New Lotus Elise Cup 250 gets even lighter and more hardcore

Minor changes to the Cup 250 make it almost more carbonfibre than car, following the Lotus mantra of adding lightness

Just over a year ago we drove Lotus’s Elise Cup 250; the lighter, more focused supercharged car was billed as the fastest ever Elise. Its exceptional grip and agility made it wonderful on the road, even if its overall balance wasn’t quite suited to harder track driving. 

> Read our review of the old Lotus Elise Cup 250

But now, before the old car has had time to mature, Lotus has released a new Elise 250 Cup. But, don’t worry; the new car is very much like the old model and only the most perceptive of Lotus fans will be able to spot the differences.

At the front the new car gets wider front apertures that we first saw on the new Sport and Sprint models. The latest Elise also has a less prominent splitter than the old Cup 250; the edges don’t rise up in front on the wheel arches quite as dramatically as the one on the previous car. The bargeboards on the trailing edge of the front wheel arches look smaller, too and match the new front splitter.

Lotus says the rear wing is also new but, to us, it looks practically identical to the one on the old car. New or not, the wing and other aero additions help create 125kg of downforce at 140mph.

Inside, the main difference is the exposed gear linkage that has gradually made its way onto all Elise and Exige models over the past year. Less obvious is a steel roll bar that adds to the body’s torsional rigidity, new dial graphics to make them easier to read and a new in-car entertainment system. 

As is the way with Lotus, the car’s weight is very important. Generous use of carbonfibre, plastic and aluminium has reduced the Cup 250’s weight to 917kg, 14kg lighter than previous model. As standard, the hardcore Elise gets carbonfibre seats, forged alloy wheels, a lithium-ion battery and a polycarbonate rear screen.

But if that’s still too bulky for you then Lotus offers a range of options to shave even more weight. A full-titanium exhaust to saves a further 7kg, two-piece brake discs trim 4kg and, if made from in carbonfibre, the downforce generating aero additions save another 3.7kg. Choosing to have the sill covers, hard-top, front access panel, roll-over hoop cover and engine cover also made from carbonfibre will save a total of 8.9kg. 

> Find out how Lotus's Evora Sport 410 compares to the Nissan GT-R

Mechanically, the Cup 250 is identical to before. That means it’s powered by a Toyota-sourced supercharged 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine that puts out 243bhp and 184lb ft of torque. With its bantam-like kerb weight, the Cup 250 is capable of hitting 60mph from a standstill in 3.9sec. However, that’s identical to the older car; clearly 14kg isn’t quite enough to trim a tenth of a second.

Double-wishbone suspension makes up the Elise’s chassis architecture and it’s suspended by Eibach springs and Bilstein dampers that have been specifically tuned for the Cup. The compression is 12 per cent stiffer at the front, 9 per cent at the rear, while the rebound rate is 20 and 30 per cent higher at the front and rear, respectively. Without any significant changes and, while still using the same Yokohama Advan A048 LTS tyres as before, we expect the Cup 250 to be just as grippy and as good as before.

Recommended

Zagato’s AGTZ Twin Tail is a £557,000 coachbuilt Alpine A110
Zagato AGTZ Twin Tail
News

Zagato’s AGTZ Twin Tail is a £557,000 coachbuilt Alpine A110

Zagato has collaborated with La Squadra for the creation of an Alpine A110-based special, inspired by the A220 Le Mans racer of the ‘60s
22 Feb 2024
Volvo P1800 Cyan restomod makes a return in GT spec
Volvo P1800 Cyan GT
News

Volvo P1800 Cyan restomod makes a return in GT spec

Cyan Racing’s fascinating Volvo P1800-based restomod is back, this time in road-biased GT form
15 Feb 2024
New Porsche 911 (992.2) spotted – the first electrified 911?
Porsche 911 (992.2) Targa – front
Spy shots

New Porsche 911 (992.2) spotted – the first electrified 911?

The facelifted Porsche 911 is expected to offer hybrid power for the first time when it arrives this year – these latest spy shots provide a closer lo…
14 Feb 2024
The 2024 Mazda MX-5 gets tweaked dynamics, Recaro seats and a £28,000 price tag
Mazda MX-5 2024 facelift
News

The 2024 Mazda MX-5 gets tweaked dynamics, Recaro seats and a £28,000 price tag

Mazda has updated its evergreen roadster for 2024, with the goal of improving feel, drivability and in-car connectivity
12 Feb 2024

Most Popular

Hyundai i30 N and i20 N axed
Hyundai i30 N and i20 N
News

Hyundai i30 N and i20 N axed

Production of petrol-powered Hyundai N hot hatches has come to an end in Europe, with electric N models picking up the baton
23 Feb 2024
Best performance SUVs
Best SUVs 2024
Best cars

Best performance SUVs

The best hot SUVs have started to develop entertaining dynamic characters all of their own, even if we'd rather drive an equivalent fast estate...
23 Feb 2024
Ferrari Purosangue v Aston Martin DBX707 – car pictures of the week
Ferrari Purosangue v Aston Martin DBX707 – twin
Features

Ferrari Purosangue v Aston Martin DBX707 – car pictures of the week

In the latest issue of evo, we pit Ferrari’s Purosangue against the Aston Martin DBX707 – here are some of our favourite shots…
25 Feb 2024