As Lotus begins a new chapter in its history with the upcoming Type 131 sports car series, it’s closing another, with production of the Elise and Exige to end this year.
Both nameplates have been a staple in Lotus’s recent history, with the Elise in production for 25 years and its harder-edged Exige sibling in the lineup for 21 years.
Lotus will farewell the pair with a series of five ‘Final Edition’ cars – two on the Elise platform, three on the Exige – that offer increased power, reduced weight, improved standard specification, new colours and unique design features.
Announced in February and released for sale in the UK and selected European markets in the same month, each Final Edition variant will be built in limited numbers, but exactly how many – and how many will be allocated to Australia – is unconfirmed.
The five variants are Elise Sport 240, Elise Cup 250, Exige Sport 390, Exige Sport 420 and Exige Sport 430. As the numbers indicate, horsepower increases have been applied to selected variants across both the 1.8-litre Elise and 3.5-litre Exige platforms.
Upgrades common to all five variants include an all-new TFT digital instrument panel with a choice of screen views, a new Alcantara and leather-wrapped flat-bottom steering wheel, new seat trim and stitching patterns, a Final Edition build plaque and new exterior colours.
Once these Final Editions are built, both the Elise and Exige nameplates will be retired, with the Evora (which debuted in 2008) to also be retired later this year. Combined, these three nameplates have accounted for around 55,000 vehicles – more than half of Lotus’s total road car production since 1948. In their place, a new series of Lotus sports cars, led by the Type 131, will begin production later this year.
Local release of the Elise and Exige Final Editions is confirmed, with arrival expected in the second half of 2021, TBC.