A cycle ends: after 25 years, Lotus Elise, Exige and Evora are officially out of production. On December 22, 2021, the Hethel factory produced the last example of each of the three models that for a quarter of a century have made thousands of motorists fall in love all over the world. 51.738 enthusiasts, to be exact, who from 1996 to 2021 chose a Lotus Elise, an Exige or an Evora. Today, the Hethel factory greets them to prepare for the last endothermic car in its history: the Emir.
The recent history of Lotus in three models: a history of Elise, Exige and Evora
Lotus has produced some legendary automobiles over its 70-year history. Since 1948, the House of the British region of Norfolk has given the world of cars legendary cars such as the Elan, the Esprit and the Seven, born in 1957 and still present today, with the Caterham brand, on the market. In the lasts 25 years old, however, Lotus has based its own success on three main models, loved by enthusiasts all over the world: Elise, Esprit e Evora.
It all started in 1996 with the Lotus Elise: born from the intuition of the then owner of Lotus, Romano Artioli, to create a “modern Lotus Seven”, the Elise was and still is the modern car with the purest driving on the market. Extremely light, equipped with simple and light 4-cylinder engines, the Elise marked an era. Through three series, from the first with Rover K Series engine to the following two series equipped with Toyota engines, Elise has always sacrificed comfort and finishes on the altar of lightness he was born in driving pleasure.
In 2000, a sportier and more powerful version of Elise arrived, the Demands. Based on the same mechanics as the Elise, with the frame in glued extruded aluminum and a weight much less than 1,000 kg, the Exige had more powerful engines and a hard top. Over the years, the Exige has evolved more and more: after the first series produced from 2000 to 2004 and the second, produced between 2004 and 2011, with the third series Exige has evolved with a much more powerful engine, the 3.5 V6 of Toyota origin.
Finally, the Elise and Exige family was enriched by another protagonist in 2009, with the arrival of the new one Evora. Taking advantage of a completely new frame, always in extruded aluminum, the new Evora is an heir to Esprit: a Gran Turismo comfortable and beautiful to drive, but always light and pure. Equipped with different versions of the 3.5 V6 Toyota, the little sisters Elise and Exige were accompanied by a more multifaceted soul that can be used every day.
The numbers: 51,738 units produced, of which more than half are Lotus Elise
After several improvements, more powerful engines, concessions to comfort for Eilse and Exige such as air conditioning and electric windows, today Lotus turns the page. The Hethel factory is in fact ready for a complete restyling, which will lead the lines that today host Lotus Elise, Exige and Esprit to be completely revolutionized by the arrival of Emira. On December 22, 2021, an era comes to an end for Lotus, which greets the three models after 51,738 units produced.
In detail, Lotus has produced 35.124 Lotus Elise between 1996 and 2021, 10,497 Requires between 2000 and 2021 e 6.117 Evora between 2009 and 2021. We therefore note how nearly 70% of Lotus sales over the past 25 years (68% to be exact) are Elise. In addition, the cars produced by Lotus for third-party companies should not be forgotten. In detail, Lotus has produced 7.200 Opel Speedster/Vauxhall VX220 between 2000 and 2005 on behalf of General Motors, e 2.515 Tesla Roadster produced between 2007 and 2012 on behalf of the Elon Musk House.
In addition, we must also add the other cars produced on Lotus’s “Small Car Platform”, the same as Elise and Exige, such as Lotus 340R, 2-Eleven, 3-Eleven e Europa. These 1,282 cars bring the total of the “Small Car Platform” to 56,618, and the total of Lotus between 1996 and 2021 at 62,735 cars.
The latest of the Lotus species: a yellow Elise 240 Sport, a green Exige 430 Cup and a gray Evora 430 Sport
And what they were the latest Lotus Elise, Exige and Esprit produced? And who will they go to? As for the small house, the last Lotus Elise produced is one Sport 240 Final Edition painted in Yellow. Equipped with the 1.8 Toyota 4-cylinder with volumetric supercharger, thanks to its 243 HP it sprints from 0 to 100 km / h in 4.5 seconds.
The last Lotus Exige produced is still a Final Edition, but with more power than its younger sister. It is in fact one Exige Cup 430 Final Edition, painted in the most classic British Racing Green. Equipped with the turbocharged 436 hp 3.5 V6, it sprints from 0 to 100 km / h in 3.3 seconds. Finally, the last Evora produced is one GT430 Sport painted in dark metallic gray. It shares the same 3.5 V6 with a 436 bhp volumetric supercharger, due to the greater weight it is slower than the Exige, and sprints from 0 to 100 km / h in “well” 3.6 seconds. However, it is the fastest Lotus ever, with a top speed of 316 km / h.
All three “final Lotus” will not be purchased by any customer. In fact, they will immediately go to Lotus’s new fleet of historic cars, the Lotus Heritage. In greeting the “Three Es”, “the three with the E” cas they are affectionately referred to by men as Lotus, the House CEO Matt Windle it held us to thank Lotus customers and workers. “I would like to thank the Lotus team who have been working on Elise, Exige and Evora for all these years, and who will now be transferring their skills to Emira and Evija. I would also like to express enormous gratitude to the customers who have chosen Elise, Exige and Evora over the past 26 years. Thanks for your passion, enthusiasm and support. These customers have given our “three E’s” a cult aura, usually dedicated only to classics that have long been out of production ”.
The future of Lotus is Emira, from the spring of 2022
With Lotus Elise, Exige and Evora to greetings yes closes an era of 25 years of success, hope and satisfaction for Lotus. The future of the House is electric, with the hypercar Evija with nearly 2,000 hp arriving in 2022, and new models at launch in the next two years. But there is still room for one last hooray for thermal cars, the Emira.
Heir in one stroke of the three E’s, lin Emira it will be the last thermal car ever produced by Lotus. His task will be arduous: to combine the lightness and agility of Elise with the enthusiasm and aggressiveness of Exige and the GT soul of Evora. The project, which we will be able to see on the road in spring 2022, it seems perfect to honorably replace the three most important cars of the last 50 years of Lotus. Will she be able to keep the three Es from regretting and earn the same love as her older sisters? We will only find out in the next few years. Before you find out, though, we say goodbye to Elise, Exige and Evora, three true icons of world motoring. Thanks girls, it was great.