Standing about waist high to most adults and being not much longer than a tandem bicycle, the Lotus Elise is already a small sports car. Imagine if that became even lighter and more powerful, capable of reaching 60 miles per hour in 3.9 seconds and 0-100 km/h in 4.3 seconds.
That, when you boil it down to brass tacks, is what the Lotus Elise Cup 250 is – a lighter, faster, more powerful version of the regular Elise model as the high performance version of what is already a high performance car.
The Elise Cup 250 sheds 21 kilograms (46 pounds), gains 26 horsepower (19 kW) and has an option to drop another 10 kilos with a Carbon Aero Pack. This gives the car a weight of 931 kg (2,052 pounds) or 921 kg and a total output of 243 horses (181 kW). That measures out to 261 hp per tonne and gives the Elise Cup 250 a top speed of 154 mph (248 km/h).
As a replacement for the Cup 220, the Lotus Elise Cup 250 will have a limited run of only 200 units per year. Most of the weight savings realized in the new Lotus were made by shaving kilos from various components throughout the car, especially in electrical, the interior, and in the wheels.
Lotus' new Lightweight Laboratory managed to shave 10 kg off by replacing the battery with a lithium-ion upgrade. A further six kilograms were shed with carbon fiber seating and another 1.5 kg were dropped with an upgrade to ultra-lightweight forged alloy wheels. Other smaller changes completed the 21 kg weight savings.
What's more, the Lotus Elise Cup 250 will be a roadster model as standard with the hard top being an option rather than the norm. The optional Carbon Aero Pack replaces most of the Elise's aerodynamic additions, such as the rear diffusers, the air wing, and the front splitter, with carbon fiber components to further lighten weight.
The Cup 250 laps the Hethel test track in just 1 minute and 34 seconds, a full 4 seconds faster than the outgoing Cup 220. This makes for the fastest recorded lap time for a production Elise.
Performance improvements come from a combination of small changes to the car, including slightly wider 195/50 R16 front tires for more precision in steering. Engine improvements include the boosting of the 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine to 243 horsepower at 7,200 rpm. The engine also produces 184 pound-feet (250 Nm) of torque in the 3,500 to 5,500 rpm band.
The aforementioned aerodynamics additions, whether in standard or carbon fiber form, add 66 kg of downforce at 100 mph (145.5 pounds, 161 km/h).
The Cup 250 has ten paint options and two interior color options, while a Leather Pack upgrade for the interior is available and personalized coloring can be optioned as well.
Pricing for the Elise Cup 250 begins at £46,500.