Vehicle Overview

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 more horsepower.

New for 2011
There are no significant changes to the Elise and Elise SC for 2011.

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. Exterior features include:

  • LED taillamps
  • Composite body panels are used, and the entire car weighs slightly less than 2,000 pounds
  • Standard removable black cloth top, available body-colored hardtop
  • Sixteen-inch alloy wheels up front, 17-inch alloys in back

Two occupants sit in composite sport seats. The cabin is sparse, with an Alpine head unit for the stereo and an aluminum gearshift knob and handbrake. Interior features include:

  • Momo steering wheel
  • LCD screen displays essential vehicle information
  • Standard air conditioning
  • CD stereo with optional iPod compatibility
  • Power windows and locks
  • Starter button and immobilizer alarm
  • Optional leather sport seats, center cupholder, stowage net and additional sound insulation

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 and 133 pounds-feet of torque. The Elise SC adds a supercharger to make 217 hp at 8,000 rpm and 155 pounds-feet of torque at 5,000 rpm. Mechanical features include:

  • Six-speed manual transmission
  • Coil-spring suspension can be equipped with Bilstein shock absorbers
  • Eight-spoke cast-aluminum wheels
  • 16-inch tires in front, 17-inch tires in rear
  • Optional lighter wheels 
  • Twin-piston front brake calipers and 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