YspeopleExplore tab

Light, nimble and wickedly quick

Thumb rohman moose85

About Mark

Mark Holgate is the driving force behind Exhaust Notes Australia, one of this country's premier automotive websites, with in excess of 1 million visits every year, and literally hundreds of car reviews and motoring stories.

With more than 20 years experience as a journalist, and five years as a professional blogger, he brings a wealth of knowledge about cars, bikes and everything in between.

Introducing today’s player: a pint-sized, soft-topped member of the Lotus family -- the 2017 Lotus Elise Sprint 220.

It looks like a toy, we hear you say. While this may be so, but it’s a light, nimble and wickedly quick play thing.

It's like lighting a stick of gelignite - the 2017 Lotus Elise Sprint 220.

It's like lighting a stick of gelignite - the 2017 Lotus Elise Sprint 220

The Elise Sprint 220 pushes out just 160kW of power and 250Nm of torque from its 1.8-litre, supercharged Toyota power plant; not much more than your average family sedan. But if that’s all you see this little car for, then you’re missing the point -- big time.

Read more from Exhaust Notes Australia: Are you ready for cool summer cruising?

You see, the MY17.5 version of the Elise Sprint 220 weighs in at less than 880kg. Contemplate that for a minute, that’s half the weight or more of an average family sedan. Now contemplate this, 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds.

That got your attention, didn’t it. In case you missed it, it’s all about the power-to-weight ratio, which the 2017 Lotus Elise Sprint 220 has in spades. It’s a good 40kg lighter than the previous version, too.

That weight reduction comes in a number of areas, including carbon race seats, new wheels, and carbon access panel, engine cover, and rollover hoops. There’s also carbon door sills to add to the unique look and feel.

Those very door sills also make it easier to get into the Elise with the roof on, especially if you are close to or even over the 180-183cm height range, as they’ve made the access point 10mm lower than if those sills were standard.

Our test vehicle, sourced from the cool crew at Simply Sports Cars at Artarmon in Sydney, also featured metallic grey paint, tinted side windows, floor mats, sound insulation, and a quality stereo and front speakers.

The stereo had Bluetooth and USB connectivity to allow you to plug in your music from a stick, or connect your mobile phone, but for the life of us we couldn’t make that function work.

That said, the Clarion sound system was very good, as were the surprisingly comfortable carbon seats. We say surprising because they are literally bolted to the floor and while they can be adjusted, movement range is limited.

It also came complete with Alcantara steering wheel and red brake calipers to match the red graphics on the car, while new front and rear bumpers complete the upgraded model’s new look and feel.

Inside, because of the compactness of the Elise, it feels like there’s virtually no storage save for the small boot, but there are little nooks everywhere.

There is a parcel shelf behind the seats, two pockets under the air vents, spaces either side of the steering wheel and a shelf under the passenger airbag, plus a centre-console storage bin behind the handbrake.

It runs a very tidy 7.5L/100km in the fuel department, not bad for a raw and dirty little sports car.

It’s that raw and dirty nakedness that makes the Lotus Elise (and it’s bigger sibling, the ) such a cool car. It’s got the same open-gate gear shifter as the Exige Sport 350 and, like the Exige, is a pure two-seater.

Behind the wheel it’s loads of fun to drive. It sounds good, very good, in fact. Lotus have worked hard to get it to sound ‘just right’ for a small supercharged four and under acceleration, that sound is spot on.

Holding the revs at mid-range though (when cruising at 110km/h for example) will likely get on your nerves in time though, as it can make the spritely little Elise a bit noisy, especially when you’ve taken the top off.

The Elise Sprint 220 has a roll-off soft top that can be stored in the boot and allows the joy of open-top cruising. It is easy to get on and off when you need to, should the rain come or the weather not suit.

The ride and handling is exceptional, it’s like driving a race car. Its light weight and power-to-weight ratio make it a simple joy to drive. Add some moisture to the road and it will take weeks to wipe the smile off your face.

So what are the downsides to the 2017 Lotus Elise Sprint 220? Well, there aren’t many, but the lack of high-end tech, and the sheer basicness of the car, its interior and features, will be too much for some to cope with.

The engine is noisy at mid-range revs when cruising. It’s got a few blind spots, too, and the limited movement in mirrors can be very frustrating.

Lastly, if you’re a big strapping person, or you're tall, like 185cm tall, you’re going to seriously struggle to get in and out of the Elise without taking the roof off and pretending you’re in the Dukes of Hazzard.

But if you can look past all that and the price tag, which may bother some, then this tiny sports car may provide the most fun you've had with your clothes on.

The 2017 Lotus Elise Sprint 220 hits the road at around $113,000 drive-away. It only comes as a six-speed manual.

It comes in a range of colours that includes our metallic grey test car, electric light-blue, solid red, solid yellow and about a half dozen other colours. Colours are subject to availability, so buyers should discuss with their local Lotus dealer.

Lotus ownership in Australia also offers access to Lotus Lifestyle – an owner’s club, if you like, to help owners get the most out of their vehicles. Lotus Lifestyle offers social outings, exclusive events, casual track days, driver tuition, road rallies and even the opportunity for competitive motor sport at various levels.

Lotus Cars Australia has a national dealer network that includes Simply Sports Cars in Sydney, and Lotus branded dealerships in Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth.

Our 2017 Lotus Elise Sprint 220 was provided by Simply Sports Cars and Lotus Australia. To find out more, your local Lotus dealer. Lotus Elise Sprint 220 pictures courtesy of .

Banner 2
| Your rating
No ratings yet

Related stories

If you come up with any pearls, make sure you send them in! (Image: Shutterstock).

Else>>>ofound wisdom from the shower

In the third of this series, we take a look at some of the profound shower wisdsom sweeping the internet.

Philosophy Community Humour
5 days ago
I'm dying of laughter!.

These fabulous puns have groan on me

Everybody loves a good pun, don't they?

8 days ago
Off the chain.

Strap yourself in, hang on for the ride

Strap yourself in, hang on for the ride, dirt’s gonna fly, ground’s gonna shake tonight.

Hobbies Technology Auto
9 days ago
giggle at the cleverness of these one liners.

17 clever one-liners to lighten the mood

If you're ever chasing a good one-liner, just tell them one of these.

Culture Humour
12 days ago
It has GT looks but a cruiser feel.

Don't tell anyone this Lexus is not a performance car

Despite confirmation of its sports luxury aspirations from its refined chassis, the Lexus IS 300 is foremost a cruise and...

Hobbies Technology Auto
15 days ago
These quotes will have you rolling in positivity.

Because life itself is a quotation

Feed your mind, soul and funny bone with this thought-provoking collection of quotes.

Philosophy Humour
15 days ago
No slouch for a naked sports bike.

Once upon a time...

In a land far away, Italian bike brand Aprilia created the Shiver, a 750cc motorcycle with a 90-degree twin engine.

Hobbies Technology Auto
22 days ago
Time to let your mind run free.

Mindblowing wisdom from the shower

People are having so many ''lightbulb moments'' in the shower, that we've written a second post about them.

Philosopophy Community Humour
23 days ago
Cute in the automotive kind of way… the 2018 Peugeot 3008 GT.

Forget everything you know about this Pug

We're not talking about the cute doggy variety of Pug here, we're talking about the 3008 from French car maker Peugeot.

Hobbies Technology Auto
24 days ago
These subtle actions could make someone incredibly frustrated!.

Nine ways to subtly mess with people

Hilarious and subtle ways to mess with people's heads.

Relationships Humour
26 days ago

Have your say!

Your Great Australians

Trending stories
Marriage is a con, serving no purpose at all.

Marriage is a symptom of ugliness

Relationships and love have...

(Love & Relationships) 3 days ago
She truly does love, honour and obey Jim.

Jim really does spank his wife often

Part two in the story of...

(Love & Relationships) 4 months ago
Camel milk vanilla slice.

Camel milk vanilla slice

A delicious slice created...

(Epicure) 8 days ago
I'm dying of laughter!.

These fabulous puns have groan on me

Everybody loves a good pun,...

(Pastimes) 8 days ago
You want to ensure your medications are well-managed while overseas.

How to manage your medication while travelling

Follow these 13 handy tips...

(Travel) 10 days ago
Weekly Poll
Photographic memories
It's 35 years since the Ash Wednesday bushfires in South Australia and Victoria claimed 75 lives and more than 2500 buildings.