Lotus celebrates Hethel’s 50th anniversary with this special edition

It seems like every month one automaker or another has a reason to celebrate and create some limited-run, special-edition model. Today, Lotus has announced its latest special edition that was designed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the company’s Hethel site. The car is called the Elise 350 Special Edition, and it is based on the Elise Cup 250 that launched just a few months ago. Powered by a supercharged four-cylinder, this thing delivers more than 240 horsepower and comes complete with lots of carbon fiber on the outside and a hand-finished interior. As Lotus put it, “It perfectly defines the quintessential British sports car in the celebration year.”

Outside of being quick thanks to that supercharged four-banger, this baby is also pretty aesthetically pleasing and can be had in a number of colors. On top of that, the car can also be personalized through the Lotus Exclusive Program, which means that each of the 50 units slated for production could turn out to be completely unique. For the record, Lotus claims this special-edition model can lap its Hethel test circuit in just 1 minute and 34 seconds – the fastest so far of any road-going Elise.

Jean-Marc Gales, the CEO of Group Lotus plc, said, “When we first introduced the Elise, it redefined how involving and exciting, yet civilized, a sports car could be. As the Elise was conceived, designed, engineered and is built at Hethel, we wanted a 50th tribute that’s even lighter than the fastest road-going Elise we’ve ever produced. The new Elise 250 Special Edition achieves that, so it’s supremely quick and agile, but it’s also wonderfully finished and stunning to look at.”

So, with that said, let’s take a good look at this special-edition Elise and see what all the hype is about.

Continue reading to learn more about the Lotus Elise 250 Special Edition.

What makes the Lotus Elise 250 Special Edition special

2016 Lotus Elise 250 Special Edition Exterior
- image 686448

To start off, the Elise 250 is available in classic blue, red, yellow, or white. The ultralight forged wheels come standard in silver, but can be optioned in black for those who like a slightly darker appearance. To help give this special edition a new look, it comes with a carbon fiber spoiler up front, carbon fiber front access panel, carbon fiber tailgate, and a carbon fiber rear wing. There is also a carbon fiber hardtop available as an option. While these external elements don’t dramatically change the 250’s overall appearance, they are a nice addition and give the car that extra bit of visual appear that it really needs.

Moving over to the somewhat small interior, you’ll find a nice set of carbon fiber seats that can be finished in dark blue or dark gray leather as standard equipment. The same material is also used on the door trim panels. All that leather is held together with the consumer’s choice of contrast stitching. Lotus didn’t elaborate on whether or not the special edition is equipped with an infotainment system as standard equipment, but an “integrated in-car entertainment system” can be specific. Lotus claims it supports iPod and Bluetooth connectivity. Other options include full carpets, floor mats, enhanced sound insulation, cruise control, air conditioning, and auxiliary driving lights.

2016 Lotus Elise 250 Special Edition Exterior
- image 686447

Under the body, you’ll find that this special edition comes will all of the goodies found on the Elise Cup 250 that it’s based on. This includes double wishbone suspension with Bilstein sports dampers all the way around to go with Eibach coaxial coil springs. Braking duties are handled by AP Racing two-piston calipers up front and Brembo single-piston calipers in the rear. The ABS system has been track-tuned and is included as standard equipment. Along with ABS, you the car also features and driver-selectable ESP mode that provides “sport” and “race” settings for more spirited driving. These models alter the car’s throttle response, traction slip thresholds and understeer recognition.

The real motivation comes from the 1.8-liter, four-cylinder that provides supercharged power to the tune of 243 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. In a world full of cars like the Ferrari LaFerrari, Koenigsegg One:1 and the like, that really doesn’t seem like much to write home about, but thanks to the car’s incredibly light weight of 1,982 pounds, that translates to 270 horsepower per ton and a 0-to-60 mph sprint of 2.9 seconds. Not bad!

2016 Lotus Elise 250 Special Edition Exterior
- image 686450

Lotus has yet to release pricing for this special-edition, but you can bet that it doesn’t come cheap. For the record, the standard Lotus Elise Cup 250 starts out at £45,600 in the U.K. and €61,100 in Germany. That translates to $60,141 and $68,948, respectively. That tells me you can probably expect this special edition to command somewhere around $75,000 to $80,000, depending on the market. Only 50 examples are being produced and will be sold on a first-come basis. So, if you’re hoping to see one in your garage anytime in the foreseeable future, you better start calling your local Lotus dealer now to place your order.

2016 Lotus Elise Cup 250

2016 Lotus Elise Cup 250
- image 665812

Read our full review on the 2016 Lotus Elise Cup 250 here.

Press Release

In a celebration of style and lightweight performance, and helping mark the 50th anniversary of the company’s famous Hethel site, Lotus has revealed the latest addition to its collection: the exclusive Elise 250 Special Edition.

2016 Lotus Elise 250 Special Edition Exterior
- image 686445

Based on the critically acclaimed Elise Cup 250 launched earlier this year, but featuring a raft of exclusive components as standard, the new Lotus Elise 250 Special Edition offers an outstanding combination of performance and panache. With a supercharged 243 hp engine, a 0-60mph time of 3.9 seconds, and a unique, hand-finished interior, it perfectly defines the quintessential British sportscar in this celebration year.

As an antidote to sterilised and staid modern cars, Lotus’ approach continues to deliver the purest, undiluted driving experience. Tipping the scales at just 899 kg, through the utilisation of advanced materials including carbon fibre and aluminium, the Elise 250 Special Edition remains true to the company’s philosophy of ‘Light is Right’ and is capable of humbling far more common, yet expensive, rivals.

Powered by a high-output, supercharged, 1.8-litre 4-cylinder engine, the Elise 250 Special Edition boasts 243 hp (246 PS) at 7200 rpm and 250 Nm of torque between 3500 rpm and 5500 rpm. This, along with the car’s 899kg kerb weight, contributes to the impressive 270 hp/tonne headline figure.

However, far from being solely performance orientated, the Elise 250 Special Edition is designed to appeal aesthetically as well as dynamically. A selection of beautifully finished carbon-fibre components come as standard, including a front splitter, rear wing, tailgate and front access panel, all giving the car considerable kerb appeal.

Drawing inspiration from some of the company’s most alluring models, the new Elise is the perfect blend of both style and substance. As befitting a hand-built sports car from one of the world’s most famous marques, it’s beautifully detailed and conceived as a tribute to one of countless Lotus fans’ favourite cars. The Lotus Elan, launched in 1963, established itself as one of the icons of 60’s motoring and even became a star of screen in hit TV shows of the time, including the classic series The Avengers.

Draped in a composite body and finished in one of four of the firm’s favourite colours, the Elise 250 Special Edition is limited to just 50 examples. With a high specification as standard, it combines traditional British craftsmanship with the best of contemporary design. From the hand-made carbon components, to the hand-finished leather seats, it sets the benchmark for exclusive sports cars.

Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus plc, commented, “When we first introduced the Elise, it redefined how involving and exciting, yet civilised, a sports car could be. As the Elise was conceived, designed, engineered and is built at Hethel, we wanted a 50th tribute that’s even lighter than the fastest road-going Elise we’ve ever produced. The new Elise 250 Special Edition achieves that, so it’s supremely quick and agile, but it’s also wonderfully finished and stunning to look at.”

2016 Lotus Elise 250 Special Edition Exterior
- image 686446

Helping celebrate the company’s 50 years in Norfolk, the car is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The Elise 250 Special Edition is the latest in a series of unique products marking this significant milestone in the company’s history.

The performance and handling characteristics of every Lotus are developed on the famous site’s test track. Over the last 50 years it’s been responsible for honing all the company’s historic models, including the Elan, and Esprit, as well its fastest ever cars, the amazing Evora 400 and ballistic 3-Eleven.

Lotus Elise 250 Special Edition

The Elise 250 Special Edition is available in choice of four colours, each a long-standing favourite over the last 50 years. Classic metallic blue, red, yellow and white finishes are all complemented by ultralight forged wheels in silver, or black as an option. An optional carbon fibre hardtop roof panel is also available.

The same attention to detail continues inside, with the carbon-fibre sports seats finished in either dark blue or dark grey leather, and stitched with a choice of contrasting colours. The car’s door trim is afforded the same hand-stitched finish.

Despite its sophistication, the Elise 250 Special Edition is just at home on the track as it is on Bond Street. The new car laps the company’s Hethel test circuit in 1 minute 34 seconds, the fastest recorded time for a production road-going Elise. The car carries over the same suspension and braking components from the Elise Cup 250, including Bilstein sports dampers and Eibach coaxial coil springs and double wishbone suspension. AP Racing twin-piston front calipers, and Brembo single-piston rear calipers work in conjunction with the track-tuned ABS system.

Fitted with a slick, six-speed manual gearbox, the Elise 250 Special Edition includes an Electronic Differential Lock as standard to give better traction and faster exit speeds when cornering.

The new Elise also features driver selectable ESP modes, providing ‘Sport’ and ‘Race’ settings. Proportionally increasing throttle response, lowering traction slip thresholds and removing understeer recognition, it allows enhanced control before the system intervenes.

An integrated in-car entertainment system can also be specified, including iPod® connectivity and Bluetooth® functionality, along with air conditioning, cruise control, auxiliary driving lights, full carpets, floor mats and enhanced sound insulation.

2016 Lotus Elise 250 Special Edition Exterior
- image 686447

The new Elise 250 Special Edition can also be personalised through the Lotus Exclusive programme. Combining craftsmanship with modern design, the service inspires customers to spend time tailoring the character of their Lotus with a comprehensive array of options to suit any budget.

News of the special edition follows the Lotus Elise’s success as Readers’ Champion at the prestigious Autocar Awards. From a starting roster of 50, tens of thousands of motoring fans voted for the iconic car as part of an online competition.

The hand-built sports car from Norfolk has long been regarded as a benchmark within the industry, providing a level of precision and driver involvement that rivals can’t match. Perfectly tuned for British roads the Lotus Elise, intelligently equipped and surprisingly usable, allows owners to enjoy driving day in, day out.

View the full press release Hide press release
Press release
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: