New even lighter Lotus Elise launched

Randall Craig
March 19, 2017

It's Lotus Elise distilled, weighing a featherweight 789kg dry. The result is a saving of 41kg, giving the Elise Sprint a dry weight of 798kg ─ almost half that of a Ford Focus RS.

The iconic sports vehicle has received a minor facelift for 2017, with the British manufacturer adding an even-more-lightweight model to the range, dubbed "Sprint". The achievement is said to represent the biggest weight cut since the introduction of the first-generation Elise.

The design team behind the new Lotus Elise Sprint has shaved 41kg from the standard Elise thanks to the fitment of a lighter battery, carbon-fibre seats, a carbon engine cover, re-engineered brakes and forged alloy wheels.

The Elise Sprint weighs a scant 1,759 pounds, shedding more than 90 pounds from the standard trim. All new Elise editions also receive the car's new look and new interior options. Not a lot, admittedly, but it could make life that little bit less awkward.

When the new vehicle goes on sale in April all variations will have a sharply restyled front and rear and a reimagined interior with better fit and finish, more Alcantara trim, a very racy looking completely exposed gear shifter - i.e., mechanics on show - and, in a nod to 21st century digital convenience, after 20 years and almost 33,000 hand-built examples, optional Bluetooth connectivity.

Reducing the weight does more than just help with performance, it helps it care for polar bears more effectively.

The entire Elise line-up seems to have benefited from a range of improvements, foremost of which is a 10 kg reduction in mass. An Elise Sprint 220, meanwhile, costs from £44,300, which is also £500 more expensive than the Sport 220 (bit of a pattern here) and £3,100 less than the Elise Cup 250.

The new Sprint (in supercharged guise) will sit just below the ultimate top model - the extra lean Elise Cup 250, in the new five-model range when the cars go into hand-built production in April.

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