Less mass means more Lotus – The new Lotus Elise Sprint
Evolved, energised and even lighter, a significant update for the legendary Lotus Elise has been unveiled ahead of its arrival in showrooms this spring. Pride of place in the latest Elise line-up is the new Sprint edition, capturing the spirit of Lotus by offering the latest in efficient engineering to deliver a car that sets the standard at under 800 kg. Featuring a host of weight-saving items as standard, as well as the Elise’s distinctive new styling, the new Lotus remains true to the company’s founding principles. Benefitting the range as a whole, all new Elise editions receive the car’s new look and new interior options, and every single one of the Sprint’s lightweight components can be specified on the standard Elise Sport and the Elise Sport 220 variants.
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.
Focusing on driver involvement, to provide an immersive experience, the new Elise reaffirms the company’s leading position in automotive engineering. A benchmark in purity and balance, the Elise is a favourite amongst drivers and enthusiasts, and to date nearly 33,000 examples have been hand built at Lotus’ famous Hethel factory. Distilled from the very essence of the company’s heritage, the Elise carries Lotus founder Colin Chapman’s vision of efficient engineering into the future and arrives as the company continues its return to form with its strongest ever line-up of vehicles.
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. Delivering an exciting mid-point in the range, it broadens the car’s appeal by including lightweight and carbon components as standard. Speaking of the new car Jean-Marc Gales, CEO, Group Lotus plc. said, “Once again, the Elise continues to redefine what is possible in terms of adding lightness to a sports car. Whilst other manufacturers try to keep pace with Lotus’ weight reduction achievements, we’ve raised the bar beyond their reach. An agile, lightweight sports car does not weigh just over a tonne. It should weigh substantially less and, it is a fantastic achievement from Lotus in ensuring that the fully type approved new Elise now dips below the 800 kg barrier.” Jean-Marc Gales continued, “Enhanced by less weight, the Elise now provides even more driving purity, greater agility and higher all-round performance. As we say at Hethel: less weight equals more Lotus.”
The Sprint and the spirit of Lotus
Ensuring that this latest Elise remains true to the company’s DNA, the return for the Sprint badge – as used on historic models including the Elan – is designed to provide a highly attractive super-lightweight option sitting above the respective Elise Sport models, and below the top of the range Elise Cup 250. The Sprint’s standard lightweight components include a Lithium-Ion battery, saving 9 kg, Lotus’ beautifully detailed carbon race seats, 6 kg, new lightweight forged alloy wheels, 5 kg, while the carbon access panel, roll hoop cover and engine cover, and polycarbonate rear screen save 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). This includes new, 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 0-60 mph 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).