Lotus has been making two door roadsters since 1962, when the Lotus released the Elan. The initial run for the Elan ended in 1975 and was brought back from 1989 to 1995. In 1995, Lotus replaced the Elan with the Elise. Lotus stopped production of the first generation Elise due to new European safety regulations. Lotus teamed up with General Motors to help them meet the new safety requirements. In 2002, the second generation Elise was released. GM got their own version of the Elise, the Opel Speedster and the Vauxhall VX220. The Elise is also the basis for the Lotus Exige and the Tesla Roadster.
The Lotus Elise is a regular at Houston Cars and Coffee events as well as the 2011 Houston Auto Show. I like the styling of the Elise. It looks like it would be fun to drive, especially with Lotus’ reputation of excellent handling. It is one of the better roadsters out there.
The Lotus Elise is powered by a 1.6L I4 engine, paired with a six-speed manual transmission, that produces 134 hp and 118 lb-ft of torque. It goes from 0 to 60 mph in 6.0 seconds and reaches a top speed of 124 mph. Other versions of the Elise are available. The Elise R has a 1.8L I4 engine that produces 190 hp and has a 0-60 mph time of 5.4 seconds and a top speed of 134 mph. The Elise SC has a supercharged 1.8L I4 that produces 220 hp, goes from 0 to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds and reaches a top speed of 145 mph. Prices for the Elise start at $47,250. Prices for the Lotus Elise R start at $51,845. Prices for the Lotus Elise Sc start at $54,990. The Elise is a little pricey compare to other sport roadsters, but none of them can handle as well as the Elise. Few sport roadsters have the performance of the Elise.
The Lotus Elise has been featured in Death Racers, Extreme Machines, Clarkson: Hot Metal, and Fifth Gear. The Elise is playable in Shift 2: Unleashed, L.A. Rush: Showdown, Need For Speed: World, Need For Speed: Shift, Â Forza Mortorsport 2, Car Town, Saints Row 2, Forza Motorsport 4, Need For Speed: Undercover, Gran Turismo 4, Gran Turismo 5, Test Drive Unlimited, and many other racing games.
Final Thoughts: This is a great little sport roadster. The base Elise has the same horsepower as the Prius, but the Elise is lighter and handles better than the Prius. Since the Elise is lightweight, it does not need a lot of power to get it up to speed. The Elise handles like no other roadster. Lotus has turned handling into a science. The Elise may not be the most powerful or fastest car on the road, but its handling makes it a great track day car.
Photo taken from a camera phone.
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Originally written on October 9, 2011