With the announcement from Lotus that there will be a completely new line-up, we get one last hurray with the departing Elise and Exige. The production of Lotus Elise and Exige will be discontinued after 25 and 21 years respectively. Who knows what the future will look like for the legendary Hethel automakers, but right now we’re getting the hottest versions of two of the best sports cars ever made.
Although these are two models, Lotus will split the final production five different versions, two Elise and three Exige models. The five new Final Edition vehicles will all be more powerful, higher standard specs and – not This a surprise – all will be easier.
Lotus Elise Final Editions
Let’s start with the Elise twins, the Sport 240 Final Edition and the Lotus Elise Cup 250 Final Edition.
Lotus Elise Sport 240 final edition
The Sport 240 will get a healthy 23 horsepower bump in the engine room, now 240 horsepower and 180 lb-ft. Torque on the asphalt. That gives a sprint of 4.1 seconds between zero and 60 mph. The Sport 240 comes with forged 10-spoke anthracite light alloy wheels wrapped in Yokohama V105 tires (195/50 R16 front and 225/45 R17 rear). They are 0.5 kg lighter than the wheels of the Elise Sport 220.
You can save even more weight with a range of optional carbon fiber panels, including rocker panels and engine covers, plus the lithium-ion battery and polycarbonate rear window. This brings the total weight of the Elise Sport 240 down to around 2,000 pounds.
Lotus Elise Cup 250 Final Edition
What sets the Elise Cup 250 apart from the 240 is the 250’s attention to aerodynamics. Lotus has further optimized the front divider, the rear wing, the rear diffuser and the side floor extensions. As a result, the Elise Cup 250 now produces 145 pounds. Downforce at 100 mph and 342 pounds. Downforce at its top speed of 154 mph. The 250 also gets special rims on the way out the factory door; This time it is new 10-spoke Diamond Cut M Sport forged wheels with Yokohama A052 tires (195/50 R16 front and 225/45 R17 rear).
There is a long list of standard equipment, including Bilstein sports dampers, adjustable stabilizers, a lightweight lithium-ion battery and a polycarbonate rear window. Yes, there are plenty of lightweight carbon fiber options that will cut the overall weight to a shade of over 2,052 pounds.
Lotus Exige Final Edition lineup
Anything the Elise twins have, the Exige triplets seem to have more (and less in terms of weight). The final editions include the Lotus Exige Sport 390, Exige Sport 420, and Exige Cup 430.
Exige Sport 390 Final Edition
The new Exige Sport 390 replaces the outgoing Exige Sport 350 and, thanks to revised calibrations of the charge-cooled Edelbrock compressor, achieves an increase in output of 47 hp. The end result is 397 horsepower and 310 lb-ft. Torque that when bolted to the 2,500 pounds. Exige Sport 390 corresponds to a time of 3.7 seconds between zero and 60 mph and a top speed of 172 mph.
Aerodynamic improvements include an additional 155 pounds. Rear downforce and 100 lbs. front. The rims and skins are 10-spoke silversmith alloy wheels (7.5 J x 17 inches at the front and 10 J x 18 inches at the rear) and Michelin PS4 tires (205/45 ZR17 at the front and 265/35 ZR18 at the rear).
Lotus Exige Sport 420 Final Edition
The Exige Sport 420 has 10 horsepower and is the fastest Exige available with a top speed of 180 mph. 60 miles per hour comes in a quick 3.3 seconds. The total weight is 2,400 lbs. And with 420 hp and 315 lb-ft. The torque at t of the supercharged and charge-cooled V6 is easy to see where these COPs come from.
The standard equipment is impressive: adjustable Eibach stabilizers front and rear, three-way adjustable nitrone dampers for various high and low speed compression settings, 10-spoke anthracite forged wheels (7.5 J x 17 inches at the front, 10 J x 18 inches) rear) with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires (215/45 ZR17 front and 285/30 ZR18 rear), racing brakes with forged four-piston brake calipers and two-piece J-hook brake discs.
Lotus Exige Cup 430 Final Edition
And finally we come to the Lotus Exige Cup 430 with the longest range. The list of goodies screwed onto the 430-bph platform is extensive and delicious. The radical aero package produces as much downforce at 100 mph as the Exige Sport 390 does at 170 mph. The downforce is 168 lbs. front and another 210 lbs. on the back for a total of 377 lbs. The total weight is under 2,500 pounds. Zero to 60 mph ticks in 3.2 seconds and the top speed is 174 mph thanks to 325 lb-ft of torque.
Each Exige Cup 430 is equipped with a motorsport carbon front splitter, front access hatch, roof and diffuser surround, and enlarged air inlet sides. The driver can adjust the driving characteristics via the three-way adjustable Nitron dampers (high and low speed compression plus rebound adjustment) and the adjustable front and rear stabilizer from Eibach.
The tires are powerful Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s (215/45 ZR17 front and 285/30 ZR18 rear) mounted on forged 10-spoke light alloy wheels (7.5 J x 17 inches at the front, 10 J x 18 inches at the rear) . Do you want to quit? You can, and you will quickly, thanks to the forged four-piston racing calipers and two-piece, two-piece J-hook brake discs with higher thermal capacity. There is also a high flow titanium exhaust system and a six position variable traction control that connects directly to the ECU.
When production of the Lotus Elise, Exige and Evora ends later this year, total final production will be around 55,000 cars. Together, they have accounted for more than half of Lotus’s total tram production since the first Lotus in 1948.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life driving antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in Perback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @ TonyBorroz.
Photos & Source: Group Lotus.