The Elise is a compact, lightweight sports car meant for track driving. As such, its competitors, such as the BMW Z4 and Porsche Boxster, generally boast more comfort but fewer at-the-limits performance attributes. The Elise comes in two trims: the entry-level Elise with a non-supercharged four-cylinder, and the Elise SC, which adds a supercharger for 29 more horsepower.
New for 2009
There are no significant changes to the Elise and Elise SC for 2009.
Countless cars are described as "aggressive," but the Elise truly looks the part, with its huge air intakes behind the doors; its long, sloped headlight covers; and its ground-hugging stance.
- Chassis weighs just 150 pounds
- LED taillamps
- Composite body panels are used, and the entire car weighs slightly less than 2,000 pounds — about 300 pounds less than a Toyota Yaris hatchback
- Standard black cloth top, available body-colored hardtop
Two occupants sit in composite sport seats. An aluminum gearshift knob and handbrake sleeve help keep the Elise's weight down, and they complement the aluminum chassis.
- Momo steering wheel
- LCD screen displays essential vehicle information
- Air conditioning standard, but can be deleted to save weight
- CD stereo
- Power door locks
- Starter button and immobilizer alarm
- Available Touring Package adds full-leather seating, power windows, an upgraded stereo and a double-insulated fabric top
Under the Hood
The Elise has a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine sourced from Toyota and tuned by Lotus. It incorporates variable cam timing and lift technology to produce 189 hp at 7,800 rpm and 133 pounds-feet of torque at 6,800 rpm. The Elise SC adds a supercharger to make 218 hp at 8,000 rpm and 156 pounds-feet of torque at 5,000 rpm.
- Six-speed manual transmission
- 0-60 mph time of 4.4 seconds in SC, 4.9 seconds for base Elise
- Coil-spring suspension can be equipped with Bilstein shock absorbers
- Eight-spoke cast-aluminum wheels
- Yokohama tires: P175/55R16 in front and P225/45R17 in back
- Available Sport Package adds wider front tires and lighter wheels (56.2 pounds for all four, versus 70.4 pounds with the standard wheels)
- AP Racing twin-piston front brake calipers and Brembo single-piston rear calipers; all four discs are cross-drilled to resist brake fade
- Optional traction control and limited-slip differential
While traction control is available on the Elise, stability control is not an option. Safety features include:
- Dual front airbags
- Antilock brakes