Concept And Review 2022 Lotus Elises
A quarter-century ago, Lotus afflicted the way cars were built. Particular sorts of cars, hand-built cars, and those produced in low numbers, but all the same, change things the Elise most absolutely did. It additionally afflicted the way some drivers beheld sports cars of the avant-garde era, authoritative abounding catechism what’s important aback we get abaft the wheel.
The Elise is a baby two-seater sports car, rear-engined and rear-driven, which broke into an agog disciplinarian bazaar ill-served by boilerplate carmakers. In accomplishing so it adored the bacon of the acclaimed marque aboriginal founded in 1948 by Colin Chapman.
See how abounding of these 25 facts you apperceive about the arresting little Elise.
The car was activity to be alleged the 111 (pronounced One Eleven), which was the Lotus blazon cardinal and additionally harked aback to the 1956 Lotus Eleven and the 1962 Lotus 23. Patrick Peal, Lotus’ arch of communications had alike purchased a appropriate cardinal plate, M111 LCL, to be acclimated on a bearded prototype. At the aftermost minute, Romano Artioli, Lotus administrator absitively to change the name to Elise afterwards his granddaughter, which acquired a flurry of name allotment and copy of barrage material.
In animosity of that, however, Peal reckons Elise was a bigger name: “In hindsight, Mr. Artioli was right. Elise was the absolute name for the car, aggregate with a antic little girl—his granddaughter Elisa—who helped barrage the car to the world.”
There had been aluminum cars before, some alike application extruded aluminum sections in their makeup. Audi’s space-framed A8 in 1994, for example, acclimated a mix of sheet, casting and extruded sections glued, absorbed and anchored together, but Elise was the aboriginal car to use a agnate technology to that acclimated in extruded aluminum bifold ceramics windows, affirmed together. Developed by Lotus calm with Ciba Polymers of Switzerland and Hydro Aluminium, of Denmark, the beat car architecture technology has been awash and accountant to a cardinal of added car makers over the years.
The Elise’s ability unit, Rover’s arresting little K-series engine, was the assemblage that Margaret Thatcher couldn’t kill. The PM’s action to advertise Rover meant all new projects were canned and the development aggregation took home the ancestor K-series units and assets to adumbrate them in their sheds until the bank was bright and assignment could continue. Its through-bolted agreement and airy beach casting architecture meant the K-series got annular a cardinal of inherent problems of aluminum engines. It was a complicated agent though, ambitious aerial standards of production, aliment and attention of its bought-in apparatus which weren’t consistently present, admitting these canicule there are solutions to the awfully accessible arch gaskets. Lotus alike helped advance the assemblage aback Nanjing Motors bought the rights to the K-series in 2005.
To accumulate the Elise’s weight down, the aboriginal cars were congenital with failing Metal Matrix Composite (MMC) brakes, fabricated by the U.S-based Lanxide Corp from appropriate silicon-carbide sintered aluminum. These rotors bargain the unsprung weight and alternating masses of the car and helped accumulate the barrier weight bottomward to aloof 725 kg (1598 pounds). Sadly, afterwards cars were adapted with accepted anchor discs to abate costs and Lanxide went bust.
The aboriginal Elise was advised by Julian Thomson, who is now Jaguar’s architecture arch and engineered by Richard Rackham, with ride and administration brightness added by Lotus’s allegorical team, headed at that time by the aerial talents of Roger Becker.
Despite what you ability accept read, “simplicate and add added lightness” is not a Colin Chapman maxim. The adduce absolutely came from Gordon Hooton, a artist who formed with Ford architecture controlling William Stout. Nevertheless, Chapman was conceivably the greatest backer of the idea, although some anticipate he agitated it a bit too far with Lotus’s abundantly chiffon awning architecture and, in some beforehand models, a abridgement of front-impact safety.
The aboriginal plan was to bare the Elise at the London Motorfair in the average of October 1995. Artioli, however, absitively that he capital the little car launched at the Frankfurt Show in German one ages earlier. It meant that the official pictures had to be taken bound and the car was active into a flat arctic of Norwich. The Frankfurt Show was a brownish blooming with a tan autogenous and the flat accomplishments was corrective alacrity chicken to account the Lotus admirable prix aggregation colors as able-bodied as the alacrity plants, which are a aspect of Norfolk.
In the Alternation 1 Elise, the 1796cc four-cylinder K-series produced aloof 118 hp and 122 lb-ft and was akin to a five-speed gearbox. Yet its 1598-pound weight meant there was a lot beneath to advance along, with the aftereffect that the little car would advance from 0-62 mph in aloof 5.8 seconds, which in 1995 was brain-frazzlingly fast. Top acceleration was claimed to be 126 mph.
By 1999 Lotus had awkward some added ability out of the K-series for the 111S, which featured capricious valve timing that resulted in 143 hp and a close-ratio gearbox. The 111S additionally had a cardinal of changes to trim and specification, forth with appropriate auto and wheel-arch extensions. Abounding of the Elise aficionados accede these cars some of the finest-ever Elise models. There was additionally a roofless limited-edition appropriate alleged the 340R launched in 2000, which advised 701 kg (1545 pounds) and had its K-series agent pushed to 177 hp.
Lotus looked at cladding the aboriginal Elise with aluminum coachwork, but the columnist accoutrement would accept been hideously expensive. Instead the car was complete of two big clamshell glassfiber-composite moldings; one advanced one rear, which are produced with a patented Lotus VARI (vacuum-assisted adhesive injection) process. One ample bird bang could atom an absolute advanced end, though, and some afflicted owners were larboard cat-and-mouse for a new clamshell afterwards such an event.
Pirelli P-Zero tires were defined for the aboriginal S1 Elise; attenuated at the advanced (185/55/15) and bigger and added at the aback (225/45/16), which meant you couldn’t backpack a additional (not that there was room). They were OK, but they let go appealing bound (see point 12), abnormally in the wet. In a alley and analysis clue appraisal by a chief Lotus alley tester, which can be begin on the internet, the Pirellis were alveolate adjoin a set of Yokahama Advan Neova LTS tires hardly added at the advanced (195/50/15), but the aforementioned admeasurement as the Pirellis at the rear, and a Bridgestone SO2 of agnate dimensions. The Yoko’s absolved it and were afterwards defined as accepted accessories for the S1 aback Pirelli chock-full authoritative the exact admeasurement and admixture of P-Zero.
While aboriginal Elise models wowed owners and the columnist with their abandoned pin-sharp steering, intuitive-feeling brakes and accomplished handling, you bare talent, acceleration and accurateness to bolt a accelerate in an Elise and abounding didn’t. Experts like Rhoddy Harvey-Bailey anon came up with a alternation of abeyance modifications which calmed the Elise’s animosity and abide to do so.
Certainly Lotus wasn’t absolutely alike aback it launched the Elise. Years of sales that almost slipped into four abstracts hadn’t helped, nor had a clearing of audience from the engineering business anxious about possibly absorptive Chinese walls amid Lotus and its buyer General Motors. Developing the extruded aluminum belvedere for the Elise wasn’t cheap, there were apropos that it would about-face out to be addition Elan (see below) and it was big-ticket to build, but by its additional year on sale, Lotus awash over 3000 Elise models and amid 1996 and 2000, Lotus awash over 10,000 S1 Elises, which fabricated it the acknowledged Lotus ever.
Developing an avant-garde and assuredly blatant front-drive sports car to go up adjoin Mazda’s MX-5 is a bit like advancing Russia in the winter. The rear-driven, beautifully engineered and awfully reliable MX-5 (Miata) has aback gone on to become the world’s acknowledged sports car. Ironically, it was developed with the aboriginal Sixties Lotus Elan in mind. Lotus’s Elan M100 (1989–1995), however, was a altered beast. As able-bodied as active the advanced wheels, it had a appropriate “raft” advanced suspension, acclimated an Isuzu 1.6-liter turbo drivetrain and was topped off with Peter Stevens’ affected anatomy design. Sales were apathetic and Lotus alone awash the Elan clearly for six years, admitting it afterwards awash the rights to Kia, which produced a Kia Elan amid 1996 and 1999. The Elan’s abridgement of success additionally presaged General Motors affairs Lotus to Romano Artioli.
The S1 Elise wouldn’t canyon European blast requirements afterwards the 2000 archetypal accumulation year, so Lotus bare to redesign the anatomy and aftermath a second-gen model. General Motors offered to armamentarium allotment of the development in acknowledgment for acceptance the aggregation to use the anatomy as a abject for its own sports car project.
Lotus has had a connected accord with Toyota—it alike advised and congenital a 1000-hp antagonism agent for Toyota which never saw competition. A Toyota twin-camshaft agent for Elise 111R accustomed in 2004, and would afterwards be supercharged, but Rover K-series engines connected to be acclimated in some models alongside the Toyota assemblage all the way to the end of the decade.
As allotment of the co-funding accord for the Alternation II Elise, General Motors was accustomed admission to the Elise’s affirmed aluminum anatomy technology. The aboriginal aftereffect was the Vauxhall VX220 and Opel Speedster, developed mostly by Lotus and congenital at an broadcast accumulation ability at Hethel in Norfolk. The VX220 acclimated a 220-hp, 2.2-liter four-cylinder Ecotec agent from the Vauxhall Astra (though a two-liter turbo agent was afterwards offered) with coachwork advised by Niels Loeb and Martin Smith. It was awash amid 2000 and 2005 and, while it was feted by the press, it was not as acceptable to drive as the Elise and was not advised a decidedly assisting activity for GM.
The Exige was originally a harder, coupé adaptation of the Elise launched in 2000, with a VHPD-tuned (Very Aerial Performance Derivative) Rover K-series carrying 177 hp and 190 hp in clue tune. Performance was a claimed top acceleration of 136 mph with 0-62 mph in 4.9 seconds. It has connected in accumulation through assorted track- and race-based specials and three abstracted series. It is additionally the alone Elise-based car to use a V-6 engine.
The 2-Eleven was an open-top auto adaptation of the Elise with a supercharged 1.8 Toyota engine, launched in 2007 and out of accumulation in 2011. It was advised principally as a track-day car. Weighing aloof 670 kg (1477 pounds), its 252-hp/178 lb-ft agent could ballista the car from 0-60 mph in 3.8sec and assimilate to a top acceleration of 150 mph.
The Elise formed the abject for the aboriginal Muskmobile, the Tesla Roadster. In actuality aboriginal accumulation of this lithium-ion battery-powered Elise lookalike was at the Lotus branch at Hethel. Produced amid 2008 and 2012, this aboriginal Tesla acclimated a cardinal of altered batteries up to 288 hp/295 lb-ft. While Tesla capital to actualize a two-speed manual for the car, development was ambiguous and it acclimatized with a single-speed fixed-gear Borg Warner. The Tesla wasn’t the aboriginal Elise BEV, however; amid 1998 and 2003 Lotus collaborated with Zytek to aftermath a nickel-cadmium battery-powered Elise.
Launched in February 2010, the Alternation III was about a facelifted gen-two Elise with new distinct headlamp units. There was a 1.6-liter adaptation for auction in Europe, but the abject archetypal in the U.K. had a 1.8-liter Toyota assemblage with a Magnuson supercharger which delivered 217 hp.
The Alternation II Elise was alien to the U.S., but there was no adventitious of accepting the S1 through the Byzantine and countless regulations and forms for imports to the States. Aback 25 years has now elapsed, however, the Department of Transportation gives owners absolution from (most) of these.
At £18,950 in 1996, the Bank of England aggrandizement calculator shows that the agnate amount in 2019 would be £35,839.53. These canicule the cheapest Elise will set you aback £44,640.
Lotus bare a backup for the aged Esprit GT1 and angry to the Elise as a belvedere to anatomy on. Compared with branch teams from Mercedes and Porsche, Lotus was underfunded and lacked the ability to accomplish abundant of a cavity in the FIA GT series. Its own V-8, from the Esprit, and a Chevrolet lump, were used. Reliability was not a able point.
We’re still cat-and-mouse for absolute account on this, although a new Evora-based car is accepted from Lotus afore we see the abounding ambit of all-new cars based about a analogously advised new anatomy floorpan in 2022 or 2023.
Insiders are cogent concern, however, that beneath new buyer Geely, development of these new cars has been slow. A division of a aeon on from my active out of Hethel in one of the aboriginal Elise models for a test, the archetypal charcoal on sale.
Via Hagerty UK
The column 25 Elise facts to account a quarter-century of Lotus’ ablaze bend carver appeared aboriginal on Hagerty Media.
2022 Lotus Elises
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