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Say hello to the Lotus Elise Sprint

New, even more lightweight Elise arrives as whole range gets an update

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This just in from, erm, Norfolk. The Lotus Elise has been updated, and there’s a new model in the range – the Sprint. 

All Lotuses are featherweights, but the Sprint takes things to extremes. It tips the scales at less than 800kg dry (798kg, to be precise), which is very light indeed. The standard-fit Lithium-Ion battery saves 9kg, the carbon race seats 6kg and the forged alloys another 5kg. 

A polycarbonate rear window and miscellaneous carbon bodywork save another 6kg. This is all standard on the Sprint. Spec the right options and you save another 5kg, while changes made to the Elise range as a whole save 10kg. In all, the Sprint is 41kg lighter than the previous Elise Sport. This is the size of a small human. 

Visual upgrades for the Sprint include matt black trim, special wheels and some stripes. The interior has had a similar going-over, with stitched Sprint badges, body-colour inserts and optional Alcantara. 

The Sprint sits between the base Sport and Cup 250 in the Elise line-up. Like the Sport, it’s available with naturally-aspirated 1.6 or supercharged 1.8-litre four-cylinder engines. The former delivers 134bhp, 118lb ft and 0-60mph in 5.9 seconds, and the latter 217bhp, 184lb ft and 0-60mph in 4.1 seconds. Sprint models are £5,000 more than their Sport equivalents, with prices starting at £37,300 for a 1.6-litre Sprint, and rising to £44,300 for the 1.8-litre Sprint 220. 

Upgrades across the range, not just for the Sprint, include a redesigned front clamshell that saves 8.7kg, and redesigned rear panel that houses new rear lights. Lotus says these, along with changes to the Elise’s underside, reduce aerodynamic drag and increase stability. 

1.8-litre cars get a new exhaust Lotus claims make it “the best sounding four-cylinder car on the market”. The suspension setup is basically the same, however spring rates has been marginally increased to account for the lighter weight. Inside there’s the brilliant open-gated shifter from the Exige, new instruments and a better stereo, among others. 

Orders are being taken now, but deliveries begin in April. Deliveries of the new £47,400 Cup 250, which is 23kg lighter than the car it replaces, start in May. 

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