Lotus Elise: Wikis


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Lotus Elise
Series 2 Elise
Manufacturer Lotus Cars
Production 1995–present
Assembly Hethel, Norfolk, England.
Predecessor Lotus Elan[1]
Successor Lotus Exige S
Class Sports car
Body style(s) 2-door roadster
Layout Rear mid-engine, rear-wheel drive

The Lotus Elise is a two seat, rear-wheel drive, mid-engined 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).[2] The Elise was named after Elisa, the granddaughter of Romano Artioli who was chairman of Lotus at the time of the car's launch.[3]


Series 1

Series 1
Series 1 Lotus Elise most easily recognized by round headlights
Production 1996–2001[1]
Engine(s) 1.8 L Rover K-Series I4[1]
Transmission(s) 5-speed manual[1]
Kerb weight 725 kg (1,600 lb) ~ 755 kg (1,660 lb)[1][4]
Related Lotus 340R
Vauxhall VX220/Opel Speedster
Lotus Elise GT1
Designer Julian Thomson[1]

Lotus makes cars lightweight instead of making powerful engines in order to achieve performance. Lotus Elise weighs only 725 kg (1,600 lb). (In production form in 1996)[4] For comparison, a Porsche Boxster is 74% heavier at 1,250 kg (2,756 lb).

The Series 1 Elise was able to accelerate 0-60 mph in 5.8 seconds despite its relatively low power output of 118 bhp (88 kW; 120 PS)[1]. 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.[5]

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 needed]


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.

Series 2

Series 2
Lotus Elise Series 2
Production 2002–present
Engine(s) 1.8 L Rover K-Series I4
1.8 L Toyota 1ZZ-FE I4[6]
1.8 L Toyota 2ZZ-GE I4[7]
Transmission(s) 5-speed manual[6]
6-speed manual[7][8]
Wheelbase 2,300 mm (90.6 in)[9]
Length 3,785 mm (149.0 in)[9]
Width 1,719 mm (67.7 in)[8][9]
Height 2002-07: 45.0 in (1143 mm)
2008-present: 1,117 mm (44.0 in)[9]
Kerb weight 860 kg (1,896 lb)[10]
910 kg (2,006 lb)[11]
Fuel capacity 40.1 litres (10.6 US gal)[8][11]
43.5 litres (11.5 US gal)[10]
Related Lotus Elise
Opel Speedster/Vauxhall VX220
Lotus 2-Eleven
Lotus Europa S
Tesla Roadster

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 powerplant (see below).

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.

111R / Federal Elise

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 valvetrain, 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.

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 model).

2008 models

2008 Lotus Elise R in Western Australia.

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)).[12]

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.

Special editions

  • Sport 190
  • Sport 135R
  • Type 23
  • Type 25
  • Type 49
  • Type 72
  • Type 99T
  • Sports Racer
  • Club Racer [1]
  • California Edition[13]


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.

Zytek Lotus Elise

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 Motor Centre.

List of cars sharing the Elise platform


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 2009) [14]

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.[15]

Awards and recognition

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.[16] More generally, it received lukewarm to positive reviews: on Seven Car Garage, the car has a rating of only 62%. However, nearly all of the negative reviews focus on the impracticality of the car as a daily driver rather than shortcomings in the car's handling and performance.[17]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Lotus Elise S1 1995 - 2001 Series 1 1.8". http://www.qv500.com/lotuselises1p1.php. Retrieved 2008-03-06. 
  2. ^ "Lotus Cars USA: 2008 Lotus Elise". Group Lotus PLC. http://www.lotuscars.com/elise.html. Retrieved 2008-12-12. 
  3. ^ Walton, Jeremy (2003). Lotus Elise: The Official Story. Motorbooks Intl.. pp. 7, 95. ISBN 1902351053. 
  4. ^ a b "Lotus Elise Model Comparison, Handling, Power". Sands Mechanical Museum. http://www.sandsmuseum.com/cars/elise/thecar/performance/performance.html. Retrieved 2009-03-03. 
  5. ^ "My Other Design is a Lotus". http://www.sandsmuseum.com/cars/elise/information/press/magazine/magazine1999/dspring98.html. Retrieved 2008-08-14. 
  6. ^ a b "Lotus Elise S - Vehicle Description". Group Lotus PLC. http://www.grouplotus.com/cars/showroom.html#/elise/eliseS/eliseS_vehicle_des.html. Retrieved 2008-03-19. 
  7. ^ a b "Lotus Elise R - Vehicle Description". Group Lotus PLC. http://www.grouplotus.com/cars/showroom.html#/elise/eliseR/eliseR_vehicle_des.html. Retrieved 2008-03-19. 
  8. ^ a b c "2005 Lotus Elise" (PDF). Road & Track. Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S., Inc.. August 2004. http://www.roadandtrack.com/assets/download/0408_elise_panel.pdf. Retrieved 2008-03-19. 
  9. ^ a b c d "Lotus Elise S - Dimensions". Group Lotus PLC. http://www.grouplotus.com/cars/showroom.html#/elise/eliseS/eliseS_dimensions.html. Retrieved 2008-03-19. 
  10. ^ a b "Lotus Elise S - Performance Data". Group Lotus PLC. http://www.grouplotus.com/cars/showroom.html#/elise/eliseS/eliseS_performance.html. Retrieved 2008-03-19. 
  11. ^ a b "2008 Lotus Elise SC". Group Lotus PLC. http://lotuscars.com/elise_220.html. Retrieved 2008-03-19. 
  12. ^ European Lotus Elise Brochure (English)
  13. ^ "Lotus Cars USA: 2008 Elise California - Limited Edition". Lotuscars.com. 2002-07-22. http://www.lotuscars.com/california_car.html. Retrieved 2010-02-21. 
  14. ^ European Elise Price list (UK)
  15. ^ "Lotus Cars USA: Build Your Lotus". Lotuscars.com. 2002-07-22. http://lotuscars.com/configurator.html. Retrieved 2010-02-21. 
  16. ^ Group Lotus Engineering Awards
  17. ^ Seven Car Garage - Lotus Elise

External links


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