Built to mark the 50th anniversary of the company’s Hethel site, the new Elise 250 Special Edition is even lighter than the Cup version.
Tipping the scales at just 899kg (1981lbs), the latest variant is 32kg (70.5lbs) lighter than the Cup thanks to a series of exclusive carbon-fiber components, including a front splitter, rear wing, tailgate and front access panel, among others.
The cabin features a pair of carbon seats dressed in either dark blue or dark grey leather with contrasting stitching, with the door cards also getting the hand-stitched treatment. Lotus also offers a carbon-fiber roof panel as an option.
It may look a bit softer than the Cup, but the 250 Special Edition uses the same powertrain, suspension and brakes with the ‘Fastest Street-Legal Elise Yet’. Lotus claims it laps the Hethel test circuit in 1’34”, which makes it the fastest street-legal Elise ever.
The supercharged Toyota-sourced 1.8-litre engine pumps out 243hp (246PS) at 7,200rpm and 184lb-ft (250Nm) of torque between 3,500 and 5,500rpm, giving it an impressive 270hp/tonne power-to-weight figure. 0-60mph comes in 3.9 seconds (0-100km/h in 4.3), with the top speed set at 154mph (248km/h).
Power is sent through a manual six-speed gearbox to the rear where a standard-fitted Electronic Differential Lock works its magic to give this British lightweight better traction during cornering. Lotus has also fitted the car with driver-selectable ESP modes that include ‘Sport’ and ‘Race’ settings. These adjust parameters like throttle response, slip thresholds and remove the understeer recognition feature of the ESP as you work your way towards the off switch.
“As the Elise was conceived, designed, engineered and is built at Hethel, we wanted a 50th tribute that’s even lighter than the fastest road-going Elise we’ve ever produced”, said Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Lotus. “The new Elise 250 Special Edition achieves that, so it’s supremely quick and agile, but it’s also wonderfully finished and stunning to look at.”
Things like air conditioning, cruise control, an in-car entertainment system, auxiliary driving lights, full carpets, floor mats and enhanced sound insulation can also be specified. Customers will be able to choose between four colors (classic metallic blue, red, yellow and white), with a set of ultralight forged wheels finished in silver or black completing the exterior features.
Lotus is going to build just 50 examples and sell them on a first-come, first-served basis. Pricing for the new Elise 250 Special Edition is set at £47,900 for the UK, €64,000 for Germany and 9.4 million yen for Japan.