Lotus Elise & Lotus Exige

Although we'll service any Lotus and sell most types, we specialise in Lotus Elise and Exige.

To learn more about our workshop and fixed price Lotus Elise and Exige servicing click here

To view our stock of used Lotus Elises and used Lotus Exige click here

The Lotus Elise was first launched in 1996 and is arguably the best Lotus ever produced. In all variants - there are many - it's fast, light, agile and handles superbly. The Elise is also practical (well sort of) and reliable - not something that was always said about earlier models of Lotus cars!

Many different versions of the Lotus Elise have been produced and it can get rather confusing. Some are little more than styling exercises, whereas others offer real differences. What follows are brief notes and comments on the main models.

To start with there's the Lotus Elise Series 1 and Series 2...

Series 1 Lotus Elise & Exige

Produced from 1996 to 2000, all Lotus Elise series 1 cars have the Rover K series engine. In the standard version this produces 118bhp and although not huge amounts of horse-power, the very light weight of the car (725kg) means performance is excellent with 0 - 60mph being possible in 5.6 seconds.

For those craving extra power, which the superb chassis is well able to handle, the following derivatives are available:

Sport 135 - an extra 17bhp takes the power to 135bhp, and there's stiffer suspension and a close ratio gearbox

111S - the most popular of the uprated Lotus Elises, this has the 'VVC' head offering variable valve timing, better breathing at high revs and 143bhp. There's also a close ratio gearbox, revised springs and dampers and fatter rear tyres.

Sport 160 - considered by many to be the best Series 1 Lotus Elise, the engine puts out 158bhp and there's uprated suspension, close ratio gearbox and a taller rear wing.

340R - the most radical Lotus Elise derivative of them all. No roof, no doors, cycle wings and minimal bodyshell. A weight of only 675kg and a 177bhp (or optional 190bhp) engine provides stunning performance (0 - 60mph in 4.6 seconds).

Lotus Exige - a fixed head car, designed for the track but still very at home on the road, and available with either a 177bhp engine or the 190bhp VHPD (very high performance derivative) engine. Front splitter and raised rear wing create significant extra downforce to allow this variant to corner harder and faster than any other Lotus. 

Series 2 Lotus Elise - Rover engine

Launched in 2000 the Series 2 Lotus Elise has restyled body interior and hood, lower sills to allow easier access, revised suspension for even better handling, better brakes and an extensive list of other changes.

The standard Lotus Elise comes with basically the same K series engine as in the Lotus Elise Series 1, albeit with a slightly different ECU. A little while after the launch of the Series 2 Lotus Elise, a 111S version was introduced, once again employing the VVC engine and this time producing 156bhp.

Two option packs are available on these Lotus cars, Sports Touring and Race Tech. Both feature cross-drilled brakes, different wheels, metallic paint and a number of other internal and external styling features. The Race Tech version uses Alcantara for interior trim items, whilst the Sports Touring version uses leather and also had a carpet set.

Lotus never produced a Series 2 Exige with a Rover engine, but instead waited until they brought in the Toyota engine

Series 2 Lotus Elise and Exige - Toyota engine

In 2004, Lotus started to introduce the 1.8 litre Toyota engine.  This is available in 2 formats 2ZZ and 1ZZ.  The 2ZZ engine is used in the 111R and Lotus Exige and can be normally aspirated or supercharged and produces between 189bhp and 260 bhp depending on model and specification.   The 1ZZ engine is used in the 'entry level' Lotus Elise S.

Initial key models of the Toyota engined S2 Lotus Elise are:

111R - this Elise uses a 1.8 litre Toyota 2ZZ engine with a 6 speed gearbox. Power is a useful 189bhp and gives a 0 - 60 mph time of 4.9 seconds. There's also revised suspension and track-tuned ABS brakes with servo assist.

Lotus Exige & Lotus Exige S - both of these employ the 1.8 litre Toyota engine as used in the 111R. In the Lotus Exige S however, the engine is supercharged, making it good for 218bhp and a 0 - 60 mph of just over 4 seconds. Body changes compared to the 111R include re-styled front and rear clamshells, fixed roof and strut mounted rear aerofoil.

Lotus Elise S - rather confusingly named, this Elise, unlike the Exige S, is not supercharged.  It instead uses the normally aspirated Toyota 1ZZ engine which produces 134bhp and is married to a 5-speed gearbox.  This model was introduced in 2006 and became the entry level Elise.

There are too many variants of the Elise and Exige to be covered off here.  If you'd like to learn more however, then the rather good SELOC website has lots of detail, please click on SELOC Elise model history