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Lotus Elise, Exige sign off with lovely final-edition sports cars

Production of the two cars, plus the Evora, will come to a close this year as Lotus locks in a future with new and electrified sports cars.

Lotus Elise and Exige Final Editions
Bye bye, I'll miss you.
Lotus

It's the end of an era. On Monday, Lotus announced five separate final-edition sports cars to send the long-running Elise and Exige nameplates off into the sunset. The Elise remained in production for 25 years, while the Exige soldiered on for 21 years.

Strangely enough, the company only showed photos of three of the five cars, but nevertheless, they look tasteful and well equipped to celebrate both nameplates' history. The big bummer is Lotus hasn't sold the Elise or Exige in the US for quite some time. Similarly, these cars won't be for sale stateside, either. We should get some sort of Evora final edition, though -- the sole sports car in Lotus' US lineup.

Anyway, let's start with the Elise. Lotus will roll out the Elise Sport 240 and Elise Cup 250. The one adds power, while the other focuses on aerodynamics and downforce. Specifically, the Sport 240 receives a 23-horsepower bump for a total of 243 hp on tap. The car's torque rating remains unchanged at 180 pound-feet of torque; a 1.4-liter supercharged inline-four still does all the work. The Elise Cup 250, meanwhile, adds a new front splitter, rear wing, rear diffuser and side floor extension. At 100 mph, the car puts down 146 pounds of downforce, and other mechanical bits include Bilstein sport dampers and adjustable antiroll bars to boost downforce available. Buyers can option a few other components to reduce the car's unsprung weight to 2,052 pounds.

Both cars also receive the most standard equipment Lotus ever packed into an Elise, which includes a new digital dashboard and a fresh steering wheel design and trim patterns. Each car also gets a Final Edition build plaque to mark its significance.

Moving right along to the Exige lineup, Lotus will wave goodbye to the car with the Exige Sport 390, Sport 420 and Cup 430 Final Edition models. A 3.5-liter supercharged V6 still handles power here and makes 402 horsepower in the Sport 390 Final Edition, thanks to a new Edelbrock supercharger. Ten-spoke alloy wheels help keep weight down to just 2,509 pounds. The Sport 420 kicks things up with another 10 hp over the old Sport 410 model, totaling 426 hp, while 315 lb-ft of torque provides the oomph. This special model also gets the Eibach antiroll bars and adjustable Nitron dampers, too, and its own set of 10-spoke wheels sit in the car's corners.

Finally, the Exige Cup 430 wraps up the nameplate's history with 436 hp, 377 pounds of downforce created and a final weight of just 2,447 pounds. Lotus tossed in an extreme aero package to help keep the car balanced at any speed, finished in carbon fiber, no less. AP Racing brakes, a standard free-flowing exhaust and motorsport-influenced traction control settings cap off the Cup 430 as one heck of a track toy.

When each of the Final Editions finishes off on the assembly line, combined production of the two cars will total about 55,000 cars by Lotus' count. It may be the end, but it's not a total goodbye as we await a handful of new sports cars coming this year.

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