There’s a saying at Hethel, “Less weight equal more Lotus” and the brilliant engineers has done just that to the legendary Lotus Elise. Updated for the year 2017, the Lotus Elise went through a diet and gets a more hardcore Sprint Edition for the Sport and Sport 220 variants.
The Elise range benefits from a 10 kg weight reduction thanks to a redesigned lightweight front clam panel (front bumper) that shaves off 8.7 kg and redesigned rear lights that weigh 300 grams less. Every gram counts, eh? Inside, a new exposed open-gate manual gearbox that was first used in the Exige Sport 350 helps bring the weight down by another 1 kg.
For even more weight saving, customers can opt for carbon side sill covers that further trims weight down by 800 grams while increasing door aperture by up to 10 mm. Who says it’s all about light weight? Other optional components include Alcantara finished steering wheel, vent-surrounds and sills. A new Electric Light Blue has also been added to the Lotus core colour palatte.
No changes were made to the mechanics of the Elise, as such the car remains powered by a 1.6-litre naturally aspirated flat-four engine that produces 134 hp and 160 Nm while the Elise Sport 220 gets a more powerful 1.8-litre supercharged four-cylinder with 217 hp and 250 Nm of torque. The Elise Sport 220 also gets a new exhaust system that Lotus claims will make the 1.8-litre supercharged Elise the best-sounding four-cylinder car on the market. Can it be better than the AMG A 45, though?
As for the Sprint Edition, this special variant gets a massive 30.8 kg weight reduction, thanks to a new lightweight lithium-ion battery (-6 kg), carbon race seats (-6 kg), lightweight forged alloy wheels (-5 kg), carbon access panel, roll hoop cover, engine cover and polycarbonate rear screen (collectively -6 kg). Opt for the optional two-piece disc brakes and carbon sill covers and that will save you an additional 4.8 kg that brings the Elise Sprint to a dry weight of just 798 kg. Thanks to the additional weight savings, the Sprint Edition boast a faster 0 to 96 km/h time of 5.9 seconds and 4.1 seconds for the Sprint and Sprint 220, respectively.
Regular Elise Sport and Elise Sport 220 buyers can specify all the lightweight components found in the Sprint Edition but only the Sprint range gets bespoke matt black transom panel, black wheels, side stripes and Sprint badging.
The updated Lotus Elise range will arrive in UK showrooms in the second quarter of the year and starts from £32,300 (RM177k) for the base Elise Sport and tops out at £44,300 (RM243k) for the Elise Sprint 220. In their never ending pursuit of lightweight, the next generation Elise may literally just be a go kart for the road.