The Lotus Elise Sportscar received the Readers’ Champion Awards by Autocar, after tens of thousands of motoring fans voted in an online competition. Unveiled at the Frankfurt motorshow in 1995, the Lotus Elise arrived on roads in 1996, winning praise from both journalists and enthusiasts for its pure and undiluted driving experience. Over 32,000 Lotus Elise sports cars have left the factory since launch, and the car remains the famous brand’s most enduring model.
The high tech chassis that underpins the Elise, was ahead of its time when introduced, and continues to represent a significant step forward in chassis design. Based on the use of extruded and bonded aluminium sections, the resulting chassis is both tremendously strong and torsionally stiff and weighs just 68 kg. However, rather than rest on the car’s plaudits, Lotus has continually enhanced and evolved the Elise ensuring that today the 2016 models represent the ultimate iteration of the Elise to date, being lighter and faster than the cars they replace.
As the starting point of the range, the Elise Sport delivers outstanding performance for under £30,000, and is capable of 0-60 mph in 6.0 seconds. Employing lightweight construction, and aerodynamically optimised bodywork it provides pin-sharper handling, and great body control, but not at the expense of ride comfort and composure.
At the top of the range sits the fastest road-going Lotus Elise ever, the Lotus Elise Cup 250. Weighing just 931 kg, and capable of 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds, it’s available as either a coupe or roadster. Customers wanting to cut the car’s weight still further, and so boost performance, can select the optional Carbon Aero Pack and Lithium-ion battery to reduce the vehicle’s mass to just 921 kg.
Every new Lotus Elise customer can personalise their vehicle through the Lotus Exclusive programme. Developed by the Lotus Design team, it combines traditional British craftsmanship with the best of modern design. Conceived to inspire customers, allowing them to tailor vehicles to their personal taste, it offers a comprehensive array of options and provides an alluring alternative to an off-the-peg sports car.
Receiving the award during the Autocar Awards ceremony on Tuesday evening at Silverstone, Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus plc said, “Winning the Readers’ Champion Award shows what a key role the Elise continues to play in the automotive industry. When it was launched it shook the rest of the automotive industry into acknowledging and understanding the importance of lightweight when producing class-leading sports cars – redefining the segment. It is one of the all time greats which is always copied but never equalled.”
The lightweight hand-built sports car from Hethel, Norfolk has long been regarded as a benchmark for handling and performance and providing a level of precision and driver involvement that rivals cannot match. Following the founder of Lotus, Colin Chapman’s engineering principles of performance through light weight, the Elise is perfectly tuned for demanding British roads, providing a pure yet involving and agile driving experience. The latest model, the Elise Cup 250 reaches 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds yet produces only 175 g/CO2 per 100 km.
With prices starting at under 30,000 pounds for the Sport edition, the Lotus Elise also proves that outstanding hand built British sports cars don’t have to cost a six-figure sum.