2021 marks the end of an era for Lotus Cars. As the business moves towards an exciting future as outlined in recent announcements, time is being called on production of the iconic Elise and the genre-creating Exige, after 25 and 21 years respectively.The Elise is a truly iconic Lotus, with 2021 serving as the 25th and final year of production. These two new Final Edition cars are a fitting tribute, and the exclusivity and rarity will no doubt ensure high demand and guarantee future classic status. They retain all the core values and features that have made the Elise such an iconic car – a small, light and agile two-seater powered by a supercharged and chargecooled 1.8-litre, four-cylinder mid-mounted engine. As standard, both Final Edition cars receive the most extensive list of interior and exterior features ever. The biggest change is the all-new TFT digital dashboard with the choice of two screens, one with a conventional set of dials and the other a race car-style with digital speed read-out and an engine speed bar. When production of the Lotus Elise, Exige and Evora end in late 2021, 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.
The Lotus Exige Sport 420 Final Edition gains an extra 10bhp and replaces the outgoing Sport 410. It is the fastest Exige available, topping out at 180mph, with 0-60mph completed in 3.3 seconds. With its light weight of 1,110kg and 420bhp (giving a power to weight of 378bhp per tonne) and 427Nm from the supercharged and chargecooled V6 engine, coupled with a flat torque curve and maximum power available to maximum revs, the 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.
The steering wheel is of a new design and clad in leather and alcantara. It features a flat base to create better leg clearance for taller drivers and to aid ingress and egress. Every car comes with a Final Edition build plaque, plus new seat trim and stitch patterns. A new selection of colours has been introduced for both the Elise Sport 240 and the Elise Cup 250, harking back to some of the iconic colour schemes from the Elise and Lotus’ past. 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. These include Azure Blue, the colour used in the first production car images for media in 1996; Black, the brand colour of the motorsport division when the company ran the successful Autobytel Lotus Elise Championship race series; and Racing Green, an homage to the colour of the original car unveiled at the 1995 Frankfurt Motor Show.
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. Motorsport-derived variable traction control linked directly to the ECU helps maximise traction on corner exit by managing the giant surge of torque.
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