New Lotus Elise Sport and Elise Sport 220 for 2016

Published: 13 November 2015

► Replace Elise 1.6 and Elise S
► Less weight, more tartan
► Accompanied by drop in price

The Lotus Elise range has had a minor spring clean in time for winter. It’s goodbye to the old Elise 1.6 and Elise S, and hello to the Lotus Elise Sport and Sport 220.

Are the new Sport models actually sportier?

They’re powered by the same Toyota-sourced engines, a naturally aspirated 1.6 for the Elise Sport and supercharged 1.8 for the Sport 220. Power outputs haven’t changed (134bhp and 217bhp respectively) but the cars have been on a diet, losing 10kg from their already fairly anorexic kerb weights.

That gives the 866kg Elise Sport a power-to-weight ratio of 155bhp per tonne, and the 914kg Sport 220 a punchy 237bhp per tonne. The weight savings have come partly from a new lightweight battery and partly from lighter seats (more on which shortly), and choosing optional forged alloy wheels can shave another 5kg.

Both cars ride on Bilstein dampers and go some way toward justifying their new names with a standard Sport mode switch, perking up throttle response, lazying down the traction control, and cancelling the ‘understeer recognition’ function in the stability control system for reduced interference. Both cars also feature an electronic differential lock.

What else is new?

Tartan. Lotus has dusted off its Esprit S1 brochures for inspiration and come up with a super-seventies tartan trim option, along with separate leather and alcantara finishes as an alternative.

There’s also been a price drop. The Elise Sport starts from £29,900 (around £1000 cheaper than the outgoing Elise 1.6) and the Sport 220 from £36,500 (around £700 cheaper than the Elise S). Both new models go on sale in December 2015.

Lotus Elise Sport and Elise Sport 220: essential stats

Lotus Elise Sport
Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cyl, 134bhp @ 6800rpm, 118lb ft @ 4400rpm
Performance: 6.5sec 0-62mph, 127mph, 45mpg
Weight: 866kg
Power-to-weight: 155bhp per tonne

Lotus Elise Sport 220
Engine: 1.8-litre 4-cyl supercharged, 217bhp @ 6800rpm, 184lb ft @ 4600rpm
Performance: 4.6sec 0-62mph, 145mph, 37.5mpg
Weight: 914kg
Power-to-weight: 237bhp per tonne

By James Taylor

CAR's deputy features editor, occasional racer