Hot Elise : Lotus Elise 111R
Sat, 02/06/2010 - 02:19 — admin
Lotus the UK sports car specialist releases its latest creation, the diminutive Elise 111R but in many ways it’s a giant killer, we drive one to see just how deadly.
The guiding philosophy at Lotus is simple. Keep sports cars lightweight as possible. Its founder the late Colin Chapman, had devoted his life to racing, not unlike the late Enzo Ferrari. However Chapman was extreme in his belief that the race car should be as light and strong as is necessary and no more in order to complete the race and then fall apart.
Lotus is a pioneer in the use of extruded aluminium parts for the entire chassis of the Elise which is named after the grand-daughter of Lotus’ then chairman Romano Artioli. Space frame construction may have been the trademark of Lotuses but this is not a conventional space frame by a long shot.
The Elise uses hydro-formed extrusion aluminium alloy parts that are bonded together by epoxy. It sounds worrying but this bonding technology has been around a long time and so far has been as reliable as traditional welding techniques evidenced by the numerous examples of the first generation Elise still running around.
Eager to tap into the lucrative US market, Lotus had to buy a US emissions certified engine or develop a new one but would end up being too expensive. Toyota is a company that Lotus has had good relations with over the years and so happens to have a US certified engine that they were willing to licence to Lotus.
The Toyota engine is a blessing for the Elise because not only is it clean, powerful and refined, it also comes with a slick six-speed gearbox. Enthusiasts have been waiting a long time for such a breakthrough as the old Rover engine did not really make the grade for a miniature super car.
Truth is the whole experience is very mechanical from all the sounds and vibrations to the feeling that you are sitting in an engine bay with a shrink-wrapped Ferrari-like body around you. Thanks to this intimacy, as the Elise moves and darts around without any pause, lends the impression that you are as one with it.
This is as pure a driving experience as one is going to get but with one luxury concession. It has new servo assisted brakes with ABS as that would be a prerequisite for entering the US market. Not withstanding the Elise easily manages to keep up with far more exotic and powerful machinery on demanding roads and even on the race track thanks to its very favourable power to weight ratio and nimble handling.
This sort of handling has a price paid in terms of ride comfort. While enthusiasts think the ride of the Elise is fine, it is in reality on the firm side but that is a small penalty to pay considering what pleasures it offers in return.
Engine: 1796cc, 4-cylinder in-line, Twin-Cam, 16-valves, Variable Valve Timing . Max Power: 189 bhp @ 7800 rpm. Max Torque: 282 Nm @ 6500 rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual gearbox, Mid-engine configuration, rear drive.
Steering: Unassisted rack and pinion system
Brakes: f: Ventilated discs. r: Solid discs
Suspension: Double wishbone all round
Acceleration: 0-100 km/h in 5.2 seconds
Top Speed: 241 km/h
Fuel Consumption: Combined mode: 8.8 L/100 km
Standard Equipment: Air-conditioning, Stereo, ABS, bucket seats, alloy wheels
Price: $238,000 with COE, 1-year warranty.