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Lotus Elise Diary - April 2006

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5th June

Lotus have launched a 'new' basic entry level 'Elise S' and rather good value it looks too. The dropping of the K-series engine has created a gap at the low end of the Elise range. It has a 1.8-litre VVT-i Toyota engine which is down tuned to deliver 134bhp. With a top speed of 128mph, 127lb-ft of torque at 4,200rpm and 0-60mph in 5.8 seconds the performance is very similar to the original standard Elise. I hate the name though, it is very confusing given the previous models.

For comparison the current Elise R does 0-60mph in 5.2 seconds, 147mph top speed and delivers 192bhp and 133lb-ft. The new Elise S looks very much like the Elise R, the specification is almost the same, as is the options list.

The car weighs in at 860kg (the original Elise was around 730Kg). The weight gain is down to many factors including the AP Racing callipers at the front and Brembo calipers at the rear, linked to 282 mm vented and cross-drilled cast iron discs. It also includes ABS, which Lotus described as "very unobtrusive and most drivers will not even notice that it is there - unless it is needed of course and even then, the system keeps a subtly low profile."

Lotus dropped their signature aluminium pedals and arms and the new ABS system now uses steel pedal arms and the same extruded aluminium pedals. This engine also has an electronic (drive-by-wire) throttle for a more linear engine response.

With the launch of the Elise S, the 111R becomes the Elise R. The Touring Pack is now standard equipment, although you can delete it if you want. The Elise R is features new 8-spoke alloy wheels and raised Lotus lettering on the rear.

The Lotus Elise S costs 23,995 including VAT on the road.

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