Lotus Elise review – is the featherweight sports car as good as ever? - Engine and gearbox

The Elise, with exceptional feel and control as well as compliance and ride quality, couldn’t be anything other than a Lotus

Evo rating
Price
from £31,500
  • Sublime involving chassis as well as a compliant ride; rorty four-cylinder engines
  • More powerful, hardcore models are expensive

Engine and gearbox

Despite there being six different models in the Elise range there are only two engines to choose from. The basic Sport and Sprint Elises have a transversely mid-mounted 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine that puts out a maximum of 134bhp at 6800rpm and 118lb ft of torque at 4400rpm.

The rest of the range is catered by a 1.8-litre supercharged four-cylinder, like the 1.6 it’s also a Toyota engine. The extra capacity plus forced induction gives the Sport 220 and Sprint 220 an extra 83bhp with max power of 217bhp at 6800rpm and max torque of 184lb ft at 4600rpm.

The same 1.8 is used in the Cup 250 and Cup 260. Confusingly, it’s the engine in the Cup 260 and not the one in the 250 that puts out 250bhp, that’s complemented with 195lb ft at 5500rpm. The Cup 250’s motor only produces 243bhp at 7200rpm and 184lb ft between 3500 and 5500rpm. All Elises use the same six-speed manual gearbox with a beautiful exposed linkage.

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