With production of the Lotus Elise and Exige set to come to an end this year, the Hethel-based carmaker has revealed a bevy of Final Edition models to honour these iconic nameplates, which have been around for 25 and 21 years respectively.
Five new Final Edition variants – two Elise and three Exige – are being made available to customers, with each one said to be built in limited numbers. With dedicated badging and plaques, these are certainly collector’s items, and some of them offer even higher outputs, reflected in their new names.
Focusing on the Elise Final Edition models, customers will be able to order these cars in a variety of colour schemes, including the Azure Blue, the colours used in the first production car images provided to the media in 1996; Black, the brand colour of Lotus’ motorsport division; and Racing Green, the colour of the original Elise unveiled at the 1995 Frankfurt Motor Show.
The range starts with the Elise Sport 240, which packs a Toyota-sourced 2ZR-FE 1.8 litre supercharged four-cylinder engine making 243 PS (240 hp) at 7,200 rpm and 244 Nm of torque from 3,000 to 7,000 rpm.
Compared to the Elise Sport 220 it replaces, the new model offers 23 PS (23 hp) more output; a higher top speed of 237 km/h; and takes 0.1 seconds less to get from zero to 100 km/h (4.5 seconds) with a better power-to-weight ratio of 260 hp per tonne.
This is not only due to the higher output, but also the 10-spoke anthracite lightweight forged alloy wheels, which lowers the unladen weight by two kg to 922 kg. To trim even more “fat,” there are optional carbon-fibre panels, a lithium-ion battery and a polycarbonate rear window available for order, bringing things down to just 898 kg.
Inside, the Elise Sport 240 packs a TFT digital instrument cluster with two screen modes; a new, flat-bottom steering wheel design clad in leather and Alcantara; as well as new seat trim and stitch patterns.
Step up to the Elise Cup 250, and you’ll find the same 2ZR-FE engine, but tuned to deliver 248 PS (245 hp) and 244 Nm. That’s not a huge gain in terms of output – only 2 PS (2 hp) – but the model’s main focus is aerodynamics, with the front splitter, rear wing, rear diffuser and side floor extensions contributing to 66 kg of downforce at 161 km/h (100 mph) and 155 kg at its top speed of 248 km/h.
The track-focused setup also includes 10-spoke diamond-cut ultra-lightweight M Sport forged wheels, Yokohama Advan A052 tyres, Bilstein sport dampers, adjustable anti-roll bars, a lightweight lithium-ion battery and a polycarbonate rear window. Like the Elise Sport 240, there are carbon-fibre options offered to drop the unladen weight down to just 931 kg.
Entering Exige space, the Final Edition models include the Exige Sport 390, Exige Sport 420 and Exige Cup 430, all with 2GR-FE 3.5 litre V6 engines from Toyota. Iconic colours are also on offer here, including Metallic White from the unveiling of the V6 Exige at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, and Metallic Orange, which was used on the first press fleet car in 2000 and the Exige GT3 concept.
The first of the trio, the Exige Sport 390, replaces the Exige Sport 350, with an Edelbrock supercharger providing 402 PS (397 hp) at 7,000 rpm and 420 Nm from 3,000 to 6,700 rpm. That’s 52 PS (52 hp) more than its predecessor, so the century sprint time is now 3.8 seconds (-0.1 seconds), while top speed is up to 277 km/h (+3 km/h).
Meanwhile, the Exige Sport 420 is an improvement over the Exige Sport 410, bringing with it 426 PS (420 hp) and 427 Nm, a gain of 10 PS (10 hp) and 7 Nm. This is the Exige with the highest top speed you can buy, maxing out at 290 km/h (+16 km/h), although the 0-100 km/h time is unchanged at 3.4 seconds from the Exige Sport 410.
The sports car also gets Nitron three-way adjustable dampers, Eibach adjustable front and rear anti-roll bars, four-piston AP Racing brake calipers, a high-flow titanium exhaust system and a motorsport-derived traction control system.
Lastly, the top of the range Exige Cup 430 retains its power outputs of 436 PS (430 hp) and 440 Nm, so the top speed (280 km/h) and sprint time (3.3 seconds) is unchanged. Similarly, the car gets plenty of carbon-fibre components and a set of forged alloy wheels to keep the unladen weight at 1,110 kg – the latter is paired with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres.
The Exige Cup 430 gets the same handling goodies as the Exige Sport 420, but it gets motorsport-derived carbon-fibre components as standard like a front splitter, front access panel, roof, diffuser surround, enlarged air-intake side pods, one-piece tailgate and rear wing. It also sports a high-flow titanium exhaust system as standard.
Wait, what about the Evora then? Isn’t Lotus’ most practical model entering its final year of production too? Yes, and Lotus has confirmed that it will announce plans to celebrate the Evora in due time. According to the company, by the time production of the core Lotus range (Elise, Exige and Evora) comes to an end, there will be about 55,000 cars built. That’s more than half of Lotus’ total road car production since the first Lotus in 1948. After this, we’ll look forward to the new range, beginning with the Type 131.
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