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Lotus puts Elise on a diet. Image by Lotus.

Lotus puts Elise on a diet
Lighter Elise Sprint uses carbon fibre to shed weight; whole range receives alterations.
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Newer articles featuring 2017 Lotus Elise

2017-10-20: Ultimate Lotus Elise - the 290hp/tonne Cup 260

What's all this about?

This is the new Lotus Elise Sprint. Sprint is a moniker used by Lotus when they've really gone to town on the whole 'simplify and add lightness' philosophy, and this car is no different.

How much weight has it lost?

The best part of 41kg, thanks to the use of carbon fibre for the seats and various exterior elements like the roll hoop and engine covers. A race-spec lithium-ion battery replaces the regular item, and the glass rear window has been substituted for a polycarbonate screen. Overall, the Sprint stands at under 800kg dry.

Have they forgotten to finish the interior?

That exposed gear linkage saves a kilo all by itself, and mimics the one fitted to the Exige Sport 350. Changes have been made across the entire Elise range, with the front clamshell now almost 9kg lighter than before. A mild facelift sees larger intakes at the front, while the rear light arrangement has also been updated.

Is it any faster?

Not noticeably so, although slightly quicker acceleration times are quoted. Forged alloy wheels and lighter two-piece brake discs shed unsprung weight, a factor that will no doubt contribute to even better handling and feel, things that Lotus has always prided itself upon.

Any other changes?

The new centre console and Alcantara finish inside are common across the range, while a new 'Electric Light Blue' exterior paint joins the options list. Specific to the Sprint are exterior graphics and a black finish on those new wheels, while the weight loss has allowed Lotus to stiffen the springs without any negative effect on ride quality or compliance.

When can I get one?

The car is available to order now for delivery starting next month, and the changes to the Sprint means it will carry a £5,000 premium over the regular Sport model. Engine choices consist of a 1.6-litre and a supercharged 1.8-litre petrol unit, and the Sprint's weight-saving measures can also be applied to the rest of the cars in the Elise range. It's bound to be a good steer, especially when you consider that the Elise wasn't exactly fat in the first place...

Maurice Malone - 20 Mar 2017

Earlier articles featuring 2017 Lotus Elise

2017-05-11: First drive: Lotus Elise Sprint 220

2017 Lotus Elise Sprint. Image by Lotus.2017 Lotus Elise Sprint. Image by Lotus.2017 Lotus Elise Sprint. Image by Lotus.2017 Lotus Elise Sprint. Image by Lotus.2017 Lotus Elise Sprint. Image by Lotus.

2017 Lotus Elise Sprint. Image by Lotus.2017 Lotus Elise Sprint. Image by Lotus.2017 Lotus Elise Sprint. Image by Lotus.2017 Lotus Elise Sprint. Image by Lotus.    - Lotus road tests
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