Lotus has lifted the wraps from a total of five new special edition models of its Elise and Exige. The Final Editions mark the end of the sports cars’ lives, following the recent announcement that a new Type 131 model, plus two additional sports cars, will be launched. That trio comes on the back of the all-electric Evija hypercar.
It is worth highlighting just how significant both the Elise and Exige have been for Lotus. When their production ends later this year, their combined output will be around 55,000 units; according to Lotus, that’s more than half of the Norfolk brand’s total production figures since the first Lotus left the factory in 1948.
Lotus Elise Final Edition
The end of the Elise coincides with its 25th anniversary. Not surprisingly, Lotus says the run-out special edition will be the most extensively equipped version of the car ever sold. Two versions will be available: the £45,500 entry-level Lotus Elise Sport 240, and the flagship Elise Cup 250, which will cost £50,900.
The Sport 240 replaces the Elise 220. Power comes from a retuned version of the same supercharged 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, but now delivers an extra 23bhp, raising the maximum output to 240bhp, and 180lb ft of torque. Lotus says that’s enough to propel the car from standstill to 60mph in just 4.1 seconds.
The same engine is slotted into the Elise Cup 250 Final Edition. The difference is this model weighs less and boasts a lot more aero. In addition to an aggressive rear diffuser and a larger rear wing, plus a new front splitter and extended side skirts — all of which combine to produce 66kg of downforce at 100mph — the lightweight rear window and battery pack are fitted as standard.
The Cup 250 also benefits from a set of staggered alloy wheels (16 inches at the front and 17 at the rear). These are shod with sticky Yokohama tyres, while the suspension is further enhanced by the addition of improved Bilstein dampers and adjustable anti-roll bars.
Fitted as standard on both cars is a redesigned, flat-bottomed Alcantara steering wheel, which Lotus says makes it easier for taller drivers to enter and exit the Elise, plus a new digital instrument cluster. Options include a carbon fibre engine cover, plus a polycarbonate rear window and a lithium-ion battery: the latter two are standard on the Cup 250 Final Edition.
Lotus Exige Final Edition
There are three new special edition models of the Exige, all powered by a supercharged 3.5-litre V6. Prices start at £64,000 for the entry-level Exige Sport 390 Final Edition, which replaces the old Exige Sport 350.
Producing 397bhp — an increase of 47bhp on the old model — and 310lb ft of torque, the Sport 390 is good for 0-60mph in 3.7 seconds. According to Lotus, it’ll top out at 172mph. Standard kit includes an aero package capable of generating 115kg of downforce at maximum speed, plus lightweight forged alloy wheels fitted with Michelin PS4 tyres.
The mid-range Exige Sport 420 Final Edition, priced at £79,900, replaces the outgoing Sport 410 and yes, adds an extra 10bhp to its output. Combined with 315lb ft of torque, it’s the quickest model in the revised Exige line-up. With a top speed of 180mph, it’ll also crack 0-60mph in 3.3 seconds.
A range of performance-enhancing tech is also fitted as standard, including upgraded Eibach anti-roll bars, three-way adjustable dampers, and lightweight forged alloy wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres. Just for good measure, there’s also additional stopping power with the Sport 420 gaining a set of AP Racing forged four-piston calipers and two-piece brake discs.
There’s also an eye-watering, £100,600 range-topping Lotus Exige Cup 430 Final Edition. While the extra 20 grand might bring just an extra 10bhp in terms of power output, the Cup 430 boasts lightweight carbon fibre panels. There’s also a number of additional aerodynamic upgrades which can generate 171kg of downforce, according to Lotus.
Most noticeable is the enormous carbon fibre rear wing, but the Cup 430 also gets a lower front splitter, a carbon fibre roof, and larger engine intake pods. Fitted with the same suspension and braking upgrades as the Sport 420, it differs in that the Cup 430 has a new, high-flow titanium exhaust system, a more sophisticated traction control system and revised steering arm geometry.