2017 Lotus Elise launched

2017 Lotus Elise launched
2017 Lotus Elise launched

Carbonfibre-rich Sprint version gets under the 800kg mark

When a sports car design remains largely unchanged for over two decades, that’s a pretty good indicator that the bod who drew it knew what they were doing.

Enter to a warm burst of applause Julian Thomson, head of design at Lotus in the 1990s and the man responsible for the first Elise, a lightweight sports car that falls squarely into the highly select ‘right first time’ category.

If you were in any doubt about the longevity of the design, here’s the 2017 Lotus Elise looking as familiar as ever.

Okay, the front and rear bumpers are new, as are the taillights. Inside there’s a new Exige-type centre console, new instrumentation, new Alcantara with contrast stitching, plus a Pagani-style open gate gearshift mechanism, but basically it’s the same old Elise, and who’s to complain about that. Bluetooth connectivity is an option. Prices start at £32,200 and the car will be available from April.

Excitingly, the new Elise line-up features a rather tasty lightweight Sprint edition. Thanks to the adoption of a lot more carbonfibre, the Sprint barely troubles the scales at 798kg, which is 41kg lighter than the outgoing model, As a percentage of the whole, that’s hefty trimmage. Pick the strongest model, the supercharged 1.8-litre 217bhp Sprint 220, and a 0-60mph time of 4.1 seconds will be in your domain. That compares to 5.9 secomd in the regular 134bhp 1.6-litre Sprint.

A month after that April launch, an even more hardcore new Elise 250 Cup will come along. As it stands, it’s 23kg lighter than the old one, but if you tick all the lightweight option boxes the weight saving grows to 40kg. There are no performance figures yet but we do know that prices start at £47,400.

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