The Lotus Elise S Cup R Is the Track Star You Can’t Take Home

It’s been two years since Lotus’s Elise and Exige hightailed it back to England, but a few American fans have been importing these featherweight sports cars as track-only models. The latest, after the faster Exige V-6 Cup and V-6 Cup R debuted last year, is this hardtop 2014 Elise S Cup R.

While technically a road-going car in Europe, the Elise S Cup R doesn’t have the proper engine or airbag certifications to meet U.S. requirements, and Lotus doesn’t have the money to get it on the federal roster. (An all-new Elise was scheduled to come to market next year, but that won’t be ready, either). Still, given the Cup R’s aggressive aero package, adjustable racing springs, and Yokohama slicks, we wouldn’t want to subject this one-ton two-seater to our local roads.

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For $66,650, a reflashed ECU boosts the supercharged 1.8-liter Toyota-sourced four-cylinder to 217 horsepower, while upgraded brake pads, polycarbonate rear window, snap-off steering wheel, six-point seatbelt, and a full roll cage make it ready for battle. A six-speed manual is the only gearbox choice, air conditioning and a passenger seat are options, and power steering doesn’t exist. Although curb weight is unchanged, Lotus says the Cup R is four seconds quicker around its test track than the standard Elise S, and we’ll have to take the brand’s word considering we haven’t driven one in years.

About Clifford Atiyeh