Lotus Elise & Exige GT3
The Lotus Elise was designed and manufactured to be a low amount production car, however the car regained the forefront of racing car production it completely shattered Lotus's expectations. Due to its fame many cool limited edition Lotus Elise cars have been developed and released, these include the 340R, Exige coupe, and several motorsport derivatives.
The Lotus Elise was initially shown as a windowless car running a 143 bhp K series Variable Valve Control engine similar to the MGF version. The benefit with VVC is it changes the cam profile progressively, however unlike the Honda VTEC engine which is similar but acts like an on/off switch. This unlike the Honda VTEC means power is available lower down the revs, this gave a wide & smooth power band. This was auto released as the Elise S1 111S in March 1999, this soon was replaced by a 160 bhp engine of the Sport 160 in August 2000.
Lotus Elise Mark II (2001)
The design was updated in 2001. Its smooth contours were replaced by aggressive angular styling. The Mk2 Elise was available in either a Sports Tourer or as the Race Tech model.
The Sports Tourer came with full leather interior including, door panels & dashboard, factory fitted carpets and annodised aluminium fascia & controls, Lotus even fitted a quadrophonic eliseo speaker system, adjustable passenger footrest and cabin storage. The car was nicknamed the Lotus Monza in Hethel throughout its development.
The Race Tech version was more a racing car it featured a cockpit offering a racing inspired interior with ultra light in mind. Including carbon, leather and alcantara trim. The Race Tech came with more racing extras including Cross-grooved brake discs, auxiliary lights and aluminium controls and a two-speaker eliseo system.
An Electric version of the Elise that runs solely on electricity, was made by Zytek Electric Vehicles Ltd. The car runs on two oil-cooled, internally mounted brushless DC motors. The power is transmitted to the wheels through Zytek custom gearboxes with the aid of Lotus drive shafts, this most likely drove the development of the Tesla Roadster.
Both motors weigh 26 kg combined they produce 100bhp with 550 Nm torque. The range is approx 120 miles urban driving, maxing out at approx 90 mph. The acceleration is 0-90 mph in 11.2 sec, the car only weighs in at 875 kg (with battery pack). A definite idea for the future.
The introduction of the Elise 111R in America
In January 2003 the US officially announced the Lotus Elise was to be made available, it was to be based on the Euro S3 version, but made to US legality standards.
It took till September 2003 when Lotus announced the engine to be used in the Elise would run a Toyota 2ZZ-GE 1.8 litre 4 cylinder 16-valve engine, this utilised VVT and Lift-Intelligent (VVTL-i) would be used in conjunction with a 6 speed gearbox, all specially tuned by Lotus specifically for the US markets. The auto would be capable of producing 190 bhp.
The American version of the Elise officially launched in LA at the 2004 Auto Show. The confirmation came that the car would weigh in at 891kg, 0-60mph in 4.8 secs and a max speed of 150 mph. The US Lotus came with a starter button as well as carpets and sound proofing higher capacity fuel tank, twin airbags, TRW anti-lock brakes with servo, air-con & climate control.
The car and engine were chosen in preperation to reduce launch issues if any and legal problems in the US by giving the choice to have the engine which was going to be utilised in the new Exige S2, at the Geneva motorshow in 2004.
This model became available in the UK in January 2004 under the name the Lotus Elise 111R.