“Small package - Big Fun”
The Lotus Elise is as pure a sportscar as it can be. It’s basically a large go-kart with body work, so to speak. It has very thin seat padding, no air condition, no carpet, no power windows, no power seats, basically it has absolutely no creature comfort equipment for the sake of weight saving. I don’t think many people could use this as a daily commute vehicle, especially getting in and out of the car requires high levels of gymnastic skills.
The Lotus is a purpose-built driver’s car. Although the motor is a Rover sourced unit that produces modest power, but coupled with mid-engine layout, well-sorted suspension settings and ultra-lightweight, this is a very formidable tool for weekend spirited driving. It can generate big big smile.
Climb in (literally), strap yourself up and turn the key, the engine roars to life. With no sound deadening, the interior of the car is very noisy. The interior is very spartan, literally, there is only the steering wheel, shifter, pedals and seats. But isn’t it all we drivers needed?
Off we go, acceleration is brisk, the motor is well suited to the chassis and very easy to exploit. The steering is quite heavy and requires strong arms to wrestle it through the twisties. After about 15 mins or so, my arms were getting tired. The brakes were adequate but the pedal felt like a block of wood, not much feel which didn’t inspire confidence. However, this is an “momentum” car, so you tend to use as little brakes as possible to retain speed. Handling is perfect, you can easily drive 9/10 and still feel at ease. The suspension allows a good margin for error so one could easily explore the limit of this car safely. It is one of those few cars that don’t really need “traction aids”.
So if you are in the market for a fun little no-frill car. The Lotus Elise 111S should fit all the bills.