DRIVEN / #Lotus-Elise-20th-Anniversary-special-edition
/ Words and photos by Lester Dizon / #Lotus-Elise
Vehicle type Mid-engine, RWD, 2-passenger, 2-door sports car
Engine type Liquid-cooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4
Displacement : 1800cc
Power 217hp @ 6800rpm
Torque 250Nm @ 4600rpm
Transmission 6-speed manual
Curb weight 914kg
Wheels and tires 16” front 17” rear lightweight cast alloys 175/55ZR16 front 225/45ZR17 rear
Lotus Cars Manila Blk. 15, 32nd St., cor. Rizal Drive, Crescent Park West, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
City, Philippines 1634 Tel. No.: (+632) 860-8888
E-mail: [email protected]
It is written in Greek mythology that eating a lotus, which is considered narcotic, will cause people to sleep in peaceful apathy and live carelessly as if time slows down just for them. If eating a lotus makes one immune to the worries of the world, will driving a Lotus make one immune to the worries on the road?
This philosophical question was buzzing in my head as I got into the new Lotus Elise 20th Anniversary Special Edition for a short fun drive around the Clark International Speedway. Getting into the Elise is a test of one’s agility and level of fitness but, after contorting my body into the tight cabin, the interior provides a safe cozy cocoon to attack the curves.
The mid-engine Elise debuted in the 1995 Frankfurt Motor Show debut and the yellow 1.8-litre supercharged model celebrates the 20 years of the model’s existence and replaces the Elise S Club Racer in the Lotus model line-up. Fitted with the same four-cylinder engine as the Elise S, the 20th Anniversary model produces 217 horsepower and 250 Newton-meters of torque as the Elise S. Fitted with a close ratio six-speed manual gearbox, this Elise only takes 4.6 second to go from zero to 100 km/h (0-62MPH) and it can reach a top speed of 232 km/h.
Around the Clark speedway, the Elise is a well-balanced, lightweight track car that has an almost 50-50 weight distribution, which places its center-of-gravity in the middle of the car. Turn into a tight corner with a bit too much speed and you will feel the car’s equilibrium swing around the driver’s seat as the four tire contact patches try to maintain their grip on the road surface. Lotus shredded 10 kilograms from the Elise S’s 924kg weight by fitting lighter forged alloy wheels, center console and leather sports seats, and these help it fight the laws of physics.
Moreover, its track-focused suspension settings and new sport mode that alters the car’s mapping to improve throttle response and slacken the traction control, which helps restore control in situations like these. The Lotus was saved from veering off the track and cutting into the grass, and it made mere mortals like me drive like racing demigods. Our time around the entire circuit was decisively quick but the time inside the Elise seemed to have distinctively slowed down like I was in a controlled trance.
The test Elise 20th Anniversary Special Edition I drove came with a matte black rear diffuser, wing mirrors, roll loop, and rear transom that contrasted the bright yellow paint. According to the factory, fuel mileage is estimated at around 20 kilometers per liter in combined city and highway driving while emission is low at only 173g/km of CO2. Of course, driving a low Lotus in the grueling Metro Manila traffic is not for the faint hearted.
Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus PLC, was quoted as proudly saying, “Over the years, we have improved and refined the Elise, but we have also ensured that we have retained the purity of the driving experience. The Elise remains as the sports car to which other brands aspire.” His bold statement is based on the fact that over 32,000 Elise models have been sold in the past 20 years.
Lotus, the car company, has been through some tough times during the last two decades, yet it has managed to build some of the best sports cars that money can buy. Perhaps eating a narcotic lotus and making time slow down so you can live a carefree life is not such a bad thing after all.
“Over the years, we have improved and refined the Elise, but we have also ensured that we have retained the purity of the driving experience. the Elise remains as the sports car to which other brands aspire." – Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus PLC