With its groundbreaking extruded and bonded aluminium chassis, the Lotus Elise was truly ahead of its time. Designed by Richard Rackham, it was a world-first system, providing a rigid platform for the suspension while minimising weight and production costs. The Elise body was made from fibreglass, and the total car weight was just 725 kg.
Power for the Elise came from Rover’s 1.8-litre 118bhp K-Series engine, mounted transversely behind the twin seats. Combined with the car’s incredibly light weight, this substantial engine could launch the Elise to 100 kph in just 5.5 seconds. Additionally, the low 470mm centre of gravity boosted its cornering abilities and improved overall handling.
‘The acceleration, the zest, the eye-popping ability to change speed and direction, the sheer unbridled sense of motion – these are what make driving the Elise so special and intense.’
CAR magazine 1996