Published on www.automobilemag.com
February 16, 2016
“Light speed” takes on a very different meaning when talking about Lotus. The company’s motto has always been to simplify and add lightness when engineering it calls cars. Yet in recent years, Lotus has been packing on the pounds. With that said, latest Lotus, the Elise Cup 250, harks back to the company’s featherweight foundation.
The Elise Cup 250 replaces the similarly hardcore Elise Cup 220. Wither a lighter lithium-ion battery, lighter carbon-fiber seats, and “ultra-lightweight” forged alloy wheels, the car weighs an impressive 46 lb less than the car it replaces. This shedding of weight furthermore allows the Elise Cup 250 to become the quickest road-going Lotus in the company’s history.
The Lotus Elise Cup 250 now sprints to 60 in just 3.9 seconds, and will continue on to a top speed of 154 mph. Remarkably, Lotus has tuned the car’s miniscule supercharged 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine to produce 243 hp, which just goes to prove that light can be might. For those wanting an even more track-focused Elise Cup 250, an optional Carbon Aero Pack (comprising a new front splitter, rear wing, rear diffuser, and side skirts made from the lightweight material) will be available that further reduces the car’s weight by staggering 22 lb.
Most other suspension and mechanical parts have been carried over from the previous Elise Cup 220. This includes the motor-sports derived adjustable suspension, the adjustable front anti-roll bar, Bilstein dampers, AP Racing twin-piston front brakes, and Brembo single-piston rear calipers.
“The Lotus Elise has long set the benchmark in its class, yet we’ve been able to hone its straight-line performance and handling,” Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales said in a statement. “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.”
The Lotus Elise Cup 250 additionally went through a host of aerodynamic changes that provides the car with 145 lb of downforce at 100 mph. That number increases to as much as 342 lb at the car’s top speed of 154 mph.
While only 200 examples of the Lotus Elise Cup 250 will be built each year, each of which is available in one of only 10 distinct colors, none will be brought to the United States. In recent years, The Elise was discontinued in the U.S. several years ago, leaving only the Evora in the U.S. market. That car, too, briefly left the U.S. market but will return thanks to several updates.
The new Lotus Elise Cup 250 will go on sale this April with the starting price equivalent to $65,209 in the U.K.