Lotus Elise 111R
There's a change to the Elise line-up

8th June, 2004

Lotus Elise 111S is back

Almost before you knew it was gone, the Elise 111S is back!

As a result of a significantly reduced ex-factory price for the Lotus Elise 111S (discontinued late last year), Lotus Cars Australia is now able to bring this model back into the Australian Lotus line-up, at a price $10,000 less than before!

With demand for the new Elise 111R presently overwhelmingly in favour of the model fitted with the Touring Pack, it has been decided to discontinue the “base” Elise 111R, previously priced at $94,990.

It will therefore no longer be necessary to refer to the Touring Pack name, but the Elise 111R will in future automatically be built to the previous Touring Pack specification.

This means that other than for the normal Elise, all the Elise models above it, i.e. the Elise S, the Elise 111S and the Elise 111R will all have as standard features like central locking, electric windows and a choice between Leather or Alcantara Trim.

This re-alignment of the Lotus Elise model line-up results in a very clear, evenly spaced range of 4 models, over a $30,000 price gap. The revised model range is as follows:

  • Elise (90 kW) $69,990
  • Elise S (90 kW) $79,990
  • Elise 111S (116 kW) $89,990
  • Elise 111R (141 kW) $99,990

Please note that the motorsport focussed Lotus Sport 111 remains in the Lotus model line-up, at its existing price of $99,990. Its specification, including the adjustable Sports Suspension, the black 16 spoke OZ Racing wheels and the fantastic Yokohama LTS AO48 tyres remains as before.

Likewise the Exige model range, as recently announced remains unchanged. The Exige is priced at $99,990. The two option packs, Touring and Performance, both remain available, each priced at $7000.

Model summary

The Lotus Elise

Priced at an affordable $69,990, the new air-conditioned Elise winds the pricing clock back to 1997, when the original Elise was first launched. It is the model best suited to those who fell in love with the original Elise design and concept.

Except, of course, that in 2004 it is a new car with a different (but similar) body, but importantly following the same design philosophy. Whilst a lot more “civilised” than the original, it leaves all the fun factor elements firmly in place.

>Besides air-conditioning, the new Elise also offers features such as an advanced electronic alarm, carpet mats, 4-speakers and a radio CD as part of the standard specifications; features that were either not available or extra cost options in 1997.

Without doubt the current Elise is, taking the standard features into account, the most affordable Elise ever offered in Australia. The $69,990 price point puts this model within reach of a much wider audience, allowing people considering cars like the similarly priced Nissan 350Z and the Chrysler Crossfire, to also consider the purchase of a Lotus Elise.

With a zero to 100-km/h acceleration time of only 5.9 seconds and a top speed of 202 km/h, the standard Australian specification Elise is a fast car by any measure.

The Lotus Elise S

Sporting the same 89.7 kW engine as the normal Elise, the Elise S adds the Noise Insulation Pack (NIP), including the lined and insulated soft top, which not only cuts noise, but in particular, stops heat radiation into the cockpit on very hot days.

With this roof arrangement, it transforms the open top Elise into a snug coupe, when the roof is in place.

Besides the NIP, which is not available on the standard Elise, the Elise S customer also gets to choose between Leather (Black) or Alcantara (Black or Silver) trim, instead of the cloth trim fitted to the standard car. Colour coded seat rim, carpet and soft top are available at extra cost.

Other upgrade features include electrically operated windows, central locking, sun visors, stowage net behind the seats, driving lights and cross-drilled brakes. All of this extra equipment adds 12 kg to the weight of the Elise S, over that of the normal Elise.

Please note that Lotus is now quoting fully fuelled “wet” weights for the Elise range, compared to the “dry” weights quoted in the past. This means that the Elise S weighs in at 812 kg, fully fuelled.

The increase in weight over the standard Elise is not measurably significant in the zero to 100 km/h dash, hence the 5.9 second claim remains.

With its $79,990 price tag, the agile Elise S faces similarly priced (but much heavier) competitors like the Audi TT Turbo, the BMW Z4 2.5, the Honda S2000 and the Mercedes-Benz SLK 200 Kompressor.

The Lotus Elise 111S

The Elise 111S features the same high specification as the Elise S, but it is an even quicker, cleaner and more fuel-efficient car. In summary, over the normal Elise it additionally offers:

  • The higher output 116 kW VVC engine – 29% more power
  • More torque, 175 Nm vs. 168, a 4% increase
  • Better acceleration, 0 to 100 km/h in 5.3 seconds, a 10% improvement
  • Much better high-speed performance, 0 to 160 km/h in 14.0 seconds, vs. 17.2 seconds, a 19% improvement
  • Higher top speed, 212 km/h vs. 202 km/h, a 5% improvement
  • Even better emissions, just 163 g/km, vs. 177 g/km, an 8% improvement
  • Even better fuel consumption, a miserly 6.9 l/100 km in the combined cycle, vs. 7.4 l/100 km for the standard Elise, a 7% improvement
  • With a 7% taller final drive ratio, 3.937:1 vs. 4.2:1, the Elise 111S engine is revving lower at cruising speed, whilst shorter first and second gear ratios, help the fast initial acceleration times off the line
  • The Elise 111S is also visually differentiated by the stylish 8 spoke wheels, which reduce the unsprung weight by 5 kg, or 1.25 kg per wheel, which benefits grip on rough surfaces
  • Lastly the Elise 111S is fitted with a 3-element rear diffuser

In short, the Elise 111S offers more performance for the extra price, which at $89,990 is $10,000 more than for the Elise S.

At this pricing level, the Elise 111S offers performance advantages, in comparison to similarly priced competitors such as the BMW Z4 3.0, the Audi TT 1.8 Turbo Quattro and the Mercedes-Benz SLK230 Kompressor.

The Lotus Elise 111R

As the new flagship of the Elise range, the Elise 111R offers even more performance than the Elise 111S and additionally has a 6-speed gearbox and track tuned ABS anti-lock brakes fitted as standard.

The acclaimed high technology Toyota engine also offers very exciting driving characteristics, particularly once 6200 r/min is exceeded, all the way up to the 8350 r/min red line.

Compared to the Elise 111S, the Elise 111R additionally offers:

  • The higher output 141 kW VVTL-i engine – 22% more power. (57% more power than the standard Elise!)
  • More torque, 181 Nm vs. 175 Nm, a 3% increase
  • Slightly better low speed acceleration, with 0 to 100 km/h in 5.2 seconds, a 0.1 second improvement
  • Significantly better high-speed performance, 0 to 160 km/h in 13.0 seconds, vs. 14.0 seconds, a 7% improvement
  • Higher top speed, 241 km/h vs. 212 km/h, a 14% improvement
  • At 208 g/km the Elise 111R cannot better the extraordinary low 163 g/km emissions values of the Elise 111S. It is 28% worse, but still very good compared to most other cars
  • Likewise, the Elise 111S is the fuel consumption champion, its miserly 6.9 l/100 km in the combined cycle, vs. 8.8 l/100 km for the Elise 111R, being 28% worse
  • With its 6-speed gearbox, the Elise 111R can afford to run a much shorter 4.529:1 final drive ratio, which assists performance, particularly in mid-range performance

At $99,990 Elise 111R is a strong “value for money” alternative against the ($108,500) Porsche Boxster and it even out accelerates the vastly more expensive ($133,100) Porsche Boxster S.

In Summary

With an evenly spaced range of Lotus Elise models over a $30,000 price range, the current Elise line-up is without a doubt the best priced, best equipped and most desirable range of Elises ever on offer in Australia. The return of the Elise 111S balances the line-up perfectly.

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