HAPPY anniversary, Lotus Elise. It's been 20 years since the lightweight mid-engined roadster burst on the scene, and proved to be the brand's saviour after years in the doldrums.
The iconic British manufacturer has released details of its incoming Cup 250, which will be the fastest road-going Elise ever, with a 0-100kmh sprint time of 4.3seconds and 248kmh top speed.
Lotus said its global production run would be limited to 200 vehicles per year, and the cars would arrive in Australia in early 2017.
Sticking to Lotus founder Colin Chapman's belief to "simplify, then add lightness", the Cup 250 sheds 21kg from the current Elise Cup 220 (while adding 19kW) thanks to a Lithium-ion battery, carbon fibre seats and lightweight forged alloy wheels.
Total weight of the Cup 250 is 931kg, or a carbon aero pack (different front splitter, rear wing, rear diffuser and side floor extensions) is also available to shed a further 10kg.
The Elise Cup 250s will be available for the first time as a roadster as standard, with a hard top available as an option. They are powered by a higher-output version of the supercharged 1.8-litre four- cylinder Toyota-sourced engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission, offering 181kW at 7200rpm and 250Nm from 3500rpm.
The cars feature Lotus' Dynamic Performance Management, with a Sport mode to increase throttle response and lowering traction slip thresholds. In other words, it let's you wag its tail a bit further before the system intervenes to remind you of your talent limit.
Cup 250s carry over the motorsport- derived suspension and braking components from the Elise Cup 220 it replaces, including an adjustable front anti-roll bar, Bilstein sports dampers and Eibach coaxial coil springs and double wishbone suspension.
On the braking front, AP Racing twin-piston front callipers and Brembo single-piston rear callipers also hint at superb track day potential.
Full specification and prices will be revealed closer to the Cup 250's arrival down under. The current Elise 1.8 S model costs $84,990, but expect the Cup 250 to cost closer to $120,000 based on its UK price.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.