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).The Elise was named after Elisa, the granddaughter of Romano Artioli who was chairman of Lotus and Bugatti at the time of the car’s launch.
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) 1.8L 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 Lotus 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 Sport Elise.
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 2ZZ-GE engine produces 189 bhp (141 kW; 192 PS) at 6,200 rpm (a considerable increase over the 120 bhp or 89 kW; 122 PS of the 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 or 187 lb higher than the previous S model).
The Elise’s successor, the third generation of Elise, first appeared at the 2010 Paris Motor Show as the Lotus Elise Concept in the autumn of that year, and is set to be launched within the next couple of years, heavier and with a considerably more powerful 2.0-litre engine.
For 2008, there were several additions to the Lotus line-up. There are three 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. Prior to the release of the 2008 Elise SC, the limited production California Edition arrived at dealerships. A total of fifty California Edition Elises were produced; 25 in Saffron Yellow and 25 in Ardent Red. The interiors of the Cali’s were produced in a light two-tone leather (Biscuit) and the exterior modifications included a silver front grille (a nod to vintage-Ferrari), body-colored shutter grills on the side inlets and engine cover, enhanced 16-spoke wheels, and a large spoiler that covers the upper-rear deck (72-D style). The Cali’s were intended to appeal to the lifestyle market. 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 5.8 s, top speed 127 mph (204 km/h)); the Elise R with a 189 bhp (141 kW; 192 PS), 1.8 L 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.
Since April 2010, a facelifted version of the second generation Elise has been available. The new headlights are now single units; triangular in shape they are somewhat larger than the earlier lights. The cheapest version in Europe now has a 1.6 litre engine, with the same power output as the earlier 1.8 (136 PS or 100 kW; 134 hp).
Lotus Sport 111 (Track biased option for Australia, Hong Kong, Japan & Singapore)
The Series 2 Exige, comes with the same high revving Toyota 1.8L 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 Lotus 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 (1,929 lb). 250 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.