Lotus adds new, lighter Elise models
Lotus has returned to its roots, adding a new Elise Sport and Elise Sport 220 model to its lineup. The Elise 1.6 and Elise S have been discontinued in favor of these new, lighter Lotus Elise models.
Looking back to the Lotus Espirit, the exclusive automaker has re-introduced the "Sport" designation for its lighter, more performance-ready models. The Elise, introduced two decades ago, continues to inspire teenage wall art, sport driving enthusiasm, and the occasional electric car mod. In many ways, the little Lotus has set benchmarks for the entry-level supercar sector.
The new Lotus Elise Sport and Elise Sport 220 begin with a significant weight reduction - a total of 10 kilos (22 lb) each. The Elise Sport weighs just 866 kg (1,909 lb). The Sport 220 tips the scale at only 914 kg (2,015 pounds) and offers more power and torque than the previous models. The Elise Sport 220 has a 0-60 mph (0-96.5 km/h) time of just 4.2 seconds, a top speed of 145 mph (233 km/h), and peak power outputs of 217 horsepower (162 kW) and 185 lb-ft (250 Nm) of torque.
Other changes include popular Lotus exterior colors and the return of the classic tartan trim option. Exterior colors include Solid Red, Solid Yellow, and others in Metallic (Green, Blue, Silver, White, Grey, Orange, Black). Signature Grey is also available. The tartan interior was introduced in 1976 on the Lotus Espirit S1 and is returning now as an iconic throwback and brash statement.
The weight reduction in the new Lotus Elise Sport and Sport 220 means more efficiency for the buyer's pocketbook in terms of price paid and savings at the fuel pump. The Elise Sport model begins at £29,900 / €39,900 (US$45,550) and the Elise Sport 220 at £36,500 / €48,700 (US$55,600).
Fuel economy comes through the power to weight ratio of the new Elise models at just 155 bhp/tonne for the Elise Sport and 237 bph/tonne for the Sport 220. Fuel use ratings are now 56.5 mpg (4 l/100km) and 47.9 mpg (5 l/100km) for the Sport and Sport 220 respectively. An optional forged wheel design upgrade removes another 5 kg (11 lb) from the Elise Sport or Sport 220's weight, further improving speed and economy.
The Lotus Elise Sport and Lotus Elise Sport 220 enter showrooms in Europe in December 2015 and around the rest of the globe in January 2016.
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I know a guy who did research at MIT for compressed air cars in the 80's. After they put in patents, the entire team got threatening phone calls about their loved one's whereabouts at various times of day and were "politely asked" to stop working on it. Fairly certain that the folks in the oil industry didn't want that to move forward. They just used a lightweight Toyota truck engine block and replaced the spark plugs with air injectors. The amount of compression is not that high, so an airtank in the bed drove it very well. And you lose ALL that heavy wasteful cooling equipment. They had a fairly efficient project with very little initial work. I'm sure it would have improved over time.
ICE engines also wouldn't be "superior in economy" if Americans had to pay the true costs of gas, instead of a highly subsidized amount, and an amount that doesn't include a surcharge to cover the damage they are doing. Europeans pay a much truer cost which is why very small, very fuel efficient cars tend to rule the roost over there, as well as clean diesel.