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.
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.
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Lotus Elise performance
The Elise uses either a 134bhp 1.6-litre and a 217bhp 1.8-litre engine. Even though the car is light, the 134bhp isn't quite enough to excite; come up behind another car and you need a decent amount of space and planning before you can get past, which is frustrating in a sports car. However the more powerful 1.8 engine can propel the Elise from 0 to 62mph in just 4.2 seconds, and on to a blustery top speed of 145mph. It's tremendous fun and has more than enough urge for speedy and safe overtaking.
Lotus Elise ride & handling
The Elise set new standards for cars of this type with its superlative grip and a surprisingly comfortable ride. Its sharp, accurate steering is more communicative than the average after-dinner speaker, while the suspension is not rock-solid, and country roads can be attacked with verve. The brakes are a perfect match for the pace, but you should be wary of unsettling the rear if you lift the throttle mid-corner.
Lotus Elise refinement
Don’t expect the Elise to have a cosseting, hushed cabin. Even with the optional hard top in place, wind noise whistles around the cockpit and the engine produces a constant drone, which can prove extremely tiresome over long distances. All of the controls feel precise and well-weighted, however.