the continued central design philosophy of Lotus – 'lighter, faster' and the perpetual quest to reduce weight of all constituent parts and in some cases remove unnecessary parts altogether.
Weighing just 866 kg, the Elise Sport sets a benchmark in class - a sports car that both enthusiasts and newcomers to the brand will find it easy to fall in love with. Lightweight, efficient and completely pure in its driving experience, its handling and quickness in road holding remain the envy of all its rivals.
The Elise Sport 220 represents the perfect blend of power and dynamism in a more focused performance package. Weighing just 914 kg, with peak power of 217 hp and torque of 250 Nm, 0- 60 mph is achieved in just 4.2 seconds, and a top speed of 145 mph is possible. However, it is once again in the area of vehicle dynamics that the Elise Sport 220 excels, offering an even purer driving experience when compared to the previous Elise S model, due largely to the further weight-saving, aided in part by a new lightweight sports battery.
Lightweight sports seats in leather, Alcantara or classic tartan trim as an option are a further sign of sports intentions. First introduced in 1976 in the Lotus Esprit S1, tartan interior references a time when making a statement was everything, a concept still central to Lotus' design philosophy.
Sport mode is standard fitment in the Elise Sport and Sport 220, and sharpens the experience further by increasing throttle response, altering traction slip thresholds and removing understeer recognition, allowing enhanced control before intervention and offering an even closer connection between driver and machine. Bilstein sports dampers further contribute to scalpel sharp steering feeling and provide heightened feedback from the road.
With reduced weight comes increased efficiency and a reduction in fuel consumption, a power to weight ratio of 155 bhp/tonne for the Elise Sport and 237 bhp/tonne for the Sport 220 the result. Fuel consumption is an impressive 56.5 mpg (extra urban) the Elise Sport and 47.9 mpg (extra urban) for the Sport 220, further cementing the Elise's tag as one of the most efficient sports cars in sector.
Alongside a weight reduction is a reduction in price. The Elise Sport model is now priced at £29,900 / €39,900 (MSRP) with the Elise Sport 220 priced at £36,500 / €48,700 (MSRP).
A range of classic Elise colours are available – Solid Red, Solid Yellow, Metallic Green, Metallic Blue, Metallic Silver, Metallic White, Metallic Grey, Metallic Orange, Metallic Black and Signature Grey, with rear diffuser in matt black. Lightweight silver or black cast wheels (16" front, 17" rear) are standard fitment and there is an optional upgrade to a forged wheel design that saves a further 5 kg from total unladen weight.
The Elise is Lotus' most successful model in terms of numbers built, with a total of 32,000 manufactured and sold globally. In addition to the Elise, the Lotus small platform technology has been used to great success in the Lotus Exige, Lotus Europa and Lotus 2-Eleven models, all of which are, or have been manufactured by Lotus at its Headquarters in Hethel, Norfolk.
The Lotus Elise Sport and Elise Sport 220 go on sale in Europe in December 2015 and will be available to the rest of the world from January 2016.
Those wishing to register their interest in the new Lotus Elise Sport or Sport 220 should visit: www.lotuscars.com/lotus-elise-range.
*German price in Euros
|Country||Elise Sport||Elise Sport 220|
|UK (Pounds Sterling)||£29,900||£36,500|
|Max power||134 hp at
(136 PS) (100
|217 hp at
(220 PS) (162
|Max torque||118 lbft at
|184 lbft at
|0-60 mph||6.0 seconds||4.2 seconds|
|0-100 km/h||6.5 seconds||4.6 seconds|
|Max speed||127 mph (204 km/h)||145 mph (234 km/h)|
|Fuel Consumption mpg (l/100 km)|
|CO2 emissions||149 g/km||173 g/km|
|Unladen weight||866 kg||914 kg|
SPORT All alloy, 1.6 litre DOHC 4 cylinder, dual VVT-i and Valvematic, 16-valve
SPORT 220 All alloy, 1.8 litre DOHC 4 cylinder, dual VVT-i, 16-valve with chargecooled supercharger
Mid mounted, transverse, rear wheel drive
Lotus Electronic Throttle Control system
6 speed manual gearbox with sports ratios
BOSCH Electronic Differential Lock (EDL)
CHASSIS AND BODY
Lightweight, extruded aluminium bonded chassis structure
Fully independent double wishbone sports suspension with anti-roll bar
Bilstein high performance gas dampers, front and rear
Eibach springs, front and rear Twin-piston front calipers, AP Racing single-piston rear calipers
Track tuned ABS system
Lotus Dynamic Performance Management (Lotus
Lightweight silver cast alloy wheels (16" front and 17" rear)
Front Yokohama Advan Neova AD07 tyres 175/55 ZR16
Rear Yokohama Advan Neova AD07 tyres 225/45 ZR17
Servo assisted, cross drilled and ventilated brake discs, 288 mm diameter, front and rear
Aerodynamically optimised black rear diffuser
Black soft top
Clear sill stone chip protection film
Black leather steering wheel
Polished aluminum gear knob and leather handbrake sleeve
Technical fabric sports seats and part leather interior.
Engine start push button
Driver and passenger airbags
Tyre puncture repair kit
Clarion CD/MP3/WMA receiver with integrated iPod® connectivity with Bluetooth® plus full carpet and sound insulation
Auxiliary driving lights
Lightweight black cast alloy wheels (16" front and 17" rear) (no cost option)
Lightweight black or silver forged alloy wheels (16" front and 17" rear)
Alcantara® trim pack
Leather trim pack
Tartan trim pack