By substituting lightweight carbon fiber in parts like the car's seats and using a lighter lithium-ion batter, Lotus has whittled 46 pounds from the already feathery Elise. At the same time, it cranked up the power on the supercharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, boosting it by 26 to 243 hp. The result is the fastest-ever Lotus Elise Cup 250.
The new-and-improved car accelerates to 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds and its top speed is an impressive 154 mph. The company also touts its reduced lap time at the Lotus test track in Hethel, England, where the Cup 250's time is 1:34, a four-second improvement over the Elise Cup 220. As at the Olympics, four seconds is a massive improvement, even without knowing the track.
The carbon fiber front splitter, rear wing, side skirts and diffuser contribute to 145 lbs. of aerodynamic downforce on the car at 100 mph and 341 lbs. at top speed, for maximum stability. Most street cars actually generate lift at high speed, and carmakers seek to minimize it to reduce the chance of lifting off, so producing downforce is an achievement for Lotus.
Continuing its track orientation, the Elise Cup 250 rolls on Yokohama AO48 tires (well, "tyres" in Lotus-speak), with Bilstein racing shock absorbers, AP Racing front brake calipers and Brembo rears to ensure precise control of the car.
The price in Britain is the equivalent of $65,160. “The Lotus Elise has long set the benchmark in its class, yet we’ve been able to hone its straight-line performance and handling," remarked Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus plc.
"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."
Which is exactly what we'd expect from the fastest Elise ever.