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For The Lotus Elise is an exercise in making the bare minimum all you'll ever want from a sports car. Fantastic to drive, with jaw-dropping performance, delicious steering and stunning grip.

Against The refinement and hood design let the side down, and it's not easy to get in and out of. You're looking at the best part of £30,000 for a fully equipped car.

Lotus Elise Open
33 5stars

A proper sports car, full of sensation. The Lotus Elise demands dedication for day-to-day use, but it’s worth the effort.

What Car? readers say

4.333333

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The full Lotus Elise review


There are 4 Lotus Elise versions available

Open 1.6 Club Racer 2dr £28,580
What Car? says:3 stars out of 5
Open 1.6 2dr £29,050
What Car? says:3 stars out of 5
Open 1.6 Sport 2dr £30,650
What Car? says:3 stars out of 5
Open 1.8 S 2dr £37,205
What Car? says:3 stars out of 5

Buyer's notes

Target Price team says:

Make sure you know what you're letting yourself in for with the Lotus Elise. There's no great effort here to make it especially – or at all – luxurious. Instead, the opposite is true, and this is a car designed purely with the driver in mind. It's stripped back to basics, and pretty much all that's fitted is what is necessary to make this one of the best-driving cars on the market.

It may not be that easy to get in and out, but once you've driven an Elise, getting out will be the last thing on your mind - it's that good. Even the most basic version is thrilling, so there's no need to spend any more.

Perhaps the only reservation is that the prices are now on the high side. Start hitting the options list, and you'll be spending close on Porsche Boxster money.

Reader test team says:

Lotus Elise Open 1.8 111R 2dr

Honestly the best thing I have ever owned. However, purely and simply it is a toy. Upon returning from Afghanistan in 2011 I had a vast amount of…

Aden Philpott

4 out of 5 stars

Lotus Elise Open 1.8 2dr

Had a Lotus Elise base 120bhp on a 52 plate from new. Drives great, minimal weight allowing you to drive quickly with little effort. Sticks to the…

darren parker

2 out of 5 stars

Lotus Elise Open 1.8 111S 2dr

I owned the Lotus Elise Series 2 111s and 14,000 miles in it. it was so good and enjoyable that I upgraded it for the Seres 2 Lotus Exige. Not a bad…

Jamie Jones

5 out of 5 stars

Lotus Elise Open 1.8 111R 2dr

My last Elise, a 99 S1 was pretty raw. This one has really grown up. The build quality is vastly better and the cabin is tight as a drum. It's a…

Paul Owen

5 out of 5 stars
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Lotus Elise Open

Read the definitive Lotus Elise Open review from the expert What Car? team. Check specs, prices and compare with similar cars.

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