Years Represented: 1998-2004
Host: GT2, GT3, & GT4
GT4 Prices: $41,060 (base
car), $51,680 (111S), $54,410 (111R)
Construction: fiberglass composite body, bonded
Length: 149.0" // Width: 67.7" // Height: 45.0"
Overhang: 4 feet 10 inches
57.4" [F] 59.2" [R]
Ground Clearance: @5.5"
Weight: 1,547 pounds (base) 1,776 (111S), 1,895 (111R)
38/62 (base) 39/61 (111S) 37.1/62.9 (111R)
Steering: unassisted rack & pinion
Turns lock to lock: 2.800
Layout: Mid Engine / Rear Drive
Tires: 175/55R-16 [F] 225/45R-16 [R] (225/45ZR-17 on 111R rear)
Suspension: dual wishbones, coils, shox, anti-roll bars
Brakes: vented discs (cross-drilled for the 111-S and
higher, but not for base Elise)
Engine: 1.8 liter DOHC inline-4
aluminum block & head
Fuel System: EFi (base) MPFi (S, R, and sport versions)
Valves / Cyl:
Bore x Stroke: 3.15 x 3.52" (Rover-equipped) 3.23 x 3.35" (Toyota-equipped)
Compression: 11.5:1 (111R)
5 or 6-speed manual
GT4 Final BHP: 126 @ 5,600 155 @ 5,000
199 @ 7,800
GT4 Fnl Torque: 130
@ 4,500 134 @ 3,500 140 @ 6,800
Credits per HP: $325.87
Pounds per HP:
Hp per Liter: 70.1
Car Idle Speed: 750 // Redline: 6,500 // RPM Limit: 7,000
111S Idle Speed: 1,000 // Redline: 7,000 // RPM Limit:
111R Idle Speed: 750 // Redline: 9,000 // RPM Limit: 9,500
*testing below for the Elises
0-60 mph: 6.883
0-100mph: 17.966 seconds @16.3
1:12.860 @ 41 seconds
400 M: 15.485 @ 92 mph 15.209 @ 95
14.543 @ 102 mph
1 Kilo: 27.985 @ 118 mph 27.303 @ 123 25.908 @ 131 mph
Track Lap: No Test 2:34.390
100-zero mph: 4.533 seconds no test
Top Gear RPM at 60 mph: 2,800
Top Speed at Redline (base car)
1st: 38 mph
2nd: 65 mph
3rd: 88 mph
5th: 138.90 mph @ 6,750 rpm
Top Speed at Redline (111S)
1st: 38 mph
2nd: 69 mph
3rd: 100 mph
4th: 127 mph
mph @ 7,000 rpm
Top Speed at Redline (111R)
1st: 47 mph
2nd: 70 mph
4th: 126 mph
5th: 160 mph @ 9,000 rpms (never redlined in this gear)
6th: 161.99 mph @ 8,150
|A 1998 Elise Sport 190 (S1)
|Elise Motorsport (S1)
|'00 Elise (S2)
|2003 Elise 111R (S2)
----------------EXTERIOR / HISTORY----------------
Today starts what will no doubt become a monumental review of a GT Car Review: the Lotus Elise.
are several different versions in all GT games except GT1 (which has no English cars other than TVRs and Astons) and GT3 (which
only has one type of Elise). Each version does happen to boast different visual cues, weights, and (unlike the mid-engine
NSX) significant jumps in horsepower for different models, even for various models that are stock. This can
leave the average impulse-buying driver who wants to explore or simpy buy an Elise on-the-spot feeling a bit
overwhelmed, perhaps. Hopefully, this review will be a guide to help us find the right one for the job.
In GT2, we
have six of these to choose from: a base Elise, the 111-S, the Sport
135, Sport 190, the Elise Motorsport, and the million dollar Elise
GT1. GT3 leaves us (no surprise) with just the 190.
GT4 starts us off with a new generation of cars. Once
again, we have the 120 horsepower base Elise, although it is from the 2nd generation (S2) rather than
the first. We also have a couple other S2s: the 111-S and 111-R. In addition,
we can also find an earlier S1s like the 1998 Sport 190 just like we had in GT2 and GT3, plus the
racing-equipped Motorsport Elise found in GT2. Both of these can be found from the
late-90s used car lot occasionally.
Finally, there is the Type 72, which can be won as a prize
from the Elise Trophy. In real-life, this car celebrated Lotus's 50th year of production. The number "72" denoted car #72,
which was a famous racer back in the day. Other than some commemorative decals on the car and slightly different paint, there
is no mechanical difference between a Type 72 and base Elise.
There was also a Type 49 in real-life, tho it does not
appear in GT4 or any game. Phew, that's still a total of six Elises in this game, and six in GT2! Who says the Japanese
are the only ones with too many versions of the same make & model in GT?
Unfortunately, I've only started
driving and racing Elises in GT4 recently. I never got round to even touching one in GT2 or GT3, which is making
me feel a bit overwhelmed at the moment, because it means I'm wanting to compare each one from game to game. Overwhelmed,
but at the same time, eager. This is a car many of us are eager to drive, no doubt. Its reputation precedes
it. Let's learn, eh?
The Elise was named after Lotus chairman's granddaughter Elisa. One hell of an ego boost for her
on a daily basis, what do you think? How many of us can proudly say "well, I had an entire line of cars
named after me?"
...Or is she even proud of such a gift? Is she indifferent about it? Or embarassed?
Sorry, my curiosity peaks on this one. Wikipedia nor any other info sites provide a link to her, so perhaps we'll never have
an answer. I even googled "Elisa Artioli" (I haven't yet found a website that lists her last name, so I used her grandfather's
last name). Nothing but vague sites featuring Lotus cars, a 50ish year-old looking cancer researcher with the name "Elisa
Artioli", and a dumb Facebook webpage showed after the search; but the creator of the Facebook page is too old, obviously
not the Elisa I was looking for. Well, nobody can accuse me of not trying to dig up the dirt.
Anyways, the Elise was first shown at an autoshow in Frankfurt in 1995, and production started
shortly thereafter in 1996. So far, there have been two generations of Elise (Series 1 and Series 2). Series 1 cars are
featured in GT2 and GT3, while GT4 has strictly Series 2s in its new car lot.
The '98 Sport 190 (S1)
can be found as a used car, and the racy Motor Sport can be found at the dealer in Lotus's Classic lot. The S2 has a
more radical look with its elongated headlamps and turn-signal lamps, rather than the cutesy S1s with their rounded ones.
S2s also have a wider grille than S1s, with small flares on each side, like a smiling, dimpled devil. Comparing
the door area of an S1 to an S2, we can see that (again) the S2 has deeper, more schizoid-looking concave
flares that start at the doors and cut way back into the rear fenders.
Other than these differences,
the S2 resembles the S1 in dimensions and general shape, since the S2 is based heavily on its former design.
was saying earlier, there are differences from model to model. I'm not going into details..there's just too many variations
to list and I don't wanna bore anybody. ...Awww, screw it. Here goes. :) Keep in mind that real-life Elises
may have differences not found below. I'm only going by what I see in the games.
Base Elise: 6-spoke wheels
(S1 or S2). Front fenders are bare except for a small side-marker lamp. Roof and bodyshell same color.
135 and Sport 190: 8-spoke wheels (S1 or S2).
111S: 8-spoke wheels. Front fender has a small badge near
the side-marker lamp. Roof and bodyshell same color.
111R: 8-spoke wheels. Front fender has a small badge. Roof
is black, while bodyshell can be a different color. Radio antenna is missing from the roof, even though the real-life 111R
does have an extensive sound system.
Type 72: Again, a black roof, but there is a radio antenna
in place. The front fender has a larger badge signifying something important. Something to do with Lotus being a 50 year-old
carmaker. This car is GT4-only.
Motor Sport: No fog lights in grille area. Rear window area is elongated like
a fastback, with a series of slots. A large wing is in place on the rear (all other cars have a small spoiler but
no true wing).
Elise GT1: Gran Tusismo 2 only. :-( Can be had in any color, so long as it's black. Super-low
and racy, with a trunk wing and modifyable downforce. Despite a lack of racing decals or other such paraphernalia, the
GT1 can go head-to-head against actual FIA, DTM, and JGTC types.
So obviously, only the Motor Sport and GT1
boast a radically different look that seperates them from all these other models at first glance, but somebody in the
know can eventually tell one model from the next just by looking at them.
There are also large differences in weight,
anywhere from 1,477 pounds for a S1-era Sport 190 to 1,895 pounds for an S2-era 111R.
Obviously, all of these Elises are super-light cars. Colin Chapman's original goal (lightweight, racy cars for a
low price) when first starting Lotus way back when is still in place, for the most part. All except the price part, since
we consider that anywhere from $39,250 (S1-era base Elise in GT2) to $97,180 (S1-era Motor
Sport in GT4) the Elise is rather pricey.
But worth it. Oh yeah. Compared to many other exotic-type automobiles
(which cost $100,000 on up), the Elise is actually a bargain.
|The Elise Motor Sport
------------ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN---------------
There may be differences in all those models we just discussed, but from car to car, one thing they all share
is their famous 1.8 liter dual-overhead cam 4-cylinder engine. S1 cars and some S2s had a Rover
K-series engine, while the latest S2s have a Toyota engine. I think (but I'm not entirely sure) that all
cars in our game are Rover-equipped except the 111R of GT4. You'll notice the 111R features a much higher
redline than the tachometers of others, and in real-life, Lotus installed high-rpm Celica engines into some of their
The weakest 120-horsepower base Elises (and the Type 72) have engines that feature
no trickery, while the stronger 111S, 111R, Sport, and Motor Sport cars all have variable valve timing of some sort
to help them achieve higher horsepower. The only difference is: Rover engines feature VVC (just like the MGF engine does),
while the Toyota ones feature VVTL-i.
In most situations (real life or in the game) any of these motors could be simply passed
off as underpowered; but when placed in the Elise chassis, which weighs several hundred pounds less than a ton, these motors feel
right at home. Even the lowest 120 and 135-horsepower engines can help us do some major damage to cars possessing up
to 200-300 horses more than the Elise, simply because the Elise weighs so much less than the majority of
others we'll need to face. The Elises (any of them) are therefore deadly machines to race in or against. The mid-engine
layout also guarantees major traction and a lack of wheelspin, even when the highest of turbos is in place. In general,
power will never be ultimate in any of these, but both NA and turbo kits can be had.
Still, there are issues. It's
impossible to get much torque from a 1.8 liter anything without a turbo, therefore straight-line acceleration
is lacking while the Elise is near-stock, or anywhere below 200 hp. That's really the only major issue, since
this car does so well when cornering for the most part. Some Elises, once they have heavy upgrades in place (especially
turbos), haven't got much redline area. Not a huge issue since Lotus made sure there is plenty of tachometer
space to exploit before redline. I believe peak power always shows up before redline in these motors from game to
game, which means (as I said) you'll rarely need to redline these anyways. The base S2 car in GT4 has a 6,500 rpm redline,
while the top-notch 111R redlines at 9,000! In this car (the 111R), those revs just keep piling up like our federal deficit,
as it races around...it seems you'll never run out of revs in this car.
Most of these cars have 5-speed transmissions, but
some later S2s have 6-speeds. In all cases, the gearing is kept close without being too close, which means plenty
of gear-shifting is in your Elise-future, but not so much that you'll absolutely need racing gears 100% of
the time. Once really going for full-power though, racing gears will become a necessity for some of these (especially 5-speed
models), as some Elises haven't got enough ceiling before they're annoyingly hitting their RPM limiters in 5th down a
So far as traction goes, these mid-engine cars typically have it in droves, yet they possess plenty
of flexibility as well. Limited-slip devices become necessary quicker in GT2 to keep these cars from becoming too "swivelly",
but in GT4, these devices are pretty much optional unless you're needing to be running super-fast at a track that makes the
Elise too unstable (Grand Valley, Route 246, etc). I've found the 1-way, 1.5, and 2-way devices can be useful for lower-powered
racing...they don't introduce too much understeer (but keep in mind they do add some) or kill this car's
amazing flexibility. But they aren't necessary till we're nearly flying around some tracks, gritting teeth and
gripping that dual-shock or wheel, knuckles whitened with pain.
Oh, one last thing...the sound. Even while
totally stock, these cars (especially in GT4) sound great. With sports, semi-racing, or full-racing exhausts, the Elise's
distinguished purr becomes raspier, or throatier, or just generally louder. It all sounds good, though. My only criticism
here is (once again) the Elise aftermarket soundbyte is shared by other cars with small, four-cylinder engines, which takes
some uniqueness away once you've done too many races in various cars like I have.
-----------------CHASSIS / HANDLING--------------------
Most of you reading this will be expecting a glowing review in this section, since I consider
the Elise one of the only sports cars of our modern world that hasn't been compromised heavily with unnecessary
gadgets many other "sports" cars have been burdened with, and you'd be right for the most part. I really only have two
complaints with this car as depicted in Gran Turismo. They won't take much time.
1). The Elise has a real-life habit
of raising its inner-front wheel under hard cornering. This never happens in any GT games, and it should. If PD doesn't model
this behavior for GT5, I'll cry.
2). I really don't believe the Elise's brakes are represented very well, either.
Long brake times (and therefore braking distances...see the testing results above in the SPEX section)
will be felt once you're driving an Elise at the tracks, which means you must brake early in this car, like
80% of the time. Otherwise, sideways skating, oversteer / fishtailing, and sometimes even understeer begin to make things
somewhat miserable, unless you're prepared and can take advantage of these situations.
From what I've read about this
car in magazines, its brakes are supposed to be fantastic (who would expect anything less from a world-wide exotic car-maker),
and I believe they are being mis-represented in our games. Perhaps this is because all Gran Turismo cars have a failsafe
ABS system installed, even if the real-life car hasn't got one...the Elise is one such vehicle that didn't get
ABS brakes till recently (recently being 2003) as an option, not as standard.
In my research, I've found
that out of all the Elises in our games, only the 111R has ABS brakes in real-life, yet I believe Lotus configured the
system on the real-life car so that it doesn't interfere with normal braking until absolutely necessary. In GT, we can
mash these brakes while driving in a straight line without a care. True, there's no sliding or wheel-lockups a braking system
without ABS can invoke, but in our game, we also cannot employ any of the proper braking modulation a real-life driver
can do, which would help shorten brake distances.
Okay, that's it. That's all my complaints. The rest of this chapter
shall be good.
an effort to get to know the Elise as represented in GT2, I did finally drive one around a bit in this game, but haven't
raced them extensively. But let's just say I got a nice feel for this car as I drove it around Tahiti, S.S. Route
5, and Autumn Ring.
Since the Elise made its debut in this game, we don't have a "slot carish" version to try, as the
Elise doesn't appear in GT1. I think if it did appear in GT1, what we would have might be similar to a lower-powered
NSX, with a gallopy (but highly unrealistic) ride. In GT2 (as in all GT games), this car is fun and playful; and
invites us to keep exploring its many behaviors.
I can't really put into words all the possibilities this car is capable
of (even in GT2), nor some of the emotions you'll feel as you out-smart many other cars with over 2 or 3x your power. The
Elise in this game feels as deft and slick as a fast-talking con-artist who knows how to slip out of most any situation.
This assumes the driver is skilled, of course, and can keep away from spins and other assorted accidents.
many small mid-engine cars in this game (GT2), and though some drivers may find the Elise taciturn and difficult
with its swively habits, and may choose not to race them, the Elise (any of the versions) feels alot more comfortable
with speed/handling trickery than other MR cars in this game including: Toyota MR2s and MR Spyders, Plymouth's PT
Spyder, the MGF, Venturis (when stock), Renault Clio Sport, Lancia Stratos, and Lotus's first mid-engine auto, the Europa.
one thing, the Elise is lighter than all the cars just mentioned. But that's not all. Its suspension has been
massively race-proven, and is therefore is race-worthy from the day it's bought. Only such MR autos as the Tommykaira ZZ-1,
NSX, Nissan R390 road car, Vectors, Tom's Angel, and some other Lotuses like the Esprit feel as equal or more confident
than the Elise...but do they feel as playful? Have they got the Elise's lack of pounds? Certainly not (except for
the ZZ-1 and Angel, of course).
This doesn't mean all drivers will find the Elise perfect, though. This is not a car
for everyone, and "perfect" is really a bad word to describe the Elise, anyways. "Capable", "eager", "pushable", and other
such words are more suited here, as well as "difficult", "slippery", and "too compromising" on the bad side. So some
drivers may find the Elise to be not such a great driving experience in this game.
Mostly, it's got a habit
of oversteer. Being a light-weight mid-engine car, it loves a good slide! This isn't the type of
oversteer that shows up because the car has lots of body-sway or devilish torque that causes a lack of traction--in fact, just
the opposite is at work here. Just as described in real-life, the car in GT2 feels extremely gymnastic and flexible.
It slides easily...yes...but it generally keeps all 4 wheels connected to the road while doing so. And some
drivers won't be able to handle such a car.
..But of course, some drivers will dig this car! No doubt.
Elise is like a jar of salsa...its habit of getting sideways with entry-corner oversteer, and then maintaining such slides, can
be tasted in many flavors: anywhere from "mild" to "extra spicy", according to just how you'd like to dip that chip.
:-) This car seems to delight in and even require such behavior at times. Driving the Elise in a pure
"out-in-out" style, employing full grip with none of this sliding nonsense (as the Ai drives it) can also be done...
then, you'd be missing out on what this baby is really wanting to do!
So I haven't gotten round to driving an Elise
in GT3, but I don't think it matters much. For one thing, the Elise as it appears in GT4 isn't much different from the
way it feels in GT2. This is one of the few cars that doesn't feel as drastically different from one game to the next
as some others.
Everything discussed for the GT2 car (its habit of sliding, oversteer, tossability, etc)
is also true in the 4th game. The main difference is GT4 features more understeer, and the Elise is
not exempt from this as it mostly was in GT2. The good news? There thankfully isn't too much understeer...most
of the time it's encountered, it'll be mild or minimal. But...it is here, and it can show up anywhere in a curve: from
entry to exit, so pay attention.
As mentioned before, the Elise's brakes must be pounced early for the most part. There
are a few times when you can brake late and get some nice trail-braking action, but mostly, this car's brakes suffer
in this game as they did in GT2, and you'll need to start early. If not...there's a choice of understeer
(if you're trying to preserve your racing line), or sideways skating (if you just wanna throw all caution
to the wind, crank the steering fully, get a full slide, and hope the car doesn't slam a wall!).
As pretzel-like as this car is in GT and in real-life, it really seems odd that the Elise's main achilley's
heel in our games are its brakes...which are cross-drilled vented rotors in any version other than the base 120-horsepower
car. It just doesn't make sense. Well, as I said earlier, perhaps it's PD's habit of installing a rudimentary ABS system
on all cars in our games. But let's talk further, please....
Once we get those brakes down, everything else feels
great for the most part, just as Colin would like them to be. As in GT2, there are many moments and many behaviors to explore
in a GT4 Elise. I feel almost lame trying to describe some of them, so here's my attempt at some bad poetry to shed some light.
...Brake in early (while turning).
The car grips in perfectly to a good line you can almost draw
with a compass.
A bit of understeer now, so let off those brakes.
at poetry. Here, I'll start over!
Brake in early while steering...the car now understeers lightly, so let off those
brakes. As a tad of lift-off oversteer shows, I downshift into a lower gear, which induces a bit of sliding that only
puts a smile on my face. Otherwise, the front-end is now gripping into a racing-line that I swear I could almost
draw on the track if I had a virtual (and very large) compass.
...kick on the gas fully (while still turning).
It won't matter! The engine's lack of torque is actually a bonus here...no power gets wasted by a loss of traction. As the
Elise leaves that corner, sometimes slight understeer makes a re-appearance, which is okay. To get rid of it, all
it takes is to let off the throttle again. Just a blip. Otherwise...we're off!
I just described a snippet of
delicious driving time behind the wheel. DO NOT take the words above as what you'll find all the time in an Elise. There
are so many varieties to experience, so many stories that can be told about this car, it is (as I said) almsot lame
to try to put them all into words. So we'll leave it at that.
Only when really pushing an Elise for high speeds
does its extreme flexibility begin to betray, especially over bumpy areas. This isn't the most stable car in the world, after
all. Keeping it going in the desired direction at such a track like El Capitan, Nurburgring, and Le Mans can take mad skillz.
Now all a sudden, you will need a limited-slip, as well as careful suspension tuning.
One last quick note.
Only recently (as I mentioned before) has Lotus included an option for ABS to some customers. Apparently, real-life Elise
cravers can also buy a limited-slip, nowadays, also as an option. We can do this too, but mostly, it'll be a bad decision.
This car is at its happiest when being twisted around like a pretzel. Only at the highest levels of racing (Grand Valley 300KM,
for instance) will such a device become necessary to limit this car's habit of really getting sideways (in a bad
way), especially under braking.
But what a fun car, otherwise, huh? The Ai almost always kicks ass when it drives
Elises in our games, now we know why.
1). One of the last true
sports cars around, uncompromised by traction controls, stability devices, and (in real-life) power steering, and ABS
brakes. And it appears in all GTs except GT1. I'm sure Polyphony Digital did all they could to try and get the Elise
into the first game, it's such a kick-ass car.
2). Great looking, even in GT2. GT4 features both S1 and S2 generation
Elises as used, new, and prize cars.
3). Many colors to buy one. What's your fancy? Lotus can provide.
Many versions to play with too, in all games except GT3. Somehow, it doesn't feel like too many, though.
6). A race-proven and race-worthy suspension. Some Elises can achieve a higher-than-usual ride
height, which can be lowered with aftermarket parts.
7). Fun. Fun fun fun fun.
8). The Rover 4-cylinder
appears as tepid as can be (in the base 120 hp car) or mildly powerful (in the 190 hp Sport 190), yet in all
versions, it provides, never feels truely as weak as it is.
9). Many upgrades can be had (turbo
and natural power).
10). Handles as great in the games as described by real-life drivers. Steering and a front-end
that generally locks into its target like a vice grip, combined with a rear that has the traction....uh...of a vice grip.
Great sounding engine, even when stock. Aftermarket exhausts don't ruin this, although in GT2 we eventually have too much
turbo hiss from spooled motors.
12). All GT2 cars get racing kits. GT2 also features the mighty Elise GT1,
which can demolish any race this game has to offer except rallies.
13). GT4: gas mileage you'll love to love.
The surprise factor. You may think you you know this car inside and out...but you never truely will. Like an unpredictable
lover who keeps you guessing...you might fall in love with the Elise for reasons other than stability.
1). The price. Let's start there. The real-life
Elise is actually a bargain for an exotic sports car, since S1 and early S2 cars in our games aren't loaded
with unnecessary items like heated, fully adjustable seats, electronic suspension controls, etc. Yet, the Elise (let's be
honest) is still a pricey car.
2). Not everyone may dig its wanton driving characteristics. Not a car for novice drivers
or even some intermediates.
3). Easily upset by bumps in some situations. In GT2, these cars also are heavily prone
to spins at banked tracks.
4). The base Elise in GT2 winds up with the most power when fully modified, which is "just"
262 horses. Those who want more will need to buy the pricey Motor Sport, or the super-expensive (million credit) Elise GT1.
In GT4, Elises can be pushed higher, however there isn't much final difference between a fully-powered base car and a fully-powered
111R (@285 to 325 bhp).
5). Short gears on the 5-speed cars...revs max out too early sometimes. For long straights, some
situations will demand a full-racing transmission just to get more top-end.
6). Braking ability feels compromised in
our games (already went into this in detail).
7). As fun as the Elise is when low-powered, eventually its
best traits can become a curse once we're really pushing near its fullest capacities, especially near full power. Limited-slip
and careful suspension tuning & driving required at these times.
8). GT4 mostly: understeer does show
up. Even the Ai suffers, as occasionally we'll see a sim Elise get way outside its best racing line with exit-corner
understeer, and then mow some grass.
9). Great traction down-low, but poor straight-line acceleration.
Published: November 24, 2008