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S2 Bodywork

The S2 bodywork is made from a slightly different type of GRP by SotiraRemote site, a French company. A greater number of smaller panels are made in chromed steel moulds and injection moulded. This allows thinner panels to be produced with localised bonded panels attached later to strengthen particular areas. The use of closed moulds means that the panel shape must be such that it can be extracted once formed, i.e. no re-entrant features. In fact some small re-entrant features exist using sliders within the mould. Both the front and rear clamshells are made from two main pieces which are bonded together at Hethel in special jigs to make a complete clamshell. This new process does not require a gelcoat so gelcracks are a thing of the past.

The doors are little changed form the S1, though they are deeper to accomodate the lower sill (by 40mm). The interior of the door is simpified and the door pull has moved to the top of the door (picture). This is a less elegant but more usable solution, though the execution in black plastic lloks cheap. Expect aftermarket replacement parts for this to appear soon. The door has less exposed paintwork and is less susceptable to scratches from large feet on entry/exit.

The front bonnet on the S1 has been replaced by two separate panels on the S2, each held down with 3 allen-key fixings. These panels are linked into the alarm system and one of them needs to be removed to fill the windscreen washer bottle. The panels existence is down to the designer of the car wanting to carry the bonnet strake over from the S1. To save weight the hinged bonnet was dropped in favour of light-weight fixed panels. These were never intended to be fixed with allen-key bolts. Lotus had identified a supplier of quality, user-friendly fixings but, they went into receivership before production started, leaving few options to hold them down in a secure manner. Both Hanger 111Remote site and Elise SolutionsRemote site now sell ¼-turn fasteners for the S2 front panels.

The Elise S2 has stainless-steel and aluminium fixings throughout to reduce the problems with corrosion, sometimes found on the S1.

The new gull-wing style hardtop was designed to provide a light-weight, stowable hard roof, offering improved access to the car. A rear cover and central T-bar replaces the rool-bar cover and remains fixed to the car with lift-out panels either side. These panels can also be tilted to improve access to the car, hence the term gull-wing. The production hard-top is yet to be shown to customers but expect a number of third-party alternatives to appear now that the fixing points are designed into the car to support alternative solutions. There is not much information about the S2 hardtop and it is not due to appear until about June/July 2001.

The Elise S2 has a Cd of 0.407 and a CdA of 0.651 with the roof on. The Elise is more aerodynamic with the roof on. The front and read lift co-efficients are Clf -0.02 and Clr -0.04 assuming a 130/130mm F/R ride height and roof on. These coefficients need to be multiplied by the appropriate surface area before the downforce in kg can be calculated. These compare well to the equivalent figures for the standard S1 car which are Cd 0.408, CdA 0.653, Clf -0.030 and Clr +0.053. This assumes a standard ride height of 140/140 F/R and the roof on.

Lotus reduced the front downforce and the rear lift on the S2 to achieve almost neutral balance which delivers consistant handling balance at all speeds, while the S1's high front downforce and rear lift contributed greatly to the cars tendancy to oversteer at high speed. It could be argued that reducing downforce is a retrograde step and that leaving the front in S1 configuration and then increasing the rear downforce further to achieve a Clr in the region of -0.3 would generate more lateral rip, but testing showed the drag penalties associated with doing so were unacceptable. The roof of the S2 was lowered to also improve the quality of air flow over the rear of the car and hence make any rear spoiler more efficient. The Elise S1 111S and Sport 160 spoiler efficencies were reduced by the higher roof line.


Alvan EngineeringRemote site in Belgium has developed an aerodynamic package for the Lotus Elise S2. The complete kit consists of a front spoiler, rear wing and rear underside venturi. The kit is 1,900 Euros (+VAT) for the composite fibre kit and 2,800 Euros (+VAT) for the carbon fibre kit. Shipping and all fixings included.

Useful Links

Car Care ClipsRemote site
Paint chip repair guide by Larry Renolds.


Some of this information was originally posted by Nick Adams on the Lotus Life BBS.
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Copyright © Rob Collingridge 2009 - Last updated 09 Jul 2002