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Lotus Elise evolves into rapid Cup 250. Image by Lotus.

Lotus Elise evolves into rapid Cup 250
The fastest road-going Lotus Elise yet, the 246hp Cup 250, starts at 45,600.
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2016-05-16: First drive: Lotus Elise Cup 250

What's all this about?

Another day, another harder, better, faster, stronger Lotus. This time, the Elise Cup 220 has been given the going-over and the result is the Cup 250, which replaces the former model.

Does that mean we're talking 250hp?

As near as makes no difference. The Cup 250 punts out 246hp at 7,200rpm and 250Nm from 3,500- to 5,500rpm, allowing for a 0-62mph time of 4.3 seconds and a 154mph top speed, making it the fastest road-going Elise yet built. It also laps Hethel in 1 minute 34 seconds, a record for any production Elise.

Has Lotus changed a lot with the chassis set-up?

Not really, as the 220's Bilstein dampers and Eibach springs remain, as does an adjustable front anti-roll bar, plus brakes provided by AP at the front (twin-piston callipers) and Brembo at the rear (single-pot items). Lotus has fitted wider 195/50 R16 tyres at the nose, which are leech-like Yokohama AO48s, so the steering is said to be a bit sharper. And the Lotus Dynamic Performance Management (DPM) provides a 'Sport' mode, increasing throttle response, lowering traction slip thresholds and removing understeer recognition. Yet it's the weight-saving that makes the biggest improvement.

Eh? I thought the Elise was a featherweight as it was?

Indeed so, although another 21kg has been trimmed from the Cup 220 for the Cup 250, mainly due to a lithium-ion battery (10kg), carbon fibre seats (6kg) and ultra-lightweight forged alloy wheels (1.5kg). Go for the Carbon Aero Pack - which changes the standard front splitter, rear wing, rear diffuser and side skirts for items made out of carbon fibre - and another 10kg comes off the kerb weight, meaning a Cup is either 931- or 921kg all-in. That's 265- and 267hp/tonne respectively.

Is it an open-top?

Yes, for the first time Lotus is offering the Elise Cup as a roadster as standard, with a hard-top an option. Ten colours will be available, although the Lotus Exclusive programme allows for further personalisation options. The standard full Alcantara interior comes in either red or black, with leather an upgrade, while some of the switches have been improved and there's a new 'engine start' button. Bluetooth and iPod connectivity are options, should you want such things in an Elise Cup.

Any other juicy gems to unearth?

The body kit is aerodynamically optimised to provide 66kg of downforce at 100mph and 155kg at 154mph.

Nice. So when does it go on sale, and how much is it?

For 45,600, the Elise Cup 250 will be available from April 2016 and you can visit to find out more about it.

Matt Robinson - 16 Feb 2016

Earlier articles featuring 2016 Lotus Elise

2015-11-16: Lotus Elise Sport and Sport 220 announced

2016 Lotus Elise Cup 250. Image by Lotus.2016 Lotus Elise Cup 250. Image by Lotus.2016 Lotus Elise Cup 250. Image by Lotus.2016 Lotus Elise Cup 250. Image by Lotus.2016 Lotus Elise Cup 250. Image by Lotus.

2016 Lotus Elise Cup 250. Image by Lotus.2016 Lotus Elise Cup 250. Image by Lotus.2016 Lotus Elise Cup 250. Image by Lotus.2016 Lotus Elise Cup 250. Image by Lotus.2016 Lotus Elise Cup 250. Image by Lotus.    - Lotus road tests
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