Lotus Elise review

Category: Sports car

Section: Introduction

Available fuel types:petrol
Available colours:
Lotus Elise 2020 front cornering
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RRP from£41,245

Introduction

What Car? says...

The Lotus Elise first appeared in 1996 but, thanks in no small part to its stiff aluminium chassis and lightweight composite body, it remains an example to all of how to make a back-to-basics sports car.

Of course, there is the temptation to look at the Elise and point out that its basic architecture has remained unchanged for the better part of a decade, but its beauty has always been its simplicity. Where other manufacturers have caved into various pressures to make their sports cars more ‘usable’, adding tech such as sat-nav, electric seats and various driving assistance systems, Lotus has opted to remain distinctly old school. And that’s no bad thing. 

In fact, for driving enthusiasts, the fact that the Elise is focused on one thing and one thing only – delivering the ultimate driving experience – is something to be applauded. As is the fact that its existence means you can buy a modern-day sports car with a kerb weight comfortably under one tonne. 

Even its engine line-up is simple, with just two specifications available. The road-biased Sport 220 uses a supercharged 217bhp, four-cylinder, 1.8-litre engine and is capable of 0-60mph in just 4.2 seconds. It’s no slouch, and is a natural rival for Porsche’s entry-level four-cylinder 718 Boxster. Meanwhile the Cup 250 is a very serious bit of kit indeed, using the same 1.8-litre engine but tuned to produce 245bhp. This extra poke, combined with a stiffer chassis, more aggressive aerodynamics and firmer suspension, makes it something of a track day weapon. 

Read on over the next few pages to get our in depth impressions of the dainty Lotus. We'll tell you what it’s like and how it stacks up against the sports car opposition.

At a glance

Number of trims3 see more
Available fuel typespetrol
MPG range across all versions35.8 - 36.7
Avaliable doors options2
Warranty2 years / No mileage cap

How much is it?

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