IT How many compact sportscars can blast from 0-60mph in just 6.0 seconds (0-100kph in 6.5secs)? The super-light Elise 1.6 can at just 1,931lbs (876kgs). It is the timelessly stylish, lightweight composite body, attached to an equally light aluminium alloy chassis-tub that forms the basis for several other Lotus models. That’s what does it. Yet, it is strong, which allows its suspension to work impressively, resisting body roll but remaining taut enough for the ultimate sportscar thrills, while retaining damping compliance that affords the Elise an astonishingly good ride quality. It is Lotus years of experience and irrepressible talent that allow a car like Elise to be created.
Small capacity is not a hindrance to the entry-level Elise. Its multi-valve 1.6-litre engine delivers a sparkling 134bhp (136PS). Select the first of its six close-ratio gears and the forwards delivery is electric. Its 153bhp/tonne (155PS/1000kgs) enables a V-max of 127mph (204kph), yet its Combined fuel economy is given as 45mpg (6.3l/100km) and CO2 emissions are just 149g/km. This is affordable sportscar ownership by any judgement.
Underpinning every Elise is the most efficient, strongest and low weight extruded and bonded chassis-tub. Based on more than 60 years of racing car developments, its torsional rigidity is outstanding. It allows the suspension to work most effectively, to provide unparalleled grip, a comfortable ride and a dynamic balance that is exceptional. An electronic differential lock (EDL) helps to tame any over-exuberance (for which you can be forgiven).
However inelegant some safety features can be, Lotus incorporates them within its cars as elements of the design package. The lightweight chassis is protected by safety zones. LED supplementary lighting makes your Elise easier to see. Its advanced braking system works with the driver to avoid unfortunate incidents. Twin airbags are part of the safety equipment.