New Extra-Light Lotus Elise Not Actually Lighter Than Other Lotus Elises

All photos credit Lotus

The fundamental idea of Lotus cars is to be made as cheaply as possible. No wait, that’s not it. To have as old an engine as possible. No, wrong. Oh right, it’s to be as light as possible. And a new limited-edition Elise does that perfectly, weighing in at 1,982 pounds.


It’s the 899 kg Lotus Elise 250 Special Edition. Why is it called that? I’m not exactly sure. This road car shares some components with the Lotus Elise 250 Cup racer, and the street car has 250 Nm of torque, but that’s all the 250s I can find in the company press release.

The car, with its old 1.8 liter supercharged Toyota four cylinder, makes 243 horsepower and 270 horsepower per ton, and Lotus will only build 50 examples of this model. No 250s there.


Now, this is an extremely cool car, given that it has so much performance with so little weight. But it’s weird that Lotus doesn’t give much of a reason for why the car is so light. Lotus lists a number of new parts being made from carbon fiber, but they’re almost all additional pieces added to the basic structure. A wing, a front splitter, and two other panels are all that are mentioned.


Even the interior is fully trimmed, at least by Lotus standards.


And as it turns out, this isn’t even the lightest Elise that Lotus makes. The ordinary Elise Sport is about 73 pounds lighter than this 250 Special edition. How does it get that figure? Well, it’s not with any carbon fiber anything, it’s just with a simple, small 1.6 liter engine that’s about 100 horsepower down on the 250.


So the new car is very good at going fast, but it doesn’t set new standards for low weight at the company best known for it. It’s still a super cool car, though.

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Raphael Orlove

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.