One of the most popular Lotus cars is its roadster line Lotus Elise. Named after the company chairman Roman Artioli's granddaughter, Elisa, the Lotus Elise Series 1 was launched in September 1995 featuring its unique aluminium extrusion frame topped with fiberglass body shell. This feature allows a stable platform for suspension, while minimizing the weight and production costs of the Lotus Elise. The result was a high-tech, trendy but affordable sports car, with acceleration, braking, cornering performance and fuel consumption at par with its peers.
In 1999, a more improved version of the Lotus Elise was launched, the 111S. It is a faster version of the Series 1, with a VVC engine, a Rover K-series with a customized head and VVT-type of technology, an improvement from the Rover 1.8 L K-series. From then on, a number of new releases have been made, each with better features.
In the summer of 2004, the 2005 Lotus Elise became the first commercially available Lotus Elise in the United States. But the line's failure to conform to US bumper regulations necessitated a 3-year exemption provided by he National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to secure the approval for the sale of the units. The US market awaited the release with excitement, as the Lotus Elise has been made available everywhere but in the US. US buyers were not disappointed as they found out that this lightweight speeding beauty turned out to be not just a glorified go-kart, but a must-have sports car that comes with stereo, air-conditioning, full leather seat covering, power windows, insulated soft-top, sound-deadening and rich carpet - all for an unbelievably fair low price.
The 2005 release was followed by the 2006 Elise 111R and SportsRacer models. The Lotus Elise 111R is packed with a VVTL-I (Variable Valve Timing and Lift-Intelligent) engine that produces a maximum power of 190 bhp and 133 lb-ft of torque. These great combinations add up to incredible sprints of 60 mph in 4.9 seconds before getting to the 150 mph top speed.