When the new car goes on sale in April all variations will have a sharply restyled front and rear and a revised interior with better fit and finish, more Alcantara trim, a very racy looking completely exposed gear shifter — i.e., mechanics on show — and, in a nod to 21st century digital convenience, after 20 years and nearly 33,000 hand-built examples, optional Bluetooth connectivity.
Opt for the new Sprint edition, available with either a 1.6-litre (134hp) naturally aspirated or 1.8-litre supercharged (217hp) engine sitting in its centre, and keen drivers will get a car that tips the scales at less than 800kg.
The company, owned by Malaysian car maker Proton, has managed to ditch over 40kg in dry weight from the model through generous use of carbon fiber in the construction (including the seats), opting for a lithium-ion battery, using two-piece brakes, forged alloy wheels and going for a polycarbonate rather than glass rear screen.
"An agile, lightweight sports car does not weigh just over a tonne. It should weigh substantially less and, it is a fantastic achievement from Lotus in ensuring that the fully type approved new Elise now dips below the 800kg barrier," said Group Lotus plc CEO, Jean-Marc Gales.
"Enhanced by less weight, the Elise now provides even more driving purity, greater agility and higher all-round performance."
The new Sprint (in supercharged guise) will sit just below the ultimate top model — the extra lean Elise Cup 250, in the new five-model range when the cars go into hand-built production in April.