Lotus Elise 'Sprint' edition unveiled, weighing 41 kg lighter than the Elise
In the biggest weight cut to the car since the introduction of the first-generation Elise, Lotus has returned to its roots by employing the same intense engineering strategy as used on its most recent models. The Sprint edition of the Lotus Elise has removed 41 kg from the previous model, to reach a benchmark dry weight of just 798 kg.
Integrating a new front and rear aesthetic with Lotus’ established design language, this latest Elise also receives a wide range of cabin enhancements - including the lightweight open-gate gear select mechanism first introduced on the Lotus Exige Sport 350. The Sprint is available in both the 1.6-litre naturally aspirated and 1.8-litre supercharged versions.
The Sprint’s standard lightweight components include a Lithium-Ion battery (saving 9 kg), Lotus’ beautifully detailed carbon race seats (saving 6 kg), new lightweight forged alloy wheels (saving 5 kg), while the carbon access panel, roll hoop cover and engine cover, and polycarbonate rear screen saves 6 kg. Collectively, they cut an impressive 26 kg, compared to the previous Sport and Sport 220 models, and together with the improvements made to the whole Elise range bring the weight of the new Elise Sprint down to just 798 kg (dry). Also included are optional two-piece brake discs (saving 4 kg), which will be available from May this year and optional carbon sill covers (-0.8 kg). This reduction in weight translates into quicker acceleration (with 0-100 km/h in 5.9 seconds and 4.1 seconds for the Elise Sprint and Elise Sprint 220 respectively), harder cornering and a power to weight ratio of up to 168 hp / tonne (Elise Sprint) and 257 hp / tonne (Elise Sprint 220).
Then to provide the perfect soundtrack at any speed, the new exhaust makes the 1.8-litre supercharged Elise the best-sounding 4-cylinder car on the market.
External design touches for the Sprint range include a matt black transom panel, black wheels which come with custom contrasting metal spun rims, distinctive yet subtle side stripes on the bodywork and unique side and rear badging.
In addition to injecting some visual drama into the new Elise’s cabin, Lotus’ beautifully detailed open-gate manual gearbox also provides a much more positive and direct operation, giving more precise and quicker shift action.
The cabin also benefits from a new centre console, as seen on the Exige and optional carbon sill covers which reduce weight by 0.8 kg and increase the door aperture by up to 10 mm, aiding ingress and egress. The Elise’s instrument panel has also received attention, with new graphics making it easier to read and a new in-car entertainment system, including iPod® connectivity and Bluetooth® functionality, can also be selected when ordering.
The new Elise also carries over the same suspension setup as before, with fully independent double wishbone suspension and a front anti-roll bar, coupled with Bilstein high-performance gas dampers and Eibach coaxial coil springs front and rear. Being lighter than the preceding model, the effective spring rate is marginally increased, retaining the compliant ride for which all Lotus cars are renowned for.
Deliveries will begin in April.