It’s been four years since the Lotus Elise last graced North American roads. The expiry of the smart airbag exemption meant that the lightweight sports car was no longer compliant to safety regulations, and Lotus opted to pull the plug on imports.
Lotus has insisted that the Elise will return to this side of the pond, but probably not until 2020. “We’d need smart airbags, plus side airbags, and to change the whole front crash structure. It would add 220lbs,” said CEO Jean-Marc Gales earlier this year. In the meantime, the rest of the world will be treated to two new models for 2016, the Elise Sport and Elise Sport 220.
While fans of the vehicle will be disappointed that its exile continues, auto mechanic students will no doubt still be curious to see what the new models have to offer, and how they compare to the Evora 400, the only Lotus still available in Canada.
Lighter & Faster: A Car Mechanic’s Guide To The Lotus Elise Sport
The Elise Sport retains the 1.6L four-cylinder engine of the previous generation Elise, with the same 134hp and 188 lb-ft of torque. Where car mechanic students will really notice the difference, however, is in its weight, as its new lightweight performance battery means the car is just 865.9kg, a full 10.8kg lighter than the former model, allowing a top speed of 204km/h and an acceleration of 0-100km/h in just 6.5 seconds.
Checkout a preview of both cars here:
Supercharged Performance: Exploring The 220 as an Auto Technician Student
The 220 features the same basic engine as the Sport, but ups the ante by increasing the capacity to 1.8L and adding an Eaton supercharger, enabling it to go from 0-100km/h in an incredible 4.6 seconds, thanks to a max power of 217hp and 184lb-ft of torque. It also boasts a light battery, although extra features mean it is 48kg heavier than the ordinary Sport.
Students enrolled in auto technician courses will learn how important fuel economy is in today’s auto industry, and both cars continue the Elise line’s high standards in eco-friendliness. The 220 needs just 7.5l/100km and CO2 emissions of only 173g/km, while the Sport manages an even more impressive 6.3l/100km with emissions of 149g/km—both of which are pretty impressive figures for a high-performance sports car.
Car Mechanic Comparisons: The Lotus Evora vs. The Lotus Elise
So how do the new models compare to the Evora 400, the one Lotus which will actually make its way across the Atlantic? The new Evora is an improvement on the previous generation, with changes to the door design and, as with the Elise, a more lightweight design in general. It does boast a superior supercharged V6 3.5l engine to the Elise, with 400hp, and is the fastest Lotus ever, with a top speed of 300km/h and an acceleration of 0-100km/km in 4.2 seconds.
Of course, the comparison is slightly unfair, since the Evora 400 is priced at about $146,000, over $80,000 more expensive than the starting price for the Elise. Auto mechanics students will surely be hoping that the more affordable member of the Lotus family makes its return to Canada sooner rather than later.
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