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2011 Lotus Elise

  • 2011 Lotus Elise Base Coupe
    • MAX MPG
      27
    • SEATS
      2
    • HP/TORQUE
      189/133
    • ENGINE
      1.8L I4
    • MSRP
      $47,250
  • 2011 Lotus Elise SC Coupe
    • MAX MPG
      26
    • SEATS
      2
    • HP/TORQUE
      218/156
    • ENGINE
      1.8L I4
    • MSRP
      $54,990
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  • Review

2011 Lotus Elise Review

If you can sacrifice the comfort you get in another car, or even a different roadster, the Lotus Elise is an impressive car to drive.

Reviewed by Automotive on

Overview

The Lotus Elise is a two-door roadster with a lot of power and flash. The 2011 Lotus Elise has had a major exterior facelift, but the mechanics underneath the hood remain somewhat the same.

The Lotus Elise provides a lot of bang for your buck. Once again, the power of the Elise performs way above the price you pay for it. The weight of the vehicle is extremely low, meaning the every horsey produced by the engine is put to the best use possible. The acceleration and handling of the Elise is one of the best on the market.

The Elise is available in two main trim lines: the base Elise and the Elise SC.

The Range

Body Styles: two-door roadster
Engines: 1.8-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: six-speed transmission
Models: base Elise, Elise SC

What's New

Some different packages and options are available for the 2011 model year:

  • Updated styling and minor features
  • A Roger Becker Edition Elise is also available in the 2011 model year. This model honors the retired Becker, who led the vehicle-engineering department for Lotus. The Becker Edition includes everything in the Sport and Touring Packages and adds the limited slip differential. Black leather interior and limited edition colors are also standard.

Exterior

The base Elise model has standard 16-inch alloy wheels on the front and 17-inch alloy wheels on the back. The different tires sizes make the car more aerodynamic. A Targo hard and soft top comes with the Elise, allowing you to choose according to mood.

The Elise SC is the supercharged version that produces 220 horsepower. Standard offerings on the SC include a rear spoiler, SC wheels, but the leather trim and upholstery is dropped on this version. The iPod interface and some of the sound deadening equipment is also missing. A Touring Pack is available that includes all the features missing on the SC. The hardtop is also optional.

A Sport package includes sport wheels, traction control, Bilstein dampeners, and sport seating for take-off control.

Extra options that can be added include a protective film for the paint, black painted wheels, a limited-slip differential and different paint options.

Interior

Air-conditioning, power windows and locks, leather trimmed Momo steering wheel, leather upholstery and trim, and a trip computer come standard on the interior. For music, a four-speaker Alpine stereo system with a CD player and iPod integration faceplate are installed.

For some, the interior might be a popular item in the car. It is as bare as possible with a lot of exposed metal, little sound installation, and minimal room. If you are into bare bones racing than this is the interior for you. The car really isn’t even meant for a passenger, since the passenger sits shoulder to shoulder with the driver, making high speed driving a bit of a pain. Why else would you have an Elise except to drive it as fast as possible?

Performance & Handling

Unfortunately, the handling and power of the Elise can do nothing to hide how incredibly uncomfortable the car is to ride in. Riding over bumps is a pain and everything feels cramped. Also, the cabin is incredibly loud. Entering and exiting the vehicle feels almost impossible–unless you’re a gymnast. Standard features you would expect from a vehicle are also missing.

Underneath the hood is a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder that produces 190 horsepower and 133 pound-feet of torque. This might not seem like much, but remember that low curb weight. A supercharged engine is also available that produces 220 horsepower and 155 pound-feet of torque. The engine is controlled by a six-speed transmission.

The engine really gets the Elise moving. The roadster can go zero to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds.

The steering is very responsive, giving precise movement even at high speed. The throttle and brakes are also right there with you, no struggle necessary to get going or to stop. Low gear riding is decent, but around 6,500 RPM the horsepower comes alive. Just don’t hit a bump at high speed–you feel almost every stone in the road; imagine what a hole will do to you.

Safety

Safety equipment on the Lotus Elise is at the bare minimum. It is not a safe car in any respect. The Elise does have antilock brakes, traction control standard on the Base edition, but does away with a lot of airbags. You have to be alert when driving the Elise.

EPA Fuel Economy

The Elise: 21/27-mpg city/highway
The SC line: 20/26-mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Steering is very responsive
  • Fuel economy is surprisingly good

You Won't Like

  • The Lotus Elise is in no way a practical car.
  • Difficult entry and exit from the vehicle
  • Cramped space inside the cabin
  • Other limits in functionality make the Elise a vehicle more suitable as a toy than every day vehicle.

Sum Up

If you can sacrifice the comfort you get in another car, or even a different roadster, the Lotus Elise is an impressive car to drive.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Mazda NX-5 Sport (Soft Top)
  • Mazda RX-8 Sport
  • Lotus Evora
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