400th post: Presenting Videos+SUPERTEST: Lotus Elise MK1

This is the 400th post. To CELEBRATE this Occasion,  I’m covering Comprehensive review of Lotus Elise MK1.  The Lotus Elise MK1’s produced from 1997 to 2001 (1998 to 2003 In Malaysia).

The Elise is Quite rare in Malaysia.  As a result, I don’t have a car to test and brag about.  All is NOT LOST, I dished out 3 videos review, 3 links to “Buyer’s Guide”, 1 Supertest by GoAuto Australia, and 4 Owners review sourced from Carsurvey.org.

In Malaysia, presently, there’s 5 units of Lotus Elise MK1 on sale in Mudah.my. 1 1998, 1 1999 and 3 2000 model.  From the 5 units, I worked out
the averaged Used Elise Pricing:


Without further ado, here’s some links to “LOTUS ELISE BUYER”S GUIDE”…

LInk 1: http://www.elises.co.uk/features/buyersguide/index.php

Link 2: http://www.parkers.co.uk/cars/reviews/lotus/elise-1996.aspx

Link 3: ELISE FAQ:

NEXT: Videos featuring LOTUS Elise MK1:
Video 1: FIFTH GEAR(?): Lotus Elise MK1

Video 2: Top Gear Best Handling Car In The World Part 1 of 2

Video 3: Top Gear Best Handling Car In The World Part 2 of 2

Followed by “SUPERTEST” by GoAuto Australia.  ENJOY:


1997 Lotus Elise convertible Car Review

IT’S big on price and short on equipment levels, but when it comes to
speed, handling and looks, the super-light Lotus goes off the scales.

Its lightness of being and a gutsy Rover engine provide the motivation
while the steering, brakes and handling will flatter the most ham-fisted

Such a shame it is beyond the budget of many sporty drivers.

Model release dates: January 1997 – June 2000

The Car

1997 Lotus Elise convertible | GoAuto - something
STUNNING. Distinctive. Small. Spartan. What else can we say about the
Elise? It’s the work of Julian Thomson, who clearly had a wonderful time
styling the car. The heavily sculpted “clamshell” body is made from lightweight
glass-fibre composite materials and designed to provide a minimum of
aerodynamic drag and maximum of interest from anyone who sees it.

Did you know?Brit Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman (1928-1982) founded lotus in 1955.
THE ACBC monogram is incorporated into the Lotus badge.

The Car – Seat Plan

1997 Lotus Elise convertible | GoAuto - something
THE driver’s seat is nearer the vehicle’s centre-line than the passenger seat,
which itself is fixed in the rearmost position. The aluminium chassis is left
exposed along the floor, under the dash and along the sides of the car. A
number of small trays and pockets are provided for odds and ends, plus a
document net behind the front seats. Getting into the cockpit requires hurdling
over the high sill – best to climb in feet-first.

Did you know?

Some of the significant Lotus moments were the launch of the Lotus Seven
in 1957, the Type 19 (aka Monte Carlo) in 1960, Elan in 1962, Elite in 1974,
and Esprit and Eclat in ’75.

The Car – Seats

1997 Lotus Elise convertible | GoAuto - something

THE design of the seats was altered for the 2000 model year to provide
greater comfort, without compromising “seat of the pants” chassis feedback
to the driver. The traditional Lotus “pump-up” lumbar support for the driver’s
seat has been retained. High seatbacks are used in preference to adjustable
headrests. Leather trim is available as an option. The passenger’s seat does
not slide fore/aft.

The Car – Dash

1997 Lotus Elise convertible | GoAuto - something
A spartan dash with a Stack racing car instrument layout offers large dials
for road and engine speed. All other information is delivered by a multi-
function LCD readout. A cigarette lighter can be found, but there is no
ashtray, nor is there a radio in the base model’s standard equipment.

The Car – Controls

1997 Lotus Elise convertible | GoAuto - something
THE indicator and wiper stalks are borrowed from GM cars such as the
Barina, while the windows and mirrors are DIY jobs. A row of five buttons
to the right of the steering wheel – sourced from Peugeots of a bygone era –
controls the lights.

Did you know?

The top-shelf Elise is the $140,000-plus limited edition (340 worldwide)
340R racecar, which has a revised gearbox, suspension and brakes.

The Car – Wheels/tyres

 1997 Lotus Elise convertible | GoAuto - something
THE mid-engined Elise has a 39/61 per cent front to rear weight distribution
and as a result rides on 5.5×16 185/55R15 front wheels and tyres, and 7Jx16
205/50R16s at the rear. There’s no room for a spare, just a tyre-inflating
aerosol can.

Did you know?

Lotus cars are built at Hethel in Norfolk, near Norwich

The Car – Luggage

The 2000 model year brought an improvement to the Elise’s cargo carrying
ability, dispensing with the boot bag? A fully lined boot now uses the full area
behind the engine which is no Falcon or Commodore cargo space, but perfectly
acceptable for a couple of overnight bags

A piece of insulation underneath the boot carpet has also been added to shield the boot from exhaust heat.  A further benefit of the larger boot is that the roof bows, previously stored behind the seats, can now be stored in the boot. There are two velcro clamps at the top of the engine bulkhead, which allow the roof bows to be easily stored.

The cloth hood and frame stow neatly behind the seats

The Car – Climate control

1997 Lotus Elise convertible | GoAuto - something
TO own an Elise means sacrifices must be made, and air-conditioning –
unavailable even as an option – is one of them. A minimum of heating/
temperature controls are provided – a fan knob and a control for heat and
air distribution.

The Car – Security

  1997 Lotus Elise convertible | GoAuto - something

SECURITY is provided for with the inclusion of an engine immobiliser
– and that’s about it.

Did you know?

A new generation Elise was due to go on sale in late 2001.

Our opinion

  Lotus Elise convertible Rear shot

Light, sexy looks, clever use of advanced build system.
Room for improvement Tricky to enter, unexciting engine note, hilarious weather protection.

Our Opinion – Other opinions


1997 Lotus Elise convertible | GoAuto - something

Mechanical – Plan views

1997 Lotus Elise convertible | GoAuto - something
THE Elise adopts classic “mid-engine” design to equalise weight balance
between front and rear wheels. The transverse engine makes it less of a
true mid-engine design than the Porsche Boxster however. The four-
cylinder powerplant is derived from the MGF.

Mechanical – Engine

1997 Lotus Elise convertible | GoAuto - something
THE 1.8-litre DOHC 16-valve four-cylinder Elise engine has been transplanted
– unmodified – from the non-VVC MGF and develops 88kW at 5500rpm and
165Nm at 3000rpm. They aren’t particularly startling figures until you consider
the Elise weighs just 690kg. Independent tests have shown it can blast from rest
to 100km/h in 6.5 seconds, and even that is sixth tenths off the official Lotus claim.
The low weight saves on fuel consumption too, though premium unleaded is called for.

Mechanical – Suspension

1997 Lotus Elise convertible | GoAuto - something
THE Elise uses a double wishbone suspension with single coil springs and
dampers front and rear. Uprights of extruded aluminium were made by
Alusuisse. The suspension setting is firm, in keeping with the car’s no-
compromise racecar potential.

Mechanical – Transmission

1997 Lotus Elise convertible | GoAuto - something
A FIVE-SPEED transaxle sourced from the MGF drives the Elise’s rear wheels.
It’s not the only item sourced from Rover – the K-series 1.8-litre engine and final
drive are straight from the MGF production line.
Automatic transmission is Unavailable.

Mechanical – Brakes

1997 Lotus Elise convertible | GoAuto - something
UNTIL the 2000 model year, the Elise used aluminium disc brakes which
saved a great deal of weight over materials such as cast iron. However, the
aluminium discs have proven unsatisfactory during sustained competition and
track work – where the car spends much of its time – and as a result Lotus
engineers have swallowed an increase in unsprung weight with the standard
fitment of steel brakes.  Anti-lock braking is unavailable on the Elise.

Mechanical – Steering

1997 Lotus Elise convertible | GoAuto - something
TIPPING the scales at an incredibly light 690kg, the Elise’s weight allows
power assistance to be deemed unnecessary. The steering system is rack
and pinion, with a turning circle of 10 metres.  The unassisted steering goes
from lock to lock in just 2.7 turns.


THE lightweight aluminium chassis frame weighs a mere 70kg. Hollow
aluminium extrusions are joined by epoxy glue, with rivets added to
prevent peeling in the event of a collision. Side intrusion beams and a
roll bar are standard. A high-mount rear stoplamp is provided. Airbags
and anti-lock brakes are unavailable.
 1997 Lotus Elise convertible | GoAuto - something
The Sport R version, which is set up for the racetrack, is shown above.



  • Two years/unlimited km


  • Mid-mounted, twin camshaft, 16-valve inline four-cylinder.
  • Multi-point Injection
  • Capacity: 1.796 litres
  • Power: 88kW at 5500rpm
  • Torque: 165Nm at 3000rpm
  • Bore/stroke: 80.0mm/89.3mm
  • 10.5:1

200 km/h

5.9 s
9.6 l/100km  (10.4km/l)
5.7 l/100km (17.5km/l)
7.1 l/100km (14.1km/l)

170 g/km

Fuel tank: 40litres


  • Five-speed manual


  • Front: Independent, double wishbones, coil springs
  • Rear: Independent, double wishbones, coil springs


  • Un-assisted rack and pinion


  • Length: 3726mm
  • Width: 1701mm
  • Height: 1202mm
  • Track, front: 1440mm
  • Track, rear: 1440mm
  • Kerb weight: 690kg 

END OF GOAUTO Australia Review:


Colour Choices:

TOTAL: 10 colours to choose from!

Before I go, here’s a PARTING SHOT: INTERIOR SHOT: