The Lotus Elise Sport 240 shows us the 25 year old recipe still works
Imagine for a second that we're not on some freezing cold x RF airfield but instead, at a Motor Show with all the lights and glamour, remember those and there's gonna be a new car veils.
But before we get to that, I'm gonna tease a few of the headline details.
So it's a pretty two seater sports car from a historic brand crucially weighs just 931 kilos power 240 brake horsepower and manual gearbox, rear wheel drive, not 64.1 seconds and it costs less than a base Porsche Boxster.
You'd be pretty excited we knew.
I would be Exactly.
So without further ado, I give you the new low Sully's sport 240 but although this is a new car after 25 years this is also the Final Edition.
Yes, after a quarter of a century, Lotus has announced that production of both the elite and the exchange will finish this year.
So it's marking the occasion with a couple of special run out models, and we thought we'd take this elite sport to 40 for a brief farewell drive around its home track at Ethel Outputs from the supercharged four cylinder are up by 23 brake horsepower and three pounds foot over the sport 220.
Shaving a 10th from the North 60 mile an hour time and boosting the top speed by a couple of miles an hour to 147 as well as the increase in power and the final addition decals.
The car gets anthracite wheels and standard a new TFT instrument pack, a new steering wheel and the option of some special heritage paints.
The price for all this 45,500 pounds.
And just in case you're wondering, yes, a roof is included in that price.
But kind of in the opinion that, well it is not actually raining.
Well the roof off chinky really got a lovely bobble hat like this, I mean, shame not to worry, wouldn't it?
So this is now the base, valleys range.
So it's not specifically set out for triangle over.
We are here.
As cattle today and it's so lovely very rapidly.
I'll probably say that every time but it's just so true.
The feeling of a lack of weight is wonderful.
This news during well.
Learned really ergonomic, actually a slightly flat button which probably helps getting in and out just to touch.
All the touch points really are lovely actually Alcantara here, this gearshift with the exposed linkage which, fair enough.
You're looking down But it's painful knowing is that>> the pedals are perfectly placed to.
In fact, the only thing I changed will be the standard chairs, as I've always found them a little lacking in lateral support.
So I'd plumped for the optional sports seats just for that last bit of connection, which is what the lease is all about
what this car does Is allowing you to really get into the minutiae of driving.
So it's not a car for big suitcase never has been really.
And I'm as guilty as anybody for being a sucker for a bit of oversteer.
But this car just lets you Really concentrate on all little things you hear people like Rob Wilson talking about.
I was listening to a podcast with him the other day, the stage by stage podcast, and be able to take all the little bits of advice that he gives, and just try and work on them.
And this is the car that you really want.
To try and improve your driving because a little bit of row bit of acceleration, a little bit of staring.
You notice through these long curves here, when you do not see right, you hardly need any staring at all.
And you notice how the car rolls take you on this Cheering suspension rather than the cap or race suspension.
Concentrate on getting your lines up to your right and fair when the front starts to scrub, blowing it up.
Just try and tell yourself not to break maybe just a lift is enough.
Just have confidence in the car because again because it's so light weight every input has an instant reaction.
Anybody can get into something like this and feel the difference that they make with throttle and brake.
When steering through here, don't brake, just lift.
And you get it much smoother.
And this is a great circuit actually to try and get.
We're using the southern loop of Hatfield today.
And fairly obviously this car should feel at home because it's it's home track.
It's where it's been developed.
But what this track's great for is teaching you to really look ahead.
Lincoln is Africa's longest section here.
If you get an answer right, you barely need any staring in front of the cards just come out to me directly through this section right here.
Just feel from there.
You really know that you have to get each corner right Otherwise you mess up the whole sequence.
It feels really quick as well to 40 horsepower.
So that's double what the original ladies had.
And talking of the original, how would you like to hear full geeky facts about that car and its development?
You'd be delighted I can tell.
So here goes Factor number one.
Let's talk about front tire sizes because on the s one leaves the front tires were always a bit too wide.
They gave slightly interesting on limit handling characteristics with just a bit too much front grip.
That's why the s two leaves went to a narrow front tire.
And I always wondered, well, why did they have such a wide front tight surely it must have known it.
And it was because Roman Artioli, who owned Lotus at the time also owned Bugatti, and wanted as much sharing of manufacturers as possible.
So they had to use Michelin, and the smallest tire that Michelin did for a 15 inch wheel was a 185.
So they areFact number two.
We all know that at the heart of the Elise is its bonded extruded aluminium chassis part of what makes it Just so brilliant, but when they were developing this because it was a first in the automotive sector, they had to find various sort of workarounds, one of which was actually getting the any mean to stick to the bonding agent.
And in order to do that they had to coat the anodized piece of aluminium with a certain coating that was well like Teflon, really So they used a non-stick coating to get it to stick.
Fact number three is that originally there weren't that many doors.
It was just gonna be a step through design because it was gonna be a track car.
So they didn't think they needed the practicality of these things.
Which is why the seals are quite so high.
Might still actually, well, a bit awkward certainly and yes one to get in and out of.
This is supremely flexible like the fact number four, the seating position.
The ambience in here is something I remember particularly from the very early ages as much as anything else.
They always felt well a bit like a minute to group C racer.
And that's no coincidence because when they were plotting this car, Richard Rakim and Julian Thompson, the designer were walking around the Dominican collection.
And when nobody was looking, they sat in a few of the cars.
And the one that really got them excited was a group C racer with these big cells.
And down here, it's like you sort of wrap around windscreen.
That's what they wanted.
I'd say that's what they got.
The interior really has changed very little over the years.
At times more carpet, leather and Alcantara has cloaked the aluminium in a bold attempt to learn boxer buyers into the little Lotus.
But really it has always been very light on luxury.
You can put a bed in a tent, but that doesn't make it a hotel.
To be honest, I wouldn't want it any other way.
This new digital display in here, nice and simple.
I've got it in the standard setting at the moment.
Which apes and found those, I think those original stack dials you had and then if you press score down here, you're gonna fall across the top which is certainly slightly easier in your peripheral vision to see we've got some shift lights as well.
[SOUND] Excuse me come on just out of this corner here.
It means quite easy to run into the literature.
It is called a soft limiter.
I like it.
It is not a lot of harsh liberties yet, which is fine.
Try and be neat.
grabbing all the gear the gear shift is certainly improved over the.
It's used to be the case and you'd never really want to necessarily go for a year.
You're accelerating out of the corner when you were sort of off kilter because finding it would be a little tricky.
One of the most fun things in this is the way that it rides the curves through here.
I might not be the most requested cars but there's just to be four way floats across them.
And just as lightness notable right, so it also makes itself felt on the braking.
The mixture of Brembo and AP racing calipers gripping AP discs all around.
Bonus geeky Lotus fact, the first time AP racing brakes were fitted to the standard to a road car was on the Lotus Carlton.
In sport mode, you also slacking off the Yes, say a little bit sharper throttle response, just when you wanted to be playful.
That's why you don't get the rewards really, with an Elise.
But this isn't something I'm actually happy to sacrifice that.
Neat and precise as the lead way always has been.
There is just so much feedback about how the car is moving around below the absolute limit of grip that you don't feel desperate to venture there.>> There was a great quote I heard the other day Dave Minter, here's all the people instrumental in bringing the A list to market.
Said that Colin Chapman told him that a lotus should be like a glove.
Now we've all heard about the expression of you wear the car, but you can wear a baggy jumper.
Colin Chapman took it a stage further you because gloves.
Every little reaction you make, it makes too.
This is not a baggy jumper.
This is definitely a glove.
It is sad that this is the end of the Elize.
But you know what, much as it feels like a wrench, I think it's probably the right decision.
Not because there is anything cripplingly wrong with the release formula, far from it.
If anything, it feels more fresh and relevant now than ever.
But I think people are too used to it.
Through familiarity, it gets overlooked and has done for some time.
Because the engineering isn't new.
It's assumed to be out of date, which really isn't the case.
No, it's the right decision, because it's time for a rebrand so that a car from Lotus that weighs under a ton puts out good power to the rear wheels has a manual box and possesses the legendary Lotus steering can garner the sales it deserves.
I don't know if that car is on the way, but it should be.
Thank you Elise.
You've left big, lightweight shoes to fill
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