Lotus has to clear out its hoary old inventory for the future of its “New Era,” and as such, it’s sending the Elise and Exige out of American production with some guaranteed-to-be-rare limited editions.
Production for the Elise and Exige will end August 2011 for America—Lotus cites its difficulty in sourcing Toyota’s 1.8-liter 2ZZ engine as the reason to stop building them. The final cars will be “instantly collectible,” as Lotus cites, and limited to nifty matte-black and color schemes, with supercharged engines and an impressive array of standard features.
The Elise SC Final Edition gets a supercharged 218-hp engine and matte black paint on the hardtop and mirrors. Standard features will be unprecedented for a Lotus: air conditioning, MP3-ready radio, central locking, traction control and iPod connectivity as part of the Touring pack will all be standard, as well as a a limited-slip differential. It will be available in four colors and will start at $57,500.
The Exige gets two special editions: the Exige Matte Black Final Edition gets matte black paint as reflective of its namesake, Alacantara sport seats and body-colored wings and side scoops. The Exige S260 Final Edition, on the other hand, will be available in actual hues—Lotus’s entire Metallic, Lifestyle and Limited palette is available at no extra charge—thus sparing its well-heeled owner of “Lord Vader, your car has arrived” jokes. Both cars get the same 257-hp supercharged engine with a limited-slip differential and Sport/Touring packs standard.
As per any limited edition, production will be kept to comically low examples. The Elise SC will only see 15 examples built, while the Exige Matte Black Final Edition and the Exige 260 will be numbered up to 25 and 30, respectively.
It’s safe to assume that all models have been spoken for, which really leaves this announcement as a tease for budding Lotus fans.