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. In honour of these two legendary models, Lotus has announced a range of five new Final Edition cars which have higher power, greater standard specification and – in true Lotus style – light weight. Five new variants – two Elise and three Exige – have been created and Lotus is anticipating high demand from global markets as customers rush to buy a slice of history. They are available with unique paint colours, new exterior decals, new wheel finishes, new trim and Final Edition badging. These cars are the ultimate versions of the Elise and Exige, and mark the pinnacle of technical development to showcase more than two decades of engineering excellence. To be built in limited numbers, each is a fitting tribute to performance cars that are, almost uniquely, legends in their own lifetime. The improvements continue under the skin, a fact reflected in new names which reveal higher power outputs on three of the five – the Elise Sport 240, Elise Cup 250, Exige Sport 390, Exige Sport 420 and Exige Cup 430.
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. The steering wheel is of a new design and clad in leather and alcantara.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. 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. 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.
The Exige range is celebrated in its final year of production with three new models – the Exige Sport 390, Exige Sport 420 and Exige Cup 430. 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. The 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. Like the Elise, new equipment for this final year of production includes unique paint choices, new decals and two new wheel finishes. All versions of the Exige also come with the TFT digital dashboard, Final Edition build plaque, new steering wheel, plus new seat trim and stitch patterns. Like the Elise Final Edition range, the 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.
The new Lotus Exige Sport 390 replaces the outgoing Exige Sport 350. The power increase of 47bhp comes from a revised calibration linked to the Edelbrock supercharger with chargecooling, to produce 397bhp and 420Nm. Linked to a light weight of 1,138kg, the Exige Sport 390 accelerates to 60mph in just 3.7 seconds before reaching a top speed of 172mph. 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, the 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). 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.
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