Jean-Marc Gales’ arrival at Lotus in May 2014 marked the beginning of a new era for the struggling British manufacturer. Under his leadership, Lotus revamped the Evora, launched a new 3-Eleven, and made big steps toward building its very first SUV. The aging Elise, however, has yet to be redesigned, and according to Gales that won’t happen until 2017. There is some good news for Elise fans though, as the sports roadster has just received a significant update for 2016.

Set to hit the European dealerships in December 2015 and other markets in January 2016, the updated sports car will be sold as the Elise Sport and Sport 220. The models replace the previous Elise and Elise S and mark a return of the "Sport" nameplate on a Lotus after a 16-year hiatus. The previous model to use the moniker was the Esprit, which spawned 300 Sport and Sport 350 versions in 1993 and 1999, respectively.

“We have further refined, distilled and sharpened the driving experience offered by our best selling sports car of the last 20 years, the Lotus Elise. Over the years, with each improvement to the Elise, we have ensured that the purity of the driving experience has been retained and improved upon and with these two new models, we have taken it on to the next level,” said Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus.

The updated Sport 220 is lighter than the previous Elise S and received a number of new features inside and out. Keep reading to find out more about these changes.

Continue reading to learn more about the Lotus Elise Sport 220.

  • 2016 Lotus Elise Sport 220
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    217 @ 6800
  • Torque @ RPM:
    184 @ 4600
  • Displacement:
    1.8 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.2 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    145 mph
  • Price:
    € 48700
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2016 Lotus Elise Sport 220 High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Lotus Elise Sport 220 High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Lotus Elise Sport 220 High Resolution Exterior
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Exterior upgrades are limited to a matte-black rear diffuser and a set of new wheels. The new lightweight rollers feature a multi-spoke design and measure 16 inches at the front and 17 inches to the rear. They can be had in either silver or black. A set of forged wheels that shaves a further five kg (11 pounds) from the Sport 220’s curb weight is available as an option.

Customers can pick between ten exterior colors, including Solid Red, Solid Yellow, Metallic Green, Metallic Blue, Metallic Silver, Metallic White, Metallic Grey, Metallic Orange, Metallic Black, and Signature Grey. The metallic and signature hues are cost options. Other options include a hard-top and auxiliary driving lights.

Interior

2016 Lotus Elise Sport 220 High Resolution Interior
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2016 Lotus Elise Sport 220 High Resolution Interior
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2016 Lotus Elise Sport 220 High Resolution Interior
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There's a new option for a classic tartan trim that harks back to the Esprit S1 of the 1970s

Interior updates are also mild. Much like in the Elise S, the lightweight sports seats are standard and they can be optionally wrapped in leather or Alcantara. However, there’s a new option for a classic tartan trim that harks back to the Esprit S1 of the 1970s. The tartan interior was first introduced in 1976. For the uninitiated, tartan is a pattern consisting of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical lines in multiple colors. It’s basically the same pattern seen on Scottish kilts. In the Esprit S1, tartan seating surfaces and seat backs were usually combined with green, brown, or black sides.

The Sport 220 also received an upgraded, optional Clarion stereo system. The stereo is part of a package that includes a full carpet and sound insulation. Air conditioning and cruise control are also on the options list.

Although not exactly fresh, the Elise’s interior continues to exude sportiness thanks to its three-spoke steering wheel, plain instrument cluster, and clean dashboard. The step-down design give the cabin a race-like feel that you can’t get in many street-legal sports cars nowadays.

Drivetrain

2016 Lotus Elise Sport 220 High Resolution Drivetrain
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Under the hood, the Elise Sport 220 carries the same engine as the previous Elise S. That’s a supercharged, 1.8-liter, four-cylinder unit rated at 217 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The oomph travels to the rear wheels though a six-speed manual transmission.

The Elise 220 needs 4.2 seconds to hit 60 mph from a standing start before reaching a top speed of 145 mph.

Although power remained unchanged, the Elise 220 is 10 kg (22 pounds) lighter than the Elise S, tipping the scales at only 914 kg (2,015 pounds). The reduced weight doesn’t improve performance, but it does enhance fuel economy slightly, with the Sport 220 returning 47.9 mpg on the British cycle.

Like its predecessor, the Elise 220 needs 4.2 seconds to hit 60 mph from a standing start before reaching a top speed of 145 mph.

Lotus claims that the weight saving enables the Sport 220 to offer "an even purer driving experience" when compared to the Elise S. The Bilstein sports dampers also contribute to that experience, giving the roadster sharp and precise steering.

Drivetrain Specifications

Type 1.8-litre engine
Max power 217 HP @ 6,800 RPM
Max torque 184 LB-FT @ 4,600 RPM
0-60 mph 4.2 seconds
Max speed 145 MPH (234 KM/H)

Prices

The Elise Sport 220 will go on sale from £36,500 in the United Kingdom and €48,700 in mainland Europe, which makes it a bit more affordable than the Elise S. That would be around $54,000 at the current exchange rates, but don’t get your hopes up as the Elise isn’t coming to the U.S. anytime soon.

Competition

Porsche Boxster Spyder

2016 Porsche Boxster Spyder
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Although the standard Boxster is significantly more powerful than the Elise Sport 220 at 265 horsepower, its 1,330-kg (2,932-pound) curb weight makes it 1.5 seconds slower than the Lotus. And, given the Boxster S (315 horsepower) and GTS (330 horses) are also nearly a full second slower, you’d need to purchase a Spyder in order to give the Sport 220 a run for its money.

Powered by a 3.8-liter, flat-six sourced from the 911 Carrera, the Boxster Spyder comes with 375 horsepower on tap. Even though it has more than 150 horsepower over the lotus, it’s still a tenth-second slower than the Elise, needing 4.3 seconds to hit 60 mph. That’s because the Spyder is no fewer than 401 kg (884 pounds) heavier than the Lotus. Its top speed, on the other hand, is far superior to the Elise at 180 mph.

Pricing for the Boxster Spyder starts from £60,459 in the U.K. and around €79,000 in most European markets. Unlike the Elise Sport 220, the Spyder is available in the U.S., where it’s priced from $82,100.

Find out more about the Porsche Boxster Spyder here.

Conclusion

2016 Lotus Elise Sport 220 High Resolution Exterior
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Although it received a significant facelift in 2011, the second-generation Elise — launched back in 2001 — is getting a little long in the tooth. Thanks to Lotus’ brilliant engineering, lightweight platform, and the no-nonsense construction, the Elise continues to deliver thrills that not even the range-topping Boxster Spyder can match. In a market where sports cars rarely weigh less than 1,000 kg (2,200 pounds), the Elise Sport 220 is a rare gem. And, even though I agree that Lotus needs to come up with a replacement, I’m happy that the current Elise is still around to show the others how to make a quick, lightweight, and affordable sports car. Fingers crossed that the next-generation Elise maintains the current model’s old-school personality.

  • Leave it
    • * Still needs a redesign
    • * Standard drivetrain
    • * Not available in the U.S.

Press Release

The Lotus Elise Sport and Elise Sport 220 mark a return the iconic ‘Sport’ naming designation, used previously on the famed Lotus Esprit and with it the Lotus Elise package becomes lighter, and even more performance-focused.

2016 Lotus Elise Sport 220 High Resolution Exterior
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20 years ago, the Lotus Elise revolutionised the sports car world, setting the benchmark for handling, purity of the driving experience, lightweight and efficiency. Its pioneering and advanced bonded aluminium chassis was a market-leading technological innovation at the time and over the years has improved and evolved and remains core to the Elise’s exceptional performance today.

Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus plc, commented, “We have further refined, distilled and sharpened the driving experience offered by our best selling sports car of the last 20 years, the Lotus Elise. These two new models, the Elise Sport and Sport 220 revive the iconic ‘Sport’ naming designation and are both worthy of wearing this badge. Over the years, with each improvement to the Elise, we have ensured that the purity of the driving experience has been retained and improved upon and with these two new models, we have taken it on to the next level.”

Both the new Elise Sport and Elise Sport 220 benefit from a significant weight reduction of 10 kg, a result of the continued central design philosophy
of Lotus – ‘lighter, faster’ and the perpetual quest to reduce weight of all constituent parts and in some cases remove unnecessary parts
altogether.

Weighing just 866 kg, the Elise Sport sets a benchmark in class - a sports car that both enthusiasts and newcomers to the brand will find it easy to fall in love with. Lightweight, efficient and completely pure in its driving experience, its handling and quickness in road holding remain the envy of all its rivals. The Elise Sport 220 represents the perfect blend of power and dynamism in a more focused performance package. Weighing just 914 kg, with peak power of 217 hp and torque of 250 Nm, 0-60 mph is achieved in just 4.2 seconds, and a top speed of 145 mph is possible. However, it is once again in the area of vehicle dynamics that the Elise Sport 220 excels, offering an even purer driving experience when compared to the previous Elise S model, due largely to the further weight-saving, aided in part by a new lightweight sports battery.

2016 Lotus Elise Sport 220 High Resolution Exterior
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Lightweight sports seats in leather, Alcantara or classic tartan trim as an option are a further sign of sports intentions. First introduced in 1976 in the Lotus Esprit S1, tartan interior references a time when making a statement was everything, a concept still central to Lotus’ design philosophy. Sport mode is standard fitment in the Elise Sport and Sport 220, and sharpens the experience further by increasing throttle response, altering traction slip thresholds and removing understeer recognition, allowing enhanced control before intervention and offering an even closer connection between driver and machine. Bilstein sports dampers further contribute to scalpel sharp steering feeling and provide heightened feedback from the road.

With reduced weight comes increased efficiency and a reduction in fuel consumption, a power to weight ratio of 155 bhp/tonne for the Elise Sport and 237 bhp/tonne for the Sport 220 the result. Fuel consumption is an impressive 56.5 mpg (extra urban) the Elise Sport and 47.9 mpg (extra urban) for the Sport 220, further cementing the Elise’s tag as one of the most efficient sports cars in sector.

Alongside a weight reduction is a reduction in price. The Elise Sport model is now priced at £29,900 / €39,900 (MSRP) with the Elise Sport 220 priced at £36,500 / €48,700 (MSRP).

A range of classic Elise colours are available – Solid Red, Solid Yellow, Metallic Green, Metallic Blue, Metallic Silver, Metallic White, Metallic Grey, Metallic Orange, Metallic Black and Signature Grey, with rear diffuser in matt black. Lightweight silver or black cast wheels (16” front, 17” rear) are standard fitment and there is an optional upgrade to a forged wheel design that saves a further 5 kg from total unladen weight.

2016 Lotus Elise Sport 220 High Resolution Exterior
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The Elise is Lotus’ most successful model in terms of numbers built, with a total of 32,000 manufactured and sold globally. In addition to the Elise, the Lotus small platform technology has been used to great success in the Lotus Exige, Lotus Europa and Lotus 2-Eleven models, all of which are, or have been manufactured by Lotus at its Headquarters in Hethel, Norfolk. The Lotus Elise Sport and Elise Sport 220 go on sale in Europe in December 2015 and will be available to the rest of the world from January 2016.

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