The Lotus Elise was a sensation in Europe long before it came to America, but now that we have it, it is rightly regarded as a screaming performance deal.
Lotus continues to evolve the car and the 2008 Elise is no different. Three models are available--the base Elise, Elise California Edition, and Elise SC--and all have a lightweight composite fiberglass body. Ardent Red and British Racing Green are standard colors on the base and SC.
All cars utilize an epoxy-bonded aluminum chassis and feature a mid-mounted Toyota-sourced 1.8L I4 with dual overhead cams and variable valve timing, which drives the rear wheels through a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission. In the base and California cars, output is rated at 189 horsepower at a buzzy 7,800 rpm, with maximum torque of 133 lb-ft at 6,800 rpm. The supercharged Elise SC makes use of an Eaton-style blower and produces 218 horsepower at 8,000 rpm, with 156 lb-ft coming at 5,000 rpm.
Standard Elise and California cars will reach 60 mph in 4.9 seconds, with a 150 mph top speed, while the SC hits 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds on its way to 150 mph.
Suspension across the range is fully independent, with gas dampers, coaxial coil springs, and a front sway bar. Four-wheel vented disc brakes with ABS are standard. All three cars come with their own unique alloy wheels, and each rides on sticky 16-inch front and 17-inch rear Yokohama tires.
On the outside, the Elise has a sharp-edged, aggressive look with deep, sculpted air intakes and an aerodynamic rear diffuser with twin central-mount exhausts. The base and SC feature a removable soft top, while the California adds a removable body-colored hard top. Also unique to the California are special colors--Saffron Yellow and Ardent Red--as well as a bright grille and body-colored side air inlets.
Inside, the Elise gains a few creature comforts, but still remains relatively Spartan. In the base and SC cars, black cloth sport seats are standard, as is air conditioning, a leather-trimmed Momo steering wheel, and an Alpine four-speaker CD stereo. The California adds two-tone leather sport seats, a leather-trimmed center console, a cup holder, a dealer-installed special shift knob, extended carpets, and an upgraded Alpine stereo with iPod connectivity.
Option packages for the base and SC Elise include a Touring Package, which adds the amenities of the California interior, plus a sound-insulated soft top. A Sport Package adds special alloy wheels, an even sportier Lotus-tuned suspension, twin oil coolers, and traction control, while about 20 pounds are stripped from the car's overall 1,984 pound curb weight. Standalone options include the removable body color hard top, traction control, limited-slip differential, various exclusive paints, and a protective exterior film called Starshield. No optional equipment is available for the California.
For 2008, the popular Lotus Elise gets a variety of changes, both minor and major. Small changes include a new high-definition LCD message panel, new warning lights, a tire pressure monitoring system, and an alarm/immobilizer system. Super Touring and Super Sport Packages have been dropped.
Two new variants are now available. The California Edition is a standard Elise with special exterior and interior package upgrades. These include special brightwork and air intakes, a larger rear spoiler, unique alloy wheels, two-tone leather, removable hard top, Alpine stereo, and two distinct colors--Saffron Yellow and Ardent Red. Only 25 of each will be built at a cost of $51,770.
The biggest change for the 2008 Lotus Elise is the introduction of the supercharged Elise SC, which boasts 218 horsepower, up 29 horsepower from a standard Elise. It will reach 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds. The SC features a wraparound rear spoiler for better stability at high speeds and distinct alloy wheels. The Elise SC costs $54,500.
New standard colors for 2008 include Persian Blue, Liquid Blue, Isotope Green, Candy Red, Ice White, Burnt Orange, Prism Green, and Moonstone Silver. Seven colors from 2007 have been dropped. The new colors add between $500 and $5,100 to the base price of an Elise.
Precision handling at any speed; explosive performance; razor-sharp styling; reliability from Toyota-sourced 1.8L engine; new supercharged version; good fuel economy; exclusivity.
For a raw, barebones roadster experience, the 2008 Lotus Elise is in a class of its own. The car's light weight, optimal balance, high-revving 1.8L engine, and fantastic suspension make it a capable rocket on either road or track, able to keep up with cars costing twice as much. And with fuel economy of 21 mpg city / 27 mpg highway, it's a unique commuter, too, if a bit harsh.
Vehicle Price: 47,195.00
*Estimated payments are for informational purposes only and don't account for acquisition fees, destination charges, tax, title, and other fees and incentives or represent a financing offer or guarantee of credit from the seller.
Equipment that may affect values (standard equipment is pre-selected):
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