Lotus Elise and Exige start long goodbye with Final Edition variants

Lotus will soon axe the Elise and Exige – but not before launching a collection of final edition models to celebrate their production runs

Lotus has launched new special edition versions of the Elise and Exige, to mark the end of the sports cars’ lives. The British brand’s long serving bread-and-butter models will go out of production later this year to make room for the all-electric Evija hypercar and three new sports cars.

The Lotus Elise is being discontinued just in time for its 25th anniversary – and Lotus says the run-out special edition will be the most extensively equipped version of the car to date. Buyers will be offered two new versions, with prices starting from £45,500 for the entry-level Lotus Elise Sport 240 and £50,900 for the flagship Elise Cup 250.

The base-model replaces the old Elise 220. It’s powered by a retuned version of the same supercharged 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine which produces an extra 23bhp, taking the car’s maximum output to 240bhp and 244Nm of torque. As such, 0–60mph now takes 4.1 seconds and the car’s power-to-weight ratio stands at 260bhp per tonne.

Both cars also come as standard with a new digital instrument cluster and a redesigned, flat-bottomed Alcantara steering wheel, which Lotus says makes it easier for taller drivers to enter and exit the Elise. Buyers can also spec a host of lightweight optional extras, such as a carbon fibre engine cover, a polycarbonate rear window and a lithium-ion battery.

The Elise Cup 250 Final Edition features the same engine as the base-model, but a little less weight and a lot more aero. The lightweight rear window and battery pack are fitted as standard, along with a new front splitter, extended side skirts, an aggressive rear diffuser and a larger rear wing – all of which can produce 66kg of downforce at 100mph.

In an effort to further improve the Elise’s handling, Lotus also fitted the Cup 250 with a set of staggered alloy wheels (measuring 16-inches at the front and 17-inches at the rear), sticky Yokohama tyres, improved Bilstein dampers and adjustable anti-roll bars.

Lotus Exige Final Edition

Lotus has re-jigged the Exige’s line-up, too, offering three new special edition models – all of which are powered by a supercharged 3.5-litre V6. The entry-level Exige Sport 390 Final Edition replaces the old Exige Sport 350 and has a starting price of £64,000.

For the money, buyers get lightweight forged alloy wheels, Michelin PS4 tyres and an aero package capable of generating 115kg at maximum speed. The Exige 390’s engine also has an output of 397bhp and 420Nm of torque, which is 47bhp more than the old car or enough, says Lotus, for a 0–60mph time of 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 172mph.

The new Exige Sport 420 Final Edition replaces the outgoing Sport 410 variant. It gains 10bhp over its predecessor, which boosts the engine’s output to 420bhp and 427Nm of torque. It’s also the fastest model in the revised Exige line-up, boasting a top speed of 180mph and a 0–60mph time of 3.3 seconds.

Prices start from £79,900, for which buyers get three-way adjustable dampers, upgraded Eibach anti-roll bars and lightweight forged alloy wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres. To help rein-in the extra power, AP Racing also supplied a set of forged four-piston calipers and two-piece brake discs.

Lotus’s flagship Final Edition Exige, the Cup 430, is priced from £100,600. The extra £20,000 brings an additional 10bhp, lightweight carbon fibre panels and a host of aerodynamic upgrades which Lotus says are capable of generating 171kg of downforce.

Tweaks include larger engine intake pods, a carbon fibre roof, a lower front splitter and an enormous carbon fibre rear wing. It features the same suspension and braking upgrades as the Sport 420, along with revised steering arm geometry, a more sophisticated traction control system and a new, high-flow titanium exhaust system.

When Lotus removes the Elise, Exige and Evora from its line-up later this year, the trio’s production numbers will total around 55,000 units. Together, Lotus says the cars account for more than half of the brand’s total production figures since the first Lotus left the factory in 1948.

What do you make of the new Lotus Elise and Exige Final Edition models? Let us know in the comments section below…

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