The Lotus Elise is a two-seat, rear-wheel drive roadster manufactured and marketed by Lotus Cars, a British car manufacturer, from 1996 to 2021. To honor Elisa Artioli, the granddaughter of Romano Artioli, chairman of Lotus and Bugatti in the year of the Elise's introduction, they gave the car the name Elise.
History of the Lotus Elise
Lotus Elise Series 1 (1996–2001)
The British sports car manufacturer Lotus's saga began in 1997 when it released a new, compact automobile onto the market. This vehicle, the Lotus Elise, would alter the company's trajectory. Collin Chapman was determined that the company's products weigh as little as possible since he thought that was essential for a sports automobile. It left an impression on subsequent cars, and the Elise proved his point. Richard Rackham, chief of engineering at Lotus, pioneered using aluminum extrusion with bonding in the automobile industry. The upshot of combining the two approaches was an incredibly sturdy 150-pound (68-kilogram) chassis. Lotus fitted a Rover K-Series engine with 1.8 liters of displacement and mated it to a five-speed manual transmission. Despite only 118 horsepower, the Elise has a 0-60 mph (100 kph) time of 5.9 seconds, putting it on par with many supercars. In later years, the manufacturer released more potent variants, which made the already quick Elise even quicker on the straightaways.
Lotus Elise Series 2 (1996–2001)
Because of new European accident sustainability standards, they could not build the Series 1 past the 2000 model production year. Hence, Lotus sought a reputable company to match the investment requirement for a Series 2 automobile. General Motors offered funding in exchange for the right to produce a badged and GM-engineered automobile variant under the Opel and Vauxhall names in Europe. On October 9, 2000, Lotus revealed the Series 2 Elise, a version of something like the Series 1 with a slightly revised chassis to conform to standards and the same K-series engine with a new Lotus-developed electronic control unit (ECU). The exterior design paid respect to the M250 concept. It was the first Lotus to be created on a computer. The manufacturer made a noticeable adjustment by replacing the round lenses in the headlights with elliptical ones. Depending on the trim level selected, the car's interior features a redesigned dashboard with a circular shape upholstered in Alcantara and upgraded features over the outgoing model's. With or without VVT, Lotus still used Toyota's 1.8L engine under the hood. The engine's output increased to 192 horsepower, enhancing its top speeds.
Lotus Elise Series 3 (2011–2022)
The 2010 Lotus Elise is a significant upgrade over the Series 2 model, although Lotus incorrectly labels it as a "third generation." There are brand-new features, including LED headlights, powerful new engines, and smooth-shifting transmissions. The Series 1 chassis was notably challenging to modify due to its status as a class leader because of its hydroformed aluminum construction and bonded components. However, GM assisted Lotus in making the necessary adjustments to meet the new safety standards. That was the most significant change made to Series 2.
Elise Cup 220
Lotus unveiled the Elise Cup 220 at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show as their most powerful production car ever. The Cup 220 is an aggressive variant of the regular Elise, optimized for racing.
Elise Sport, Sport 220
In place of the departing Elise and Elise S, the new Lotus Elise Sport and Sport 220 were unveiled in November 2015 as the latest additions to the two-seater sports car series. The 'Sport' moniker, previously only seen on the Lotus Esprit, came back with these new vehicles.
Elise Cup 250
After nearly two decades on the market, 2017 brought a new and improved Elise that was quicker and lighter. Since Lotus Cars built the 2017 Elise Cup on the 2016 Elise Cup 250, both models share the same name. When examining the new model in further detail, one can see that the front bumper has been altered to include a broader and taller center grille. The Elise Cup was equipped with a supercharged 1.8L engine that generated 250 horsepower and 188 pound-feet of torque. It took the car 3.8 seconds to hit 60 mph and 1.32 minutes to complete the Hethel track. Only 30 of the more expensive Cup 260s were available to the public.
Elise Sport 240, and Cup 250 Final Edition
On February 9, 2021, Lotus released two Elise models in their final edition portfolio on the internet. It's puzzling to consider how the Elise stayed popular for so long. It debuted in 1996 and has undergone regular modifications since then, but it is still the exact stripped-down sports vehicle at its core. It was this vehicle that revitalized the Lotus name. The same 1.8L supercharged four-cylinder unit that produced 180 horsepower in its previous iteration was used here. Even though the Final Edition Sport 240 is a bit heavier than the 1996 Elise, it is still a relatively light sports car. Its engine primarily propels the vehicle from corner to corner.
For the 2021 model year, Lotus Cars sold the 2021 Lotus Elise with a starting manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of $97,990 for the base Elise Sport 240 Final Edition, rising to $209,990 for the top-of-the-line Exige Cup 430 Final Edition.
- Elise Sport 240 Final Edition - AUD 97,990 (AUD 101,683 or $65,140 in 2022)
- Elise Cup 250 Final Edition - AUD 109,990 (AUD 114,135 or $73,136 in 2022)
- Exige Sport 390 Final Edition - AUD 149,950 (AUD 155,601 or $99,706 in 2022)
- Exige Sport 420 Final Edition - AUD 169,990 (AUD 176,396 or $113,031 in 2022)
- Exige Cup 430 Final Edition - AUD 209,990 (AUD 217,904 or $139,629 in 2022)
Lotus Cars made significant exterior color alterations to recall the 1996 Elise original. Those interested in purchasing a Lotus Final Edition 240 could do so in either of three available colors: Racing Green, Black, or Azure Blue. Lotus marked the 2021 edition as the last by adding "Final Edition 240 Sport" markings to the front fenders. There was not a huge wing attached to the back.
The most noticeable upgrade is the digital gauges replaced by a TFT display in the cabin. It included a dual-screen display, one dedicated to everyday street usage and the other to track-based racing. The thick but slightly wider leather and Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel allowed the driver to maintain vehicle control without the aid of power steering. The manufacturer left the gear-box connections, which are usually hidden, on display as a stunning metallic sculpture in the space between the seats.
Specs and Performance of the Lotus Elise
- 1.6L Toyota 1ZR-FAE I4
- 1.8L Toyota 2ZZ-GE I4 (2011 US Models)
- 1.8L Toyota 2ZR-FE Supercharged I4
The Lotus Elise's 1.8L engine delivers 240 hp (177 kW) at 7,200 rpm and 180 lb-ft (244 Nm) at 3,000–7,000 rpm of torque. Lotus Cars marketed the Elise as a rear-wheel-drive (RWD) vehicle, and it was available with a 6-speed Toyota EC60 manual transmission. The Lotus Elise accelerates from 0 to 60 mph (0 to 97 kph) in 4.5 seconds, with a top speed of 147 mph (237 kph). Dimension-wise, the Lotus Elise measures 3,824 mm (150.6 in) long, 1,719 mm (67.7 in) wide, and 1,117 mm (44.0 in) high. Its wheelbase measures 2,300 mm (90.6 in) and has a curb weight of 2,015 lbs (914 kg).
The Lotus Elise was released from 1996 to 2021 in three series, namely Elise Series 1, Elise Series 2, and Elise Series 3. It was discontinued in 2021 to make way for the new Lotus Emira.