What is it?
The fastest Elise ever. It costs £32,550 and offers 217bhp at 8000rpm and 156lb ft of torque at 5000rpm, courtesy of the supercharged 1.8-litre engine.
Kerb weight is a touch over 900kg and apart from a slab of rear spoiler and a bespoke set of alloy wheels, the rears of which are half an inch wider than standard, it looks identical to every other Elise.
What’s it like?
Effortless in its ability to cover ground quickly. This isn’t the same motor as the one used in the Exige - that uses a socking great big supercharger which wouldn’t have fitted in the Elise’s smaller engine bay.
This car uses a Lotus designed installation that does without the intercooler, saving 8kg, allowing it to fit in the weeny engine compartment. The variable valve timing has been altered too, it can now switch between 4000rpm and 6200rpm, depending on throttle position and engine load.
This gives the Elise a fascinating spread of performance. It pulls from idle and feels accelerative from a crawl in the way only truly light machines can. But just as the torque disappears, power takes over and it wangs through to the limiter with appreciable zip and smoothness.
Because the delivery is so progressive, it doesn’t feel as fast as the claimed 4.4sec 0-60mph time, nor perhaps the 10.7sec 0-100mph, but one look at the new speedometer confirms the magnitude of the performance.
Chassis wise, it’s much the same as before. Elise-specific Yokohamas, and the car feels suspended on its dampers rather than its springs. Once a year, everyone interested in the subject of fast cars should drive an Elise over a bumpy road. It floats and compensates where anything else crashes and compromises.
The controls are a joy, and it’s good to see that the engine calibration on this car is far better that the last Exige I drove –where that car suffered an irritating lag, you can roll onto the throttle from the brake pedal and it responds immediately. Likewise the brake pedal that used to have an irritating inch of dead travel at the top has now been fixed.