Lotus has already announced, much to our sadness, that time has been called on the long-serving Elise and Exige lines, after 25 and 21 years in service respectively. So what better way than to send these two legends off into history than with some special run-out models, with more power, limited build runs, exclusive colours and the epithet Final Edition?
Five final flings
There are five new Final Edition variants in all, two for the Elise line and three for the Exige. Of these, three have actually seen an increase in power, reflected in their nameplate numerics - so the former Elise Sport 220 becomes the Elise Sport 240 Final Edition, the Exige Sport 350 transforms into the Exige Sport 390 Final Edition, and the Exige Sport 410 upgrades to the Exige Sport 420 Final Edition. Both of the most intense models in each range, namely the Elise Cup 250 and the Exige Cup 430, continue with the same power but of course gain the Final Edition treatment too.
And what of the Evora, you might ask? Does that continue? Well, no, sad news here, too - the Evora is also in its final year of production, although for now Lotus is yet to confirm how this model's passing will be celebrated.
Elise ends after 25 years
Anyway, for the Elise, the Final Editions employ the tried and trusted 1.8-litre, mid-mounted, supercharged four-cylinder engine sourced from Toyota. The Final Edition cars are said to have the most extensive interior and exterior equipment list of any Elise model, with the big change coming in the form of a TFT digital dashboard - it has a choice of two screens, one with conventional dials and the other a race-car style speed read-out with engine-speed bar.
These two Elises also gain a new design of leather-and-Alcantara steering wheel with a flat bottom, to supposedly help taller drivers better get in and out of the car, while there's a 'Final Edition' plaque in the cabin, new seat trim and fresh patterns of stitching.
On the outside, the Elise Sport 240 FE and the Elise Cup 250 FE can now be painted in some of the most iconic colour schemes from the both the Elise's quarter-of-a-century of production, as well as Lotus' wider history. These include Azure Blue, the colour used in the first production Elise models in 1996, as well as Black - the brand colour of the motorsport division when the company ran the Autobytel Lotus Elise Championship race series - and Racing Green, which is an homage to the colour of the original Frankfurt Motor Show car of 1995.
Power has been increased on the old's 220's absolutely accurate 220hp to a slightly-less-accurate (according to the badge) 243hp on the Sport 240 FE, with 244Nm of torque to back it up. That leads to 0-100km/h in around 4.1 seconds, with a power-to-weight ratio of 264hp-per-tonne and CO2 emissions of 177g/km. The 240 FE comes on ten-spoke Anthracite forged-alloy 17-inch wheels as standard, weighing 0.5kg less than those on the Elise Sport 220, while a range of optional carbon-fibre panels, a lithium-ion battery and a polycarbonate rear window reduces the mass of the Sport 240 from 922- to 898kg. As for the Cup 250, its stats remain the same but it benefits from new ten-spoke diamond-cut ultra-lightweight M Sport (not from BMW, mind) forged alloys, 16-inch items at the front and 17s at the rear, on Yokohama A052 tyres.
All Exiges sub-4s to 100km/h
Moving to the three Exiges, there are unique paint choices, new decals and two new wheel finishes. All versions of the Final Edition Exiges come with the TFT digital dash, a 'Final Edition' plaque, plus the new steering wheel, seat trim and stitching details. The larger, 3.5-litre supercharged V6 - once more sourced from Toyota - continues in service and two of the new colours are Metallic White (used on the unveiling of the V6 Exige at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show) and Metallic Orange (used on the first press-fleet car in 2000, as well as the Exige GT3 Concept from the Geneva Motor Show in 2007).
The Sport 390 FE is increased to 403hp and 420Nm, so not sure why Lotus didn't just call it the Sport 400, allowing for a 0-100km/h time of around 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 277km/h thanks to its 1,138kg kerb weight. The Sport 420 Final Edition has an additional 10hp over the old Sport 410 and so does 0-100km/h in 3.3 seconds with a top speed of 290km/h, and its alloys are Anthracite-finished as well. The Exige Cup 430 continues in its wondrous, high-intensity specification, just with extra FE touches.
And as to pricing? The Eurozone pricing excluding VAT is €47,479 for the Elise Sport 240 FE, €53,750 for the Elise Cup 250, €67,151 for the Exige Sport 390, €83,610 for the Exige Sport 420 and then €108,403 for the Exige Cup 430. Adding 21 per cent of VAT onto those for our country, meaning you're looking at anything from €56,975 to €130,085 (excluding VRT) to buy yourself a slice of Lotus history.