While Lotus was recently bought by Geely, the same Chinese company that owns and revived a downtrodden Volvo, the company’s mighty influence hasn’t yet been felt. To its credit, however, Lotus has continued releasing fantastic and engaging sports cars. The only problem, here in the States, most of Lotus’ lineup isn’t legal, including the company’s newest addition, the Elise Cup 260.
The Elise Cup 260 is based on the company’s racecar-derived Elise and features a host of those race-bred parts that according to the company, make it the ultimate Elise. Produced to celebrate the company’s founding by Colin Chapman, the Elise Cup 260 features a 250 horsepower supercharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that’s capable of sending the minuscule sportscar to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds.
The engine is mated to a six-speed manual transmission, with new closer ratios, and will top out at 151 mph.
According to the company, the Elise Cup 260’s weight is down to the lowest weight of any Elise ever. At 1,988 lbs, the Elise Cup 260’s unladen-swallow-esque weight is thanks to a thoroughly lightened chassis.
Lotus says it shaved weight by using more carbon fiber and composite material throughout the car, and saved weight with the new front access panel, new engine cover, new roll hoop covers, new side sill covers, lightweight two-piece brakes, and carbon race seats. In addition, a lightweight lithium-ion battery, forged alloy wheels, and instead of glass, the front, rear, and side windows are all made of polycarbonate.
“Our philosophy for producing extraordinary vehicles is world famous, but the new Elise Cup 260 goes beyond what many believed possible from our smallest car,” said Jean-Marc Gales, Lotus’ CEO.
“It is directly developed from the Elise racecars that are competing in series around the world, giving the ultimate Elise experience on the road. More power, motorsport components and the introduction of aerodynamics unheard of in its class make driving this Elise an unrivaled experience.”
Son of Lotus’ founder, Clive Chapman, who’s also the director of Classic Team Lotus, said, “Each and every one of the sports cars produced by Lotus today carries the true spirit of Lotus laid down by my father nearly 70 years ago. I’m extremely proud that his legacy and achievements are being acknowledged and celebrated in this iconic version of the Elise.”
Only 30 examples of the Elise Cup 260 will be produced and since the Elise doesn’t meet current U.S. road standards, none will arrive on our shores for quite some time.
Lotus hasn’t released pricing, but given that other special edition Lotus’ held a hefty premium, it’s safe to assume that this little Elise will too. Let’s just hope given that Geely injects enough cash into Lotus that the company brings more cars stateside.