Lotus has launched the 'ultimate' limited-edition Elise - yours for Porsche Cayman GTS money
This is the Lotus Elise Cup 260. It's a replacement for the current Cup 250 - itself a lightly worked over version of the orginal Cup 250 - and is derived from the track only Race 250. Clear?
To the numbers then. An extra 7hp from the 1.8-litre supercharged four pot brings total power up to 253hp - Cup 253 obviously wasn't deemed as marketable though - and kerb weight is down from 917kg previously to 902kg. These improvements allow the Cup 260 to cover the 0-62 sprint in just 4.2 seconds, one tenth quicker than the Cup 250.
Many of those weight savings come from previously optional carbon fibre components now offered as standard on the latest model. These include two-piece brake discs, lightweight carbon race seats - weighing just 6 kg each - a lithium-ion battery, forged alloy wheels and a polycarbonate rear screen. The devil's in the detail though, so the front access panel, engine cover, roll hoop cover and side sill covers have also been on a diet, together saving a further 6kg.
Elsewhere, lift reducing louvred front wheel arches, a gigantic new rear wing developed from the Lotus 3-Eleven, and a carbon front splitter and rear diffuser help the Cup 260 to generate up to 180kg of downforce at top speed - a 44 per cent improvement on the Cup 250. All of which makes for a Hethel lap time 2.5 seconds faster than its predecessor.
With so much kit included, you may be wondering how you're supposed to spend the extra cash you've set aside for options - well, fear not because a £3,000 carbon fibre hardtop, £4,000 titanium exhaust, and £400 stereo with Bluetooth provide ample opportunity for list price embellishment. Speaking of which, the RRP is £59,500 - the same as a Porsche Cayman GTS with a few decent options on. Although with only 30 being built we're sure Lotus will have no problem shifting them.
That doesn't mean that there aren't a fistful of alternatives just a click away. Sitting in the classifieds we have this brand new - it can't be easy for Lotus dealers can it? - Cup 250, and this Exige Sport 350, both for a few thousand pounds less than the 260. There's also this 2-Eleven for nearly half the price - admittedly a rather different proposition; but if you're looking for the ultimate pared-back, track-derived expression of an Elise, a 2-Eleven is mightily hard to beat.
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