According to insiders from Lotus, the Toyota engine was selected for many reasons. Lotus has a good relationship with Toyota, the motor is high-tech, compact, lightweight, has good power density, is reliable, and mates well with the platform of the Elise (key factors to keeping with the Lotus design philosophy). And while Lotus won't publicly confirm this, practically every enthusiast already knows that the aftermarket performance enhancement possibilities for this engine could be extensive. The thought of a sub 2000lb vehicle with more than 200hp is enough to make this writer's mouth water.
The top speed is quoted by Lotus as being in excess of 140 mph. No official 0-60mph time has yet been published, but Roadfly has been assured it will be "under 5 seconds." Exactly how much under will continue to remain a mystery until samples of the Federal Elise are available for testing.
Although the official gear ratios have not yet been released by Lotus, Roadfly believes they will be as follows:
1st gear 3.17:1
2nd gear 2.05:1
3rd gear 1.48:1
4th gear 1.17:1
5th gear 0.92:1
6th gear 0.82:1
Final drive 4.53:1
As mentioned earlier, we have been promised that the car will weigh less than 2000 lbs, despite having to meet certain legislative requirements in the U.S. with which the European model is not saddled. This will make the Elise one of the lightest, street-legal cars imported and available in the U.S.
In addition, the Elise will come with Lotus' world-famous attention
to corner-gobbling handling. From its very beginnings in racing, Lotus has
concentrated on its handling capabilities and not just on straight-line
performance. This is one of the major reasons for Lotus' history of racing
victories. In tests of the European Elise, it has out-handled
everything this side of a Ferrari costing five times as much, besting the
best the world has to offer. The U.S. Elise will be primed to meet or exceed
Does all of this make you crave (read: "need"), an Elise? Better start calling your Lotus dealer now. Even with the first deliveries still some 9 months away (as a 2005 model), many dealers already have waiting lists that far exceed expected first year production. However, Lotus Cars U.S.A. is working with its dealer network to expand and to ensure that the highest level of sales and service support are available throughout the country.
Keep an eye on Roadfly for the latest on the U.S. Elise and for an in-depth test drive report as soon as press cars are available. Until then, sharpen the knives, put out the best table linens and prepare for a performance-feast like no other. The Elise is finally coming to dinner and is sure to leave even the hungriest enthusiast feeling fulfilled.
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