Who saw this one coming? Everyone, that's who.
Hethel is undeniably a pretty significant place for Lotus. For the last 50 years it's been the home of the British sports car maker, with some of the most revered road and racing vehicles being either assembled or honed to perfection at the former airfield facility in Norfolk. As a result, to commemorate the semi-centennial anniversary of the Hethel connection, Lotus has jumped onto the special edition bandwagon. The Elise you see here is the latest in a growing line of celebratory models.
Apart from being a departure from the two Evora editions that Lotus has made, the imaginatively named "Lotus Elise 250 Special Edition" doesn't really bring anything particularly new to the table. In fact, you could cynically argue that, bar the special paint job options, there isn't a huge amount that this limited run of models does to build upon the standard Elise 250. However, being a Lotus Elise 250 means this Special Edition iteration is automatically one of the finest sports cars on sale today. And the fact it's not the Cup model means you get all the straight line grunt of the racier model with the added malleability that comes through not being as track-focused and as edgy as a track-oriented model.
Such a prospect won't come cheap. In the UK Lotus is selling the Elise 250 Special Edition for £47,900 ($62,911), making this model a couple of grand more expensive than an Elise 250 Cup and nearly £11,000 ($14,447) pricier than the next rung down in the Elise ladder: the Elise 220. Not that it'll keep us awake at night here in the United States. As the vehicle hasn't been federalized it's impossible to buy one in the US. If there's any consolation it's that Lotus isn't the kind of company that would generally put an in-betweener special edition into production without having plans to introduce it as a fully fledged model later down the line. As a result, don't be surprised to see a non-Cup Elise 250 being launched in the not too distant future.