British sports car maker Lotus has revealed the latest fruit of its obsessive efforts to create a faster car through weight reduction.
That fruit is the Elise Sprint, a variant on its long-running entry-level model that uses carbon fibre to create the lightest Elise in the current range and the first to dip below the 800kg mark, at 798 kg.
The Sprint moniker is not new: in decades past, Lotus has used it to designate lightweight variants of cars like the Elan that made its debut in 1962.
Details of Lotus' most recent effort at trimming fat include a lithium ion battery that saves nine kg; carbon fibre race seats six kg lighter than before; a set forged alloy wheels weighing five kg less; and carbon fibre engine cover, rear windscreen and roll hoop cover combine for a six-kg cut.
And that's just what comes standard. Optional are two-piece brakes four kg lighter than the standard binders and carbon fibre door sill covers that save 0.8 kg. See what we mean by obsessive?
Add up all standard and optional lightweight pieces and Lotus says the Elise Sprint is 41 kg more svelte than the regular Elise, enough to cut six tenths of a second off the base car's 0-100 km/h acceleration time (the resulting 5.9 seconds is quick for a car with 134 hp) and and more powerful Sprint 220 model gets there in 4.1 seconds, 0.4 quicker than the standard 220 model.
Lotus adds that even the basic Elise benefits from a 10 kg weight reduction thanks to refinements like a restyled front fascia with a wider radiator air intake and a redesigned rear end with fewer lights. Furthermore, Lotus says the base Elise can be fitted optionally with all of the Sprint model's lightened components.
The Elise Sprint arrives in the company's showrooms this spring, as Lotus works on a next-generation model it says is set for a 2020 debut.