The legendary sports cars will get the send-off they deserve.
Last month, Lotus revealed that 2021 will see the departure of the Evora, Exige, and Elise as the British carmaker prepares for a new era of lightweight sports cars, including the Type 131. At the time, we suggested that Lotus may unveil special editions of its outgoing cars to see them off, and that's exactly what has materialized.
Known as the Lotus Elise and Exige Final Edition cars, they will be produced in limited numbers with an improved standard specification, more power than the versions they replace in some cases, and new color choices.
The five models comprise three Exige models and just two of the Elise. They have new names as well, which will reflect increased power outputs on some of the modes. The Final Edition cars are the Elise Sport 240, Elise Cup 250, Exige Sport 390, Exige Sport 420, and Exige Cup 430.
Starting with the Elise - which celebrates its 25th year of production this year - both Final Edition variants receive a new TFT digital dashboard. Buyers can choose between conventional dials and a race-style dial that includes a digital speed read-out. Other extras include a Final Edition build plaque, new seat upholstery, and new color choices like Black, Azure Blue, and Racing Green.
The Elise Sport 240 Final Edition gets an extra 23 horsepower and effectively replaces the Sport 220. Peak outputs are 240 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque, allowing it to reach 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds. Lotus has saved weight by fitting Anthracite lightweight forged alloy wheels and a polycarbonate rear window; the car weighs just 1,980 pounds.
Moving up to the Elise Cup 250 Final Edition introduces improved aerodynamics thanks to a unique front splitter, a rear diffuser, and a rear wing. This model comes with Bilstein sport dampers as well as anti-roll bars that can be adjusted.
Much like these Final Edition Elise models, the Exige Final Edition variants all come with a TFT digital dashboard, a new steering wheel, upgraded seat trim, and a Final Edition build plaque. These models use a 3.5-liter supercharged V6 engine and unassisted steering for unrivaled feedback. The heritage colors on offer here include Metallic White and Metallic Orange.
Replacing the Exige Sport 350 is the Exige Sport 390 with 47 hp extra for maximum outputs of 397 hp and 310 lb-ft; this model can hit 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds. The Exige Sport 420 is even more powerful with 420 hp and 315 lb-ft, a 0-60 mph time of 3.3 seconds, and a top speed of 180 mph. It comes with Nitron dampers with three-way adjustability.
Finally, the most radical model is the Exige Cup 430 Final Edition. It produces 430 hp and 325 lb-ft, will reach 60 mph in 3.2 seconds, and has a top speed of 174 mph. This Exige boasts various carbon fiber panels, bigger air-intake side pods, a race-inspired rear wing, and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. Its high-flow titanium exhaust system is said to provide a stirring sound.
With limited production, don't expect these legendary Lotus models to come cheaply. Lotus did not announce US-specific pricing but recommended contacting the official Lotus Cars importer for more information. In the UK, though, the Elise Sport 240 will carry an MSRP of £45,500, which works out to around $62,314 at current rates.
This is followed by the Elise Cup 250 at £50,900 ($69,710), the Exige Sport 390 at £64,000 ($87,651), and the Exige Sport 420 at £79,900 ($109,427). Finally, the Exige Cup 430 goes for £100,600 ($137,776). The Final Edition cars are on sale now.