Special edition Elise is forbidden fruit for all of us in America

Lotus is paying homage to Australia’s most famous race by launching the Elise Cup 250 Bathurst Edition. Limited to just six units — yes, six — the Elise Cup 250 Bathurst Edition is as exclusive as it’s going to get. The special edition sports car boasts exclusive features befitting its status, none more prominent than a rare paint finish that hasn’t been used in a Lotus since the Lotus Esprit that starred in the James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me.

In addition to the exclusive paint, the Elise 250 Bathurst Edition also comes with interior upgrades and mechanical improvements. The sports car’s 1.8-liter supercharged four-cylinder engine, on the other hand, remains in stock form. The cost of owning one of the six Lotus Elise 250 Bathurst Edition models sits at AUD109,900.

That converts to around $73,760 based on current exchange rates. Unfortunately for us here in the U.S., all six units of the Elise 250 Bathurst Edition are exclusive to the Australian market.

Exclusive touches aplenty

Lotus Elise Cup 250 Bathurst Edition Exterior
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If you’re going to release a special edition Lotus Elise and cap it at only six units, there better be a good reason behind it.

More importantly, the exclusivity needs to be justified. For the most part, Lotus accomplished that with the Elise Cup 250 Bathurst Edition. The upgrades are minor, but if you add them all up, they create a compelling special edition model that should live up to its super exclusive status.

Let’s start with the paint finish because it’s one of the most prominent features of the Elise Cup 250 Bathurst Edition. It wears what Lotus calls the “Monaco White” paint finish. While it looks, well, white in the press photos, the specific shade has provenance behind it.

This shade of white is the same color as the iconic — and amphibious — Lotus Esprit that Roger Moore famously drove (on the road and underwater) in {The Spy Who Loved Me}.

More importantly, Lotus hasn’t used this specific color since the famous Hollywood car wore it. The hardtop, front access panel, and roll hoop cover are all finished in Monaco White.

Lotus Elise Cup 250 Bathurst Edition Exterior
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In addition to its fancy paint finish, the Elise Cup 250 Bathurst Edition also comes with red rear wing uprights and sits on a set of 16- and 17-inch forged alloy wheels in the front and rear, respectively. The wheels are finished in black and are wrapped in Yokohama Advan A052 rubber tires measuring 195/50 in the front and 225/45 in the back to account for the different wheel sizes.

And, of course, no Lotus special edition is complete without some identifying decals. In this case, a decal of the Elise Cup 250 can be found in the rear bumper with a layout of the Bathurst race track beside it. Likewise, the side panels of the rear wing wear Union Jack decals.

Interior touches where they’re needed

Lotus Elise Cup 250 Bathurst Edition Interior
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Honestly, there’s not much to go by with the interior of the Lotus Elise 250 Cup. It’s not as plush as the interior of, say, a Porsche Boxster S. That, of course, is by design.

Lotus created the Elise 250 Cup as a pure performance car whose objective is to get you from Point A to Point B faster than its rivals. You can say that interior quality was compromised because of that, and, to a certain extent, it has. But Lotus isn’t apologizing for it, and you shouldn’t be asking for one, either.

Lotus Elise Cup 250 Bathurst Edition Interior
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In fact, you should even thank Lotus for at least dressing up the Elise Cup 250 Bathurst Edition’s interior with exclusive touches of its own. The carbon fiber race seats, for example, are dressed in Alcantara upholstery. Red trim accents adorn a huge chunk of the interior space and the special floor mats are nice touches, too. And just so it’s clear to everyone, a pair of special plates is located on the passenger-side dashboard. The first plate identifies the individual responsible for hand-building the specific model in England while the second plate denotes the specific model number of each of the six units of the special edition Elise Cup 250.

No mechanical upgrades, but still fun to drive

Lotus Elise Cup 250 Bathurst Edition Exterior
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The Lotus Elise Cup 250 Bathurst Edition is powered by the same 1.8-liter supercharged four-cylinder engine that produces a stout 243 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque.

There are no engine upgrades involved in this special edition sports coupe. The engine is connected to a six-speed manual transmission, which, in turn, sends power to the two rear wheels, helping the Elise Cup 250 accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.3 seconds. Top speed remains set at 154 mph.

Lotus Elise Cup 250 Bathurst Edition Exterior
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Don’t be too bummed by the absence of an engine upgrade. What’s more important, at least in this sense, is that the Elise Cup 250 Bathurst Edition benefits from the addition of specially tuned Bilstein dampers that provide 12 percent more firmness in compression on the front axle relative to the Elise Sport 220. Rear-axle compression is also nine percent higher than the setup in the Elise Sport 220 while overall rebound is 30 percent firmer.

In keeping with its identity as a track car, the Elise Cup 250 comes with three driving modes: Drive, Sport, and Off. We don’t need to tell you where the fun lies, right?

2020 Lotus Elise Cup 250 Bathurst Edition specifications
Type All alloy, 1.8 litre DOHC 4-cylinder, dual VVT-i, 16-valve with chargecooled Magnuson R900 supercharger utilising Eaton TVSTM technology
Max power 243 HP @ 7,200 RPM
Max torque 184 LB-FT @ 3,500 - 5,500 RPM
0-60 mph 4.3 seconds
Max speed 154 MPH (248 KM/H)
Transmission 6 speed manual gearbox with sports ratios

The cost of ownership is steep

Lotus Elise Cup 250 Bathurst Edition
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It’s bad enough that Lotus is only building six units of the Elise Cup 250 Bathurst Edition. That kind of exclusivity makes it very difficult — maybe even impossible — for people to buy one.

And even if you did get a chance to score the special edition Elise Cup 250, you’ll need to fork over AUD109,900, which is around $73,760 based on current exchange rates.

Of course, that doesn’t count the shipping costs that you’ll have to pay since the special edition is only available in Australia. Even if you paid for all that, you’re also getting a car whose steering wheel sits on the opposite side so you’re going to have to pay to move it on the “right” side. Do that, though, and you risk destroying the provenance of the car. Perhaps all these things are signs that you’re better off appreciating the Elise Cup 250 Bathurst Edition from a distance and let somebody else buy it, even if it means losing out on the access to next year’s owners’ track day event at the Bathurst race.

Final Thoughts

Lotus Elise Cup 250 Bathurst Edition Exterior
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The Lotus Elise Cup 250 is a great performance car. It’s not the fastest car you’ll drive, but as a whole, it’s a ball of fun to drive. I appreciate that Lotus created a special edition model out of it, but between its exclusivity — really, just six units? — and the fact that it’s only available in Australia, actually getting one is going to be next to impossible.

I don’t mind it, though. The cost of bringing one here in the U.S. will also be high, not to mention the complications of the car being right-hand-drive makes it difficult to justify purchasing one — supposing that there’s still one available. I’m more than happy appreciating the Lotus Elise Cup 250 Bathurst Edition from my computer. I’ll take photos of it if I see one up close because it’s already a unicorn in its own right. But to spend all that much to buy one? I’ll take a hard pass on that.

  • Leave it
    • Expensive
    • Right-hand-drive
    • Hard to bring to America
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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