Lotus Elise

The Lotus Elise is a two-seat sports car brought to the United States from Europe in 2005. With a curb weight of less than 2000 pounds, the compact, rear-drive roadster is easily one of the lightest sports cars available on the domestic market.

The Lotus Elise boasts a flashy sport-coupe body with a low stance, flared fenders, and standard soft top. Lotus provides a hard top option for drivers interested in added protection. Stand-alone options and several options packages allow for further customization.

More on the Lotus Elise

In order to sell the Elise in the U.S., Lotus was required to add airbags and a variety of other safety features. U.S. models were also updated with an audio system and CD player, air-conditioning, and anti-lock brakes.

Lotus Elise Origins

With little weight to carry, the sprightly Elise doesn’t require much power for quick acceleration. The U.S. Elise debuted in 2005 with a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder, Yamaha-built engine similar to the engine used in the Celica GT-S. However, additional tuning helped increase the engine’s output to 190 horsepower at 7800 rpm. A supercharged Lotus Elise released in mid-2008 pushed output to 218 horsepower.

As of 2012, U.S. sales halted due to an emission exemption that expired in late 2011. As a result, Lotus could no longer source the 1.8-liter engine that was powering the Elise.

About the Lotus Elise

The Lotus Elise is renowned for its lightweight body and fast acceleration. With few fancy features, the racetrack-ready Elise is marketed toward serious sports car enthusiasts.

In contrast to larger U.S. sports cars, the Lotus Elise lacks basic features, such as stability control, power steering, and a glove box. In exchange, the Elise is able to leverage its minimal weight to reach zero to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds. The Elise SC cuts zero to 60 mph acceleration time to 4.4 seconds. Both vehicles feature a top speed of 150 mph.

The Elise is also known for its utilitarian design. Conveniences on the base Elise model are limited to padded seats and a stereo system, though most drivers opt for an available Touring Package that adds comfort conveniences such as carpet, leather upholstery, and a cup holder.

Lotus Elise Features

While Lotus produced a 2012 Lotus Elise for sale in Europe, the 2011 Lotus Elise was the last model sold in the U.S. market.

The Lotus Elise was offered in base and supercharged trim levels. Lotus also introduced a Roger Becker Special Edition model in 2011.

As in previous years, all trims are equipped with a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder, Yamaha-built engine sourced by Toyota. However, the Elise SC’s supercharger pushes engine output from a base 190 horsepower to 218 horses.

Standard features on the base Elise include 16-inch front alloy wheels, 17-inch rear alloy wheels, high-performance tires, a removable Targa-style soft top, air-conditioning, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, leather upholstery, power locks, a trip calculator, and a four-speaker audio system with a CD player. Standard safety features include twin airbags and anti-lock brakes. Traction control is optional.

A Touring Package adds carpet, a leather-trimmed center console, power windows, a cup holder, iPod connectivity, and a premium audio system. Leather upholstery, which is already standard on the base Elise, is added to the Elise SC. A Sport Pack adds unique wheels, Bilstein shocks, and sport seats. It also adds traction control to the Elise SC.

Upgrading to the Elise SC adds a supercharger, special wheels, and a rear spoiler. The Roger Becker Special Edition, named for the former head of engineering at Lotus, tacks on the Touring and Sport packages, a limited-rear slip differential, and a series of limited-edition colors with black interior.

Individual options include black wheels, a black diffuser, a limited-slip rear differential, limited-edition paint colors, and a paint protection film.

The 2011 Lotus Elise measures 149 inches in length, 72.8 inches in width, and 50 inches in height and features a wheelbase of 90.6 inches.

Lotus Elise Evolution

The Lotus Elise arrived on the U.S. market in 2005 as a single-trim, two-seat sport coupe powered by a 1.8-liter, 190-horsepower engine.

In 2006, Lotus updated the Elise with forged alloy wheels, daytime running lights, an optional limited-slip rear differential and traction control, and improved seating.

In 2008, Lotus added a supercharged trim level, the Elise SC, to its U.S. lineup. The SC model updates the 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine with a Roots-type Magnusson M45 supercharger, resulting in 218 horsepower. Torque is improved from 134 lb-ft to 157 lb-ft of torque. Details, such as a rear spoiler, aluminum wheels, and a single exhaust tip, combine to produce a lighter weight and sportier appearance. In 2009, Lotus updated the Elise with standard tire pressure monitoring, customizable displays, and an LCD panel.

A Performance Package released in 2010 updated the previous Touring Package with the addition of Alcantara upholstery, a removable hard top, sport seats, traction control, dual oil coolers, sport springs, sport shocks, performance tires, and a harness bar. In 2011, Lotus updated the Elise with revised intake elements, single-element headlights, a thicker bumper, and more wheel options.

Select a Lotus Elise Year

2011 Lotus Elise

Coupe, Sports

The Lotus Elise is a two-door roadster with a lot of power and flash.

2010 Lotus Elise

Coupe, Sports

The 2010 Elise offers a $3665 Performance Value Package that includes an Alcantara-trimmed interior, a body-colored hardtop, traction control, sport seats, twin oil coolers, and a harness bar. The package represents an overall savings of more than $3300.

2009 Lotus Elise

Coupe, Sports

The 2009 Lotus Elise isn't for everyone, yet driving enthusiasts will swoon at the mere sight of this roadster.

2008 Lotus Elise

Coupe, Sports

2007 Lotus Elise

Coupe, Sports

2006 Lotus Elise

Convertible, Coupe, Sports

The 2006 Lotus Elise boasts a Yamaha-built 1.

2005 Lotus Elise

Convertible, Coupe, Sports

The 2005 Lotus Elise is a lightweight, high-powered sports car that has been available everywhere but the United States since 1996.