Good condition second-hand Lotuses can be had from just £12k; our list considers everything up to £22k
18 June 2016

Lotus has stayed true to its longstanding Colin Chapman formula for building lightweight, driver-focused sports cars, earning itself a reputation for creating some of the best handling cars in the world.

We examine some of the car maker's finest products of yesteryear below.

1. Lotus Elise Series 1 (1996)

The original and lightest of all Elises. Exclusively powered by K-series Rover engines that were susceptible to head gasket failure, so make sure it’s been changed.

Many have been used on track, too, so look for signs of poorly repaired crash damage and avoid all such cars.

See Lotus Elise for sale on PistonHeads

Pay from £12,000.

Lotus Elise: how much has changed in 20 years?

2. Elise 111S (1998)

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • BMW M5 2018 long-term review hero front
    17 August 2018
    First Drive
    We rate the new F90 generation M5 as best in class. Will we think the same...
  • Volkswagen Touareg 2018 road test review hero front
    17 August 2018
    Car review
    The new version of the big 4x4 is now Volkswagen’s flagship model. Is the...
  • Honda Civic Type R
    16 August 2018
    First Drive
    It’s a warm welcome to this steaming hot hatch. But is it too fiery for...

Featuring a hot engine (with variable valve timing to raise output from 118bhp to 143bhp) and a close-ratio gearbox, this was the best of the early Elises, but rarity is pushing prices up today.

Still, we’d back a nice, original 111S to be one of the best long-term bets for those looking for a return on investment.

Pay from around £17,000.

3. Exige (2000)

Literally a road-going racing car, a hard-topped Elise derived from its single-marque race series cars.

Featured the 178bhp VHPD (‘very high performance derivative’) engine from the 340R, with track-tuned suspension and a very noisy interior. Rare, so residually strong.

Pay from £25,000.

4. Elise Series 2 111R (2004)

A new-generation, Series 2 model with increased weight and better crash protection was launched in 2000, but just as significant was the deletion of the long-serving K-series in favour of a 189bhp Toyota motor with its accompanying six-speed gearbox.

Pay from £16,000.

5. Elise SC (2008)

The SC heralded a major performance hike thanks to the fitment of a nonintercooled supercharger, raising power to 217bhp and releasing a flood of mid-range torque.

Extraordinarily easy to drive fast yet with sub-4.5sec 0-60mph potential.

Prices start at around £22,000.

Lotus Elise: how much has changed in 20 years?

Join the debate

Comments
2

18 June 2016
Lotus Eclat. JPS version.

www.KOOOLcr.com

 

20 June 2016
the convention is to ignore everything Lotus unless it is in some way an Elise.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • BMW M5 2018 long-term review hero front
    17 August 2018
    First Drive
    We rate the new F90 generation M5 as best in class. Will we think the same...
  • Volkswagen Touareg 2018 road test review hero front
    17 August 2018
    Car review
    The new version of the big 4x4 is now Volkswagen’s flagship model. Is the...
  • Honda Civic Type R
    16 August 2018
    First Drive
    It’s a warm welcome to this steaming hot hatch. But is it too fiery for...