The Lotus Elise Cup 250 is a lightweight weaponThe Elise is one of the best handling cars you can buy today. Carfection went to find out what it looks like when Lotus turns it up to 11.
[SOUND] [MUSIC] 20 years ago, Lotus released a car that would something of an icon. It was small, light, relatively low on power, and nice to look at. Today it's making essentially the same car, albeit with a few differences. The engine still sits in the middle, it's based on an aluminum bonded chassis, and its still pretty. Now, there's a new iteration, and it's quite, quite mad. [SOUND] [NOISE] In the last 20 years that formula hasn't really changed all that much. However in its spare time Lotus has been getting really serious. The cup 250 is the most hardcore mightest purest bestest the elites can possibly think. Lotus's founder Carlin Chapman was quite big on all things like weight and so is this. The 250 takes the best bits of its predecessor the 220 and makes it more. Also that'd be less It's 21 kilos lighter than the 220. That's thanks to forged alloys, carbon-backed bucket seats, and a lightweight battery. Without a driver, it's just 931 kilos, which is essentially nothing. If you want to be even more lightweighty about it, you can spec a carbon pack and lose a further ten kilos. With me on board, that'll make this thing around a thousand kilos. Little A little bit more if I've had a big breakfast. Now, in the middle of the car sits a 1.8 Liter four cylinder supercharged engine that kicks out 243 break horsepower and 184 lb ft. Lotus says it will be north of 62 in 4.3 seconds. And with the roof on, 154 miles per hour [NOISE] Numbers await look good, but what about the under the skin dynamic stuff? A lot of it is the same as the 220. The 250's wings give it 66 kilos down forces hundreds miles an hour. But I've got springs, adjustables [UNKNOWN], 18 Up front and windows at the back. Now Lotus has seen fit to give its new child some new shoes. The tires at the back are the same width as the 220 but they are wider at the front, in theory to give it better turning and grip. Each of those wheels are shod in [INAUDIBLE] super sticky Yokohama Yokohama a048. In theory, again, that'll make this thing grip like nothing else. [SOUND] There is, of course, a down side to all this lightweight hard core kit. This is not a comfortable car. As standard, there are no carpets inside. It's suspension may get it around Lotus' test track four seconds quicker than the old car, but can you imagine it being easy on the arse when you're on the road. And if you're driving in town you can forget about air con and a radio because those are options as well. And the steering is unassisted. So you'll look like a fool trying to park it up. What we have here is not A sensible car at all. Firstly, there's the price. It's a little over ��45 thousand, and that's before you start putting things like carbon packs and what have you on it. It's hard to get into. You can't see out of the back. It's heavy to steer, and it'll be pretty uncomfortable travelling round town, however this isn't meant for trundling around town. It's made for stuff like this. [SOUND] What's it like? Well, first of all, I need to come clean a little bit. This isn't the lightest it could possibly be, because we have air conditioning, and then the carpet, and then the H stuff. Which is all optional extra, and a little bit of weight. [SOUND] But, in the grand scheme of things, not all that much. This is a featherweight. It's so light, and you can feel it. So if you look at the steering, for example, it isn't electrically assisted. You have to do all the hard work yourself. But because the car weighs nothing, and because it's so direct, it's an absolute joy at speed. [BLANK_AUDIO] These Yokohamas are so grippy. [LAUGH] So, so grippy. You get them warm, and you have quite a lot of difficulty getting this thing unstuck. I tried pushing it around corners, harder, faster each time. And, well, you can get it wrong. Because I did. [MUSIC] [SOUND] But this isn't a car for sideways [UNKNOWN] or anything like that. It's a very pure car. It's there to work with you to get the best lap time, to get the best out of the vehicle, the best out of you. And when the two of you work in harmony, [INAUDIBLE] You do achieve some pretty good results. [MUSIC] The gear box is an absolute joy. The clutch is nice and short, the [INAUDIBLE] is just in the right place. And it's such an easy action you can delicately move it from ratio to ratio with power manual gear should be. This car's real, real policy piece though, is the engine. That 1.8 Supercharged Shelby. The way it delivers its power is something else. That supercharger just gives it that lightness of touch, and it revs so fast. Partly because the engine itself is Feels so good and it pulls so strongly. And it sounds awesome, it makes a dirty little noise and you get a little bit of supercharger whine. Just a little bit to let you know that it's working. It's also because this thing weighs nothing. No car weighs 921 kilos today. A few weigh less, but they're kit cars or don't have enough wheels. This is a special car. This is a track car. This is a car for someone who wants to have the best of these they can, who wants to be able to go to the track, roof off, and have some fun in it. This needs Easily the best Elise I've driven. Hell it's one of the best Lotuses. And this thing laps the full circuit way quicker than the C20 did. And it would cause a lot of trouble for people on track day. Especially if the people in the bigger faster stuff have no idea what they're doing. The speed this thing can generate And a right. It's a giant killer. [MUSIC] This is Lotus at it's hard core finest. The 250 is fast, frantic and encourages you to simply be better at driving quickly. Twenty years on, the Elise is still one of the best handling cars out there. And one of the most fun. [MUSIC]