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Price cut for Lotus Elise (copyright image)

Lotus Elise (UK specification)

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Driven by the strong Australian dollar and its new Australian importer, Lotus has cut the price and added equipment to the Lotus Elise to make its small sports car both better value for money.

The entry level Lotus Elise is now priced at $67,990* excluding statutory charges and dealer costs. As the Elise now includes the Sports Pack as standard, the new price represents a total saving of $8,000, while with the top version the supercharged Elise SC has a new price of $77,990* excluding statutory charges and dealer costs which, when combined with the newly standard Sports Pack, is a total saving of $23,000.

The now-standard Sport Pack of equipment includes the Lotus Traction Control System on the Elise SC and ESC on the Elise 1.6, twin oil coolers, Bilstein Sports Dampers; Y spoke forged alloy wheels in Hi-Power Silver and ProBax Sports Seats. (copyright image)
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“Our changes to the Lotus Elise for the Australian market are absolutely in line with the Lotus ethos,” says Glen Sealey, General Manager for Lotus in Australia and New Zealand. “The addition of the Sports Pack as standard further sharpens and hones the performance and sporting appeal of a car that is already a handling and road holding benchmark. The new pricing ensures that the Elise maintains the position held by generations of Lotus road cars, that of a car with giant-killing abilities at an affordable price.”

The Lotus Elise is the epitome of the Lotus ethos of minimum weight and the minimum number of parts deployed in the most effective manner to produce a car that is entirely focussed on providing the driver with a driving experience that, in terms of performance, chassis, steering response and involvement is as close to a racing car as it is possible to achieve in a road going car. Yet, while the Elise is highly capable on the race track, it is more than capable of being a car for road use.

It is, therefore, no surprise that it is also one of the most successful and acclaimed models that Lotus has produced, accounting for 42 per cent of its sales. The technology developed for the Elise, its bonded and extruded aluminium chassis and composite crash structure, has also been used with great success for other car makers and other Lotus models.

Now in its third version following its launch in 1996, the Lotus Elise has a design that is a clear evolution of the original car, with a crisper cleaner, more dynamic look with a more planted, purposeful shape. This has been provided by new bumpers, blended headlights, new engine cover, a more aggressive rear diffuser and new detailing.

Manufactured by Lotus Lightweight Structures, the Elise boasts the world’s first bonded and extruded aluminium chassis. It is produced by combining extruded aluminium sections that are bonded together, a combination that produces a total weight for the chassis of just 68 kg. But lightness does not mean a lack of strength. Indeed, its structure will absorb three times as much energy in an accident as an equivalent steel structure and with a stiffness of 10,800 Nm/degree; it provides the ideal basis for accurate, responsive suspension.

The Lotus Elise is powered by a choice of two Toyota sourced engines providing a combination of reliability and durability which have been ‘tweaked’ by Lotus with a Lotus-developed Engine Management System to provide the performance characteristics required of Lotus sports car. The normally aspirated 1.6 litre engine provides 100 kW, sufficient to push the lightweight Elise to 100 km/h in 6.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 204 km/h.

The Elise SC is the ultimate evolution of the Elise. It has a 1.8 litre, supercharged, high-revving engine producing 163 kW. This provides mid-range thrust from the supercharger and high-rev punch from the high-tech VVTL-i system. Top speed is 233 km/h and 0-100 km/h is achieved in 4.6 seconds, which, when combined with the natural agility and chassis performance of the Elise places it near super car performance territory.

This remarkable engine performance is achieved with a wide range of advanced technologies, including on the 1.6 litre engine, Valvematic variable valve lift that produces a more effective combustion process, reducing pumping losses, increased power and a sharper response from the engine.

Dual VVT-i (Dual Variable Valve Timing) on both intake and exhaust camshafts enabling phasing for optimised power, torque and economy through the engine operating range. The Acoustic Control Induction System (ACIS) enables optimised power and torque delivery through the engine operating range via a variable length induction system and the Direct Ignition System (DIS) provides improved control of the combustion process.

The chassis of the Lotus Elise is a blend of the mechanical and the electronic that provides a unique driving experience that is responsive, sharp, with perfect handling and, yet, at the same time safe, allowing both the expert and the novice to enjoy a superb driving experience on the road or the race track.

The mechanical side starts with the weight balance provided by the mid-engine layout, which is biased by 62 per cent to the rear in an unladen car. It continues with a mechanical layout that is the synthesis of more than five decades of Lotus expertise, comprising of fully independent suspension utilising unequal length wishbones, Bilstein Sports mono-tube gas damper, Eibach coaxial coil springs at each corner and front anti-roll bar.

Electronically, the Lotus Elise can boast the full range of acronyms, starting with CBC or Corner Brake Control, which redistributes brake force during cornering to ensure braking during corners does not throw the car off the desire line. Drag Torque Control (DTC) eliminates torque induced wheel lock-up during quick down shifts by matching engine and road speeds; the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) has been calibrated specifically for the Elise to maximise safety and minimise its intervention and maximise driver enjoyment. The ABS brakes are fitted with the latest Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA) to enable the driver to get the absolute maximum stopping power when required and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) to cope with changing grip levels. The Electronic Differential Lock (EDL) and Traction Control System (TCS) ensure that under all conditions the Elise can lay down the maximum power and torque safely and effectively.

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For track use with the exception of the ABS, HBA and EBD, these systems may be turned off to enable the driver to have maximum fun and enjoyment.

The Lotus Elise is not a luxury car. But, nor is it a stripped track-day only special. It has the equipment and features to ensure that daily use is a practical reality and, as such can bring the ‘Lotus rush’ to everyday commuting.

Standard equipment includes air conditioning, electric windows, central locking with alarm system, easy-remove soft top roof, leather trimmed steering wheel and gear knob, twin air bags and a four speaker digital audio system. The ProBax Sports seats are worth a special mention. Using technology derived from Formula One, these lightweight composite seats mould themselves around the driver and passenger to grip them in an unobtrusive but effective manner to enable them to enjoy and fully utilise the high levels of grip and therefore lateral g-forces offered by the Elise.

NOTE: * Manufacturer's List Price (MLP) excludes dealer delivery fees and the numerous statutory charges (commonly known as on-road costs). Additionally, please note that all prices, fees and charges are subject to change without notice, as are the specifications.


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