Lotus Elise Series 1
|1996 to 2001|
|Body and chassis|
|Related||Lotus 340R Vauxhall VX220/Opel Speedster Lotus Elise GT1|
|Engine||1.8 L Rover K-series I4|
|Wheelbase||2,300 mm (90.6 in)|
|Length||3,726 mm (146.7 in)|
|Width||1,719 mm (67.7 in)|
|Height||1,202 mm (47.3 in)|
|Kerb weight||725 kg (1,598.4 lb) ~ 755 kg (1,660 lb)|
The 1996 Lotus Elise weighed 725 kg (1,600 lb).Because of its relatively low weight, it was able to accelerate 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 5.8 seconds despite its relatively low power output of 118 bhp (88 kW; 120 PS). Braking, cornering, and fuel consumption are also improved by the car's reduced weight.
Series 1 was designed by Julian Thomson, then head of design at Lotus, and Richard Rackham, Lotus's chief engineer.
Besides the standard higher-performance variants listed below, Lotus also released some limited edition models such as Sport 135 (1998/9) with approx 145 bhp (108 kW; 147 PS), Sport 160 (2000) with 150–160 bhp (112–119 kW; 152–162 PS), and Sport 190 (190 bhp (142 kW; 193 PS)). These were more competent on track with sports suspension, wheels and tyres, seats according to model. There were other special editions such as the 50th Anniversary Edition (green/gold) celebrating 50 years of Lotus cars, the Type 49 ("Gold Leaf" red and white two-tone), and Type 79 ("JPS" black/gold) which refers to its successful Grand Prix car type numbers.
|Options: Equipment included on some trim levels|
A faster edition called the 111S, named after the Lotus type-number of the Elise M111, was introduced in early 1999 and had a VVC Rover K-Series engine with a modified head and VVT technology, producing a declared 143 bhp (107 kW; 145 PS) rather than the standard Rover 1.8 L K-series 118 bhp (88 kW; 120 PS) inline-four unit, along with a closer ratio manual gearbox and lower ratio final drive. It also had more padding in the seats. The 111S had headlamp covers, rear spoiler, cross drilled brake discs, alloy window winders and a six-spoke road wheel design.
|Top Speed||133 mph|
|0-60 mph||5.4 secs|
|Torque||174 Nm, 128 ft-lb|
|CO2 Emissions||174 g/km|
|Euro Emissions Standard||2|
|Miles Per Tank||334 miles|
In 2000, the 340R limited edition model, based on a Series 1 Elise was introduced. This roofless car was a special edition, limited to only 340 cars being built. The name 340 originally referred to the 340 bhp/tonne (254 kW/tonne) power-to-weight ratio of the original prototype which had 177 bhp (132 kW; 179 PS) while weighing just 500 kg (1,100 lb). However in production models the 340 refers to the number of cars built. The final production versions weighed 701 kg (1,550 lb) and had a power-to-weight ratio of (269 bhp/tonne). A "Track Pack" was created that upped power to 192 bhp (143 kW; 195 PS) and weighed only 571 kg (1,260 lb).
In 2000, Lotus introduced the Exige — a hardtop version of the Elise with the 177 bhp (132 kW; 179 PS) engine from the 340R; as well as different front and rear clams, larger wheels, and a rear wing. Many models received an upgrade to 190 bhp (142 kW; 193 PS) with better driveability due to changes to ECU and cam timing.