Sports car maker Lotus has called time on its iconic Elise and Exige models as it prepares to move to an electric future.

To mark the end of production after more than 20 years, it has announced a range of five final editions, with more power, more equipment — but of course less weight.

To be built in limited numbers, each is a fitting tribute to performance cars that are, almost uniquely, legends in their own lifetime.

Two Elise and three Exige final editions will be available, with unique paint colours, new exterior decals, new wheel finishes, new trim and Final Edition badging.

New names reveal higher power outputs for three of the five – the Elise Sport 240, Elise Cup 250, Exige Sport 390, Exige Sport 420 and Exige Cup 430.

The biggest change is an all-new digital dashboard with a choice of two screens, one with a conventional set of dials and the other a race car-style with digital speed readout and an engine speed bar.

 

Lotus Elise Sport 240 Final Edition

Elise Sport 240 Final Edition gains an extra  17kW from a revised calibration.

Delivering 180kW and 244Nm of torque, 0-100km/h takes 4.2 seconds thanks to a power-to-weight ratio of 194kW per tonne.

CO2 emissions of 177 g/km are extremely low for the performance on offer.

The car comes with 10-spoke Anthracite lightweight forged alloy wheels as standard (6J x 16” front and 8J x 17” rear).

They’re 0.5kg lighter than the wheels on the Elise Sport 220 and shod with Yokohama V105 tyres (195/50 R16 front and 225/45 R17 rear).

Further weight savings can be achieved with an extensive range of optional carbon fibre panels, including sill covers and engine cover, lithium-ion battery plus a lightweight polycarbonate rear window.

With all the lightweight options chosen, the mass of the Elise Sport 240 reduces further from 922kg to 898kg.

 

Lotus Elise Cup 250 Final Edition

Key to the Elise Cup 250’s performance are its aerodynamics and downforce.

With aerodynamically optimised components such as the front splitter, rear wing, rear diffuser and side floor extension, the Final Edition produces 66kg of downforce at 160km/h and 155kg of downforce at is maximum speed of 248km/h.

The car is shod in new 10-spoke Diamond Cut ultra-lightweight M Sport forged wheels (7J x 16” front and 8J x 17” rear) with Yokohama A052 tyres (195/50 R16 front and 225/45 R17 rear).

An extensive list of standard equipment includes Bilstein sport dampers and adjustable anti-roll bars, to help maximise the aerodynamic downforce available and boost grip.

Also fitted as standard is a lightweight lithium-ion battery and polycarbonate rear window.

Other lightweight carbon fibre options, as on the Elise Sport 240 Final Edition, are available reducing the mass to an unladen weight of just 931kg.

 

Exige Final Edition range in detail

Exige is celebrated in its final year of production with three new models – the Exige Sport 390, Exige Sport 420 and Exige Cup 430.

New equipment includes unique paint choices, new decals and two new wheel finishes.

All versions also come with the TFT digital dashboard, Final Edition build plaque, new steering wheel, plus new seat trim and stitch patterns.

All models are powered by a 3.5-litre supercharged V6 with a baffled sump, mounted in a lightweight and rigid chassis that provides thrilling acceleration and instant response.

Pure unassisted steering offers exquisite feedback and vivid communication at all speeds.

Exige benefits from a bespoke version of Lotus’ pioneering bonded aluminium chassis, a unique rear subframe and forged aluminium double wishbone suspension at the rear.

Exige is also available in a selection of new colours representing significant cars in its history.

These include Metallic White, from the unveiling of the V6 Exige at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2011, and Metallic Orange, which was used on the first press fleet car in 2000 and the and the Exige GT3 concept from the Geneva Motor Show 2007.

 

Lotus Exige Sport 390

The new Exige Sport 390 replaces the outgoing Exige Sport 350.

The power increase of 35kW comes from a revised calibration linked to the Edelbrock supercharger with charge-cooling, to produce 296kW and 420Nm.

Linked to a light weight of 1138kg, Exige Sport 390 accelerates to 100km/h in just 3.8 seconds before reaching a top speed of 277km/h.

The advanced aerodynamics are carefully balanced, generating 70kg of downforce at the rear and 45kg up front for a total of 115kg at top speed.

To put this power on to the road, Exige Sport 390 has 10-spoke silver lightweight forged alloy wheels (7.5J x 17” front and 10J x 18” rear) and Michelin PS4 tyres (205/45 ZR17 front and 265/35 ZR18 rear).

 

Lotus Exige Sport 420 Final Edition

The Exige Sport 420 Final Edition gains an extra 7.4kW and replaces the outgoing Sport 410.

It is the fastest Exige available, topping out at 290km/h, with 0-100km/h completed in 3.4 seconds.

With its light weight of 1110kg and 313kW giving a power to weight of 282kW per tonne and 427Nm from the supercharged and charge-cooled V6 engine, coupled with a flat torque curve and maximum power available to maximum revs, Exige is regarded as the most complete driving car of its class.

The list of standard equipment is impressive.

Front and rear Eibach anti-roll bars are adjustable and the three-way adjustable Nitron dampers allow for different high and low speed compression settings.

The car rides on 10-spoke Anthracite lightweight forged alloy wheels (7.5J x 17” front, 10J x 18” rear) with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres (215/45 ZR17 front and 285/30 ZR18 rear).

Stopping power comes from AP Racing brakes with forged, four-piston calipers and two-piece J-hook brake discs.

With a higher thermal capacity and improved bite, these discs offer improved debris clearance and reduced vibration for more consistent pedal feel and greater, fade-free performance.

 

Lotus Exige Cup 430 Final Edition

Cup 430 remains the range-topping Exige.

It is regarded as being one of the world’s quickest real-world sports car and is not just suited to its driver’s favourite road, but also at home on a challenging circuit.

Charge-cooled for a consistent 321kW and capable of generating 171kg of downforce, this is the road and track car to rule them all.

The radical aero package is not for show; the Exige Cup 430 generates as much downforce at 100mph as the Exige Sport 390 does at 273km/h.

Weighing just 1110kg the power-to-weight ratio hits a staggering 288kW per tonne.

With 440Nm of torque from 2600rpm, 0-100km/h is completed in 3.3 seconds on the way to a top speed of 280km/h.

Downforce is balanced at all speeds, with the car generating 76kg at the front and a further 95kg at the rear, giving a total of 171kg.

Everything about the Exige Cup 430 is focused on performance, whether that’s driving on the road or track.

Every car comes with motorsport-grade carbon fibre panels include the front splitter, front access panel, roof, diffuser surround, enlarged air-intake side pods, one-piece tailgate and race-derived rear wing.

In addition to revised steering arm geometry to increase bump steer, handling characteristics can be altered via the Nitron three-way adjustable dampers (high and low speed compression plus rebound adjustment) and Eibach adjustable front and rear anti-roll bars, both as standard.

Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres (215/45 ZR17 front and 285/30 ZR18 rear) are fitted to ultra-lightweight 10 spoke diamond cut lightweight forged alloy wheels (7.5J x 17” front, 10J x 18” rear).

Braking comes via forged, four-piston AP Racing brake calipers and higher thermal capacity two-piece J-hook brake discs front and rear.

The system is designed to give improved bite and reduced vibration, delivering consistent pedal feel and fade-free stopping power lap after lap.

With a high-flow titanium exhaust system as standard, Cup 430 sounds like no other supercar at speed.

Motorsport-derived variable traction control linked directly to the ECU helps maximise traction on corner exit by managing the giant surge of torque.

It’s controlled via a six-position rotary switch located on the steering column.

Only active with the ESP stability control switched off, the five pre-set traction levels are displayed on the instrument cluster.

When production of the Lotus Elise, Exige and Evora end later this year, the final combined production total will be in the region of 55,000 cars.

Together they account for more than half of Lotus’ total road car production since the first Lotus in 1948.

 

CHECKOUT: Lotus unleashes electric tour de force

CHECKOUT: First new Lotus in more than a decade

Headshot Riley 96x96 - Time called as Lotus powers ahead

Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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