The new version of the Elise, Lotus’s hugely successful perennial 2-seater, is one of the lightest the company has yet produced. It’s always been a fairly light and compact sportscar, but the new model will weigh in at 41kg less than the current Elise Sport, at just 798kg minus any liquids.
Lightweight carbon fibre seats and engine cover, plus a lighter Lithium-Ion battery, polycarbonate rear window and lighter alloys are the catalysts in the seemingly never-ending Lotus weight shaving exercise this time round. You can’t argue with Lotus sticking to their guns though, power to weight ratio is certainly something they understand well.
Unsurprisingly, the Sprint has pretty impressive figures, with the 1.8 supercharged version capable of 0-60mph in 4.1 seconds and offering 217bhp. If that’s a fraction too exciting for you, the 134bhp 1.6-litre version is slightly tamer with a 0-60mph of 5.9 seconds. The 1.8 also gets a new exhaust, which Lotus claim makes it the ‘best sounding 4-cylinder car’ around.
Apart from new bumpers, the Sprint will feature black matt trim, new wheels plus optional striping and Alcantara trim. The interesting thing with the Sprint is that the new Elise features are more or less split 50/50 between the interior and the exterior.
Don’t worry if you’re aiming for one of the standard Elise models though, as the Sprint Elise is essentially a vehicle to promote many of these upgrades throughout the Elise range. The upgrades will include new rear lights, open gated manual gearbox, new bumpers all round and a new Exige-like centre console – Bluetooth is optional. Lotus say that aerodynamics will also be improved and a new version of the range-topping Elise 250 Cup is due in May with a price tag of £47,400 and shaving 23kg from the current version’s weight.
There have been lighter Elise models of course; the 340R prototype was a mere 500kg, while the (very) limited edition 340 production models that were produced weighed in at just 701kg in 2000. The impressively low weight and powerful Sprint is very much now though, and will cost from £37,300 all the way up to £44,300 for the 1.8-litre version. It goes on sale next month.