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Lotus Elise Options

First of all Lotus have raised the price of the standard Elise (from 1st September 1998) by £750, which brings it to £22,630 including VAT. It's still a bargain, but bear in mind that with all the options it's going to cost over £26,000! The standard car comes with immobiliser, tinted glass, and alloy wheels. There is also a which is a must have, and is available from all dealers.


This is now an option (as of July 2000) on the standard Elise. It is not available on the 111S due to the physical space required to fit it. Cost is about £1300.

Driving Lamps

£225 is quite steep for two lights but, on some colour cars, e.g. new aluminium they are a must. The car doesn't quite look right without them. For this reason resale prices are affected if they are not present. The driving lamps are also prone to stone damage and are about £85 to replace. I've covered protection for these in the accessories section. They come on automatically when switching to full beam lights. These can be retro-fitted at a later date and the parts required are detailed in the official service notes. It does not require the removal of the front clamshell as stated in the service manual, they can be changed by removing the grill. Richard DavisRemote site has published full instructions on how to do this on his web site.


If you buy one option for your new Elise then make sure this is it. The hard top transforms the car into an all weather coupe which can be used all year round in the UK. Look at it this way, for another £1250 you get a second car, an Elise coupe.

The hardtop can be ordered with the car or bought at a later date. If ordered with the car it can be body coloured. If bought later it can only be gloss black. Lotus have dropped the bare primer option which was about £300 cheaper, though companies like still advertise it on their web sites. There are other companies producing their own hardtops but the Lotus is by far the best one. My view is that it looks the business and much better than the soft top.

Fitting the hardtop involves removing the roll bar cover. It is attached to the screen header rail and the roll bar cover clips. It does not use the rear holes used by the soft top. It is too big to carry in the car and weighs 10.5kg. The hardtop also requires changes to seals and fitting clips if you have an older Elise. Similarly, the soft top will also be different.

It requires some careful adjustment to fit correctly and some work is required to correctly align with the windows, which is best done on the production line. The Lotus 'Original Performance Products' catalogue includes a wall mounting, protective storage bag for £165.95+VAT but I'm making my own to save a lot of money. The hardtop affects the handling of the Elise at high speed. It provides some added lift at the rear of the car and makes the Elise more prone to cross winds.

Bell & Colvill also sell a carbon fibre hardtop in black for about £1500.

Leather Seats

The leather seat option is £585 and you have a choice of colours. There is only one cloth colour, a dark grey check (also used as lining in the hardtop) and it does not work with all car colours (picture of cloth seats). The cloth seats have slightly more padding and are more comfortable because of it. In leather trim you can have magnolia, fawn, blue, black, or red. One thing to bear in mind is that you can get any pair of seats upholstered in good quality leather for less money. More details can be found in the accessories section.

Metallic Paint

The metallic paint option costs £690. The best place to see the various colours is the Lotus CarsRemote site web site. The Elise Sport is available in Lime Green. Lotus will paint your Elise in any colour you want for £1600 so long as the colour is from the Dupont Chromax paint range. I've gone for 'new aluminium' which I think shows of the cars curves and features best. Since all colours have a grey primer it's also the best colour at hiding stone chips.

Soft Top

The soft top is not an option but the colour is. It is now available in one material only but several colours. It is notoriously difficult to fit and takes practice to fit it in less than 5 minutes. An online guideRemote site explains the process. It is also prone to leaking along the leading edge, but curiously (and usually) only when stationary. Since the hard top was launched, a new design soft top has been shipped as standard with all new cars and it is less prone to leaking.

Radio Fitting Kit

See the ICE section. You can fit the parts yourself at a later date but it will cost you much more.

Wider Rear Tyres

This is no longer an option on the standard Elise but they do come as standard on the 111S. See the wheels and tyres sections for more details.

Headlight Covers

Initially, there were problems with these steaming up and so Lotus dropped them as an option on the standard car. See the accessories section for more details. I've also included some instructions on how to fit them int the DIY section.


As standard the Elise comes with a Lucas 5AS immobiliser. Elise's up to chassis number 1947 had the option of a Cobra Goldline 6019HF system and cars beyond this have an option of the Cobra 6422 system. This latter device is Thatcham category 1 approved. This must be considered an essential purchase.

Tests in What Car? magazine (September '98) have shown the Elise door locks to be easily defeated by a professional thief (it took 2 seconds!), which will then grant access to the boot since the boot release is hidden on the same panel as door catch.

Thatcham is a common name for the Motor Insurance Repair Research CentreRemote site and it rates alarm and immobiliser systems according to tests performed at this facility. Insurers use these ratings as a basis for determining the risk and hence the premium charged to insure a vehicle.

You can get spare/additional remotes for your alarm from Alarm RemotesRemote site on-line.

Metal Matrix Composite Disks

These are not an option really, but I've mentioned them here because Lotus have dropped them from the current Elise. See the brakes section for more details.
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Copyright © Rob Collingridge 2009 - Last updated 28 Mar 2002