The Lotus Elise is a two seat, rear-wheel drive,
mid-engine roadster conceived in early 1994 and released in
September 1996 by the English manufacturer Lotus Cars.
The car has a
hand-finished fibreglass body shell atop its bonded extruded
aluminium chassis that provides a rigid platform for the suspension,
while keeping weight and production costs to a minimum. The roadster
is capable of speeds up to 240 km/h (150 mph).
The Elise was named after Elisa, the granddaughter of Romano Artioli
who was chairman of Lotus at the time of the car's launch.
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In accord with founder Colin Chapman's saying "Simplify, then add
lightness," Lotus cars are built lightweight to achieve great
performance. In its production form, the 1996 Lotus Elise weighed
725 kg (1,600 lb).
The Series 1 Elise was able to accelerate 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in
5.8 seconds despite its relatively low power output of 118 bhp
(88 kW; 120 PS).
Braking, cornering, and fuel consumption are also improved by the
car's reduced weight.
Series 1 was designed by Julian Thomson, then head of design at
Lotus, and Richard Rackham, Lotus's chief engineer.
Besides the standard higher-performance variants listed below,
Lotus also released some limited edition models such as Sport 135
(1998/9) with approx 145 bhp (108 kW; 147 PS), Sport 160 (2000) with
150–160 bhp (112–119 kW; 152–162 PS), and Sport 190 (190 bhp
(142 kW; 193 PS)). These were more competent on track with sports
suspension, wheels and tires, seats according to model. There were
other special editions such as the 50th Anniversary Edition
(green/gold) celebrating 50 years of Lotus cars, the Type 49 ("Gold
Leaf" red and white two-tone), and Type 79 ("JPS" black/gold) which
refers to its successful Grand Prix car type numbers.
A faster edition called the 111S, named after the Lotus
type-number of the Elise M111, was introduced in early 1999 and had
a VVC Rover K-Series engine with a modified head and VVT technology,
producing a declared 143 bhp (107 kW; 145 PS) rather than the
standard Rover 1.8 L K-series 118 bhp (88 kW; 120 PS) I4 unit, along
with a closer ratio manual gearbox and lower ratio final drive. It
also had more padding in the seats. The 111S had headlamp covers,
rear spoiler, cross drilled brake discs, alloy window winders and a
6 spoke road wheel design.[citation
In 2000, the 340R limited edition model, based on a Series 1
Elise was introduced. This roofless car was a special edition,
limited to only 340 cars being built. The name 340 refers to the
340 bhp/tonne (254 kW/tonne) power-to-weight ratio of the original
prototype which had 177 bhp (132 kW; 179 PS) while weighing just
500 kg (1,100 lb). The final production versions however weighed
568 kg (1,250 lb) in race trim.
In 2000, Lotus introduced the Exige — a hardtop version of the
Elise with the 177 bhp (132 kW; 179 PS) engine from the 340R; as
well as different front and rear clams, larger wheels, and a rear
wing. Many models received an upgrade to 190 bhp (142 kW; 193 PS)
with better driveability due to changes to ECU and cam timing.
Announced on October 9, 2000, the Series 2 Elise was a redesigned
Series 1 using a slightly modified version of the Series 1 chassis
and the same K-series engine with a brand new Lotus-developed ECU.
The design of the body paid homage to the still-born M250 project
and was the first Lotus to be designed on computer. The Series 2
Elise is built on the same production line also created for the
Vauxhall VX220/Opel Speedster in a newer facility at Hethel. Both
cars shared many parts, including the chassis, although they have
different drive-trains and power-plants. The Vauxhall/Opel version
ceased production in 2004.
The Series 2 was also available as a 111S model, with the VVC
engine technology. The 111S models were discontinued in 2005 with
the demise of the K-series engines in favour of the Toyota power
Two more track-focused models, the 135R and Sport 190 were
available with 135 bhp (101 kW; 137 PS) and 192 bhp (143 kW; 195 PS)
respectively. These also came with associated handling upgrades such
as Lotus Sport Suspension and wider wheels with Yokohama Advan A048
tyres. In certain markets, the 135R was replaced by the "Sport 111",
which was similar, apart from sporting the 156 bhp (116 kW; 158 PS)
VVC engine in place of the 135 bhp (101 kW; 137 PS) tuned K-series.
Lotus Elise doing a circuit of the
Nurburgring GP circuit
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This Series 2 Elise model comes in European 111R version or a
version sold in North America, called the Federal Elise. It is
powered by the all-aluminium 189 horsepower (141 kW) 1.8 l DOHC
Toyota ZZ engine with a Yamaha designed twin-cam head offering
variable valve timing on both intake and exhaust valve train, and a
6 speed manual Toyota gearbox. The Series 2 model is acclaimed as
the best version of the Elise to date, with tremendous performance
numbers. Many tests show 0–60 miles per hour (97 km/h) in
approximately 4.9 seconds, or 4.7 seconds with the Sport Package.
The engine management computer is a Lotus programmed unit.
The 2005 Lotus Elise was the first to be sold commercially in the
United States, in the summer of 2004. Approval for the Elise,
however, required intervention by the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration (NHTSA) who provided a three-year exemption
for the car, as it had failed to meet US bumper and headlight
regulations. All Lotus Elise cars manufactured after January 1, 2007
include the new headlights and 2.5 mph (4.0 km/h) bumpers, although
they are hidden in the front.
This model has been followed up by the 2006 Model Year Elise 111R
and SportRacer models. Lotus made a limited edition (50 in the US)
version of the Lotus Elise as well, called the Lotus Elise Sport.
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2006 models also differ from the 2005 models in a few aspects.
2006 models sport LED tail lights, drive by wire (an updated ECU),
improved fuel consumption, and more comfortable ProBax seats.
For the 2007 model year Lotus there were several further minor
changes made. The LOTUS decals on the rear of the vehicle, which was
previously flat stickers, was changed to raised lettering. The
headlamp units were sealed. Also, in order to comply with US
Federally mandated bumper restrictions, the frontal crash structure
was slightly changed and rear bumperettes were added next to the
licence plate mount. Approximately 100 2007 model year "launch" cars
were shipped to the US without these bumper changes. Also in 2007,
the Elise S was released and the 111R renamed Elise R.
The Elise S is the new base model with a Toyota sourced 1.8 l
engine replacing the previous models K series Rover engine. The
1ZZ-FE engine produces 134 bhp (100 kW; 136 PS) at 6200 rpm (an
increase over 120 bhp (89 kW; 122 PS) Rover engine). The inclusion
of airbags, ABS brakes, electric windows, and carpet in addition to
the new heavier engine has increased the base weight to 860 kg
(1,896 lb) (approximately 85 kg (190 lb) higher than the previous S
For 2008, there were several additions to the Lotus line-up.
There are two versions of the Elise. Lotus continued to provide a
naturally aspirated Elise producing 189 hp (141 kW). The second
version is the Elise SC sporting a non-intercooled supercharger
producing 218 hp (163 kW). 0-60 mph is reduced from 4.9 for the base
Elise or 4.7 seconds for the Elise with Sport package to 4.3 seconds
for the Elise SC. The NA Elise styling is similar to the prior model
years. The Elise SC, however, is distinguishable from the NA version
by a rear spoiler identical to the Type 72-D edition spoiler and new
wheels. Weight remained a Lotus-claimed 1,987 lb (901 kg); just
3 pounds (1.4 kg) more than the previous year.
In Europe, there are three models available; the Elise S with a
134 bhp (100 kW; 136 PS) , 1.8l Toyota 1ZZ-FE engine and 5 speed
manual gearbox (0-60 mph in 5.8s, top speed 127 mph (204 km/h)); the
Elise R with a 189 bhp (141 kW; 192 PS) , 1.8l Toyota 2ZZ-GE engine
and 6 speed manual gearbox (0-60 mph in 4.9s, top speed 148 mph
(238 km/h)); and the Elise SC with a 218 bhp (163 kW; 221 PS) ,
supercharged, 1.8l Toyota 2ZZ-GE, 6 speed manual gearbox and a
spoiler (0-60 mph in 4.3s, top speed 150 mph (240 km/h)).
Several new colour options for 2008 were brought to the
marketplace. These include new metallic colours (additional $590)
Persian Blue and Liquid Blue; new Lifestyle colour (additional
$1200) Isotope Green; new Limited Colour Level (additional $3,300)
Candy Red, Ice White, and Burnt Orange; and the new Exclusive Colour
Level (additional $5,100) Prism Green and Moonstone Silver. The
following colours were discontinued for 2008: Nightfall Blue,
Aubergine Purple, Magnetic Blue, Polar Blue, Autumn Gold, Chili Red,
and Krypton Green.
- Sport 190
- Sport 135R
- Type 23
- Type 25
- Type 49
- Type 72
- Type 99T
- Sports Racer
- Club Racer 
- California Edition
The Series 2 Exige, comes with the same high revving Toyota
engine and six speed gearbox as the Elise 111R, replacing the Rover
K-series engine of the previous Exige.
The Series 2 Exige has been followed up by the limited-edition
Lotus Sport Exige 240R, incorporating a Lotus-developed supercharger
atop the Toyota engine. The US Federalized version with the
supercharger fitted is known as the Exige S 240.
The Zytek Lotus Elise is an electric sports car jointly produced
by Lotus and Zytek, from 1998 and discontinued in 2003.
Its 70 kilograms (150 lb) extruded aluminium space frame and
lightweight composite body shell are factors in its low curb weight
of 875 kilograms (1,930 lb). 25 nickel-cadmium batteries provide 300
volts (at full charge) to two Zytek oil-cooled brushless DC motors,
which deliver a total power of 150 kW (200 hp) and torque of 100 N·m
(74 lb·ft). These motors are each mated to a single-speed, fixed
ratio transmission with an aluminium gear. Its acceleration time
from 30 to 70 miles per hour (48 to 110 km/h) is 5 seconds, and from
0 to 90 miles per hour (140 km/h), 11.2 seconds. The car is
governor-limited to 90 miles per hour (140 km/h) to conserve charge.
The range per charge is typically 100 to 120 miles (160 to 190 km)
and the car can be re-charged within an hour.
There is an example of the Zytek Elise on display at the Heritage
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- some useful information
The base prices since January 2008 for the three European models;
the 134 bhp (100 kW; 136 PS) Elise S, 189 bhp (141 kW; 192 PS) Elise
R and 218 bhp (163 kW; 221 PS) Elise SC were 23,550; 28,550 and
32,550 GBP respectively. (These prices are up to date as of February
The MSRP for American Elise models are $47,250 for the base model
and $54,990 for the Elise SC, which are the only two models
currently available in the US market as of 2009.
The Elise has received critical acclaim for its performance and
driving experience, including Best Driver's Car 2001 by Autocar, Car
of the Year 2003 by UK Horizons TV, and Best Sportscar 2004 by BBC
Top Gear Magazine.
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had a go
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