Rumors about the Introduction of the Lotus Elise

There are rumors gathered from various sources. They are unconfirmed and appear here only for your entertainment. Please do not make any decisions based on information included here.

January 2003


The LOTUS Elise is getting V6 power – and this is the photograph that proves it.

Our spies snared the potent new sports car, running a Toyota 3.0-litre with about 220bhp, as it fanged around the roads near Lotus’s Hethel HQ.

But we can reveal the bent six is just one of two Toyota engines destined for the Lotus in a move that will spell the end of Rover K-series power in the Elise.

New entry models are to get Toyota’s 190bhp 1.8-litre four from the Celica and Corolla T-Sport. Like the V6 it should hit 60mph in less than 5.0sec.

UK prices for the V6 are expected to be around £28,000 while the 1.8 stays near the £25,995 of the current most powerful model, the 156bhp 111S. Both new Elises go on sale in the UK in about 18 months.

Our exclusive picture shows a Lotus test driver pushing the car hard along Norfolk lanes, The makeshift tailpipe and exhaust noise of the car pictured betrays the engine as the V6: current models get twin pipes.

Lotus needs new engines before it can crack the US market; the K-series no longer meets emission laws across the pond.

A US assault could increase Elise sales by a much-needed 1500 additional units.

The V6 could also provide the power for a resurrected Exige. That car proved to be a sleeper hit for Lotus and the timing of the V6 could coincide with a new version, due in 2004.

The new engines will take the fight to the Elise’s cousin, the Vauxhall VX220, which raises the bar early next year with a 200bhp, £25,000 turbo version.


January 2003

Elise Gets 6 Appeal

Loads Of Trouble, Usually Serious? That won't be the case with the next Lotus Elise - it will be powered by a paragon of reliability. Thanks to our network of top spies, Auto Express can exclusively reveal that the Norfolk firm is trialling a fleet of Elises fitted with 2.5-litre V6 Toyota Camry engines

Cars using the experimental powerplant have been spotted near Lotus's Hethel HQ, while further development vehicles are disguised behind Vauxhall VX220 bodywork - the two models are built side-by-side on the same production line. If the V6 gets the go-ahead, it could spell the end of plans to introduce a turbocharged Elise, as the performance will satisfy driving enthusiasts.

Lotus has also hinted that the car's bodywork could be restyled by the end of next year in a bid to move the range upmarket and rival the likes of the Porsche Boxster and TVR Tamora. The V6 is set to cost from £30,000 and could be on sale by the end of 2003.
Article from: Auto Expres

December 2002

The Elise roadster will come to America's roads at last, arriving early in 2004 as an 05' model. But don't expect the rakish MK2 Elise; that car's sixteen-piece front end can't meet federal crash standards. Instead, we'll get a new, MK3 Elise, with single-piece front and rear clamshell openings as on the 1995-2000 MK1 car.

A handful of powertrains have been evaluated for the U.S. spec Elise, including the Honda S2000's 240 horsepower, 2.0 liter four and six speed manual transmission, but look for the roadster to end up with the Toyota Celica GT-S's 180 horse, 1.8 liter four, paired with that car's six-speed manual and, possibly, the MR2's six speed sequential manual.

Performance estimates for the 1675 pound Celica powered Elise are as follows: 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds, the quarter mile in 14.0 seconds @112 mph, and a top speed of 154 mph.

Lotus reportedly is testing a mid engine chassis that could, with minimal effort, accommodate models of varying size and specification, including the next Elise, a V-8-powered Esprit successor, and a smaller coupe, similar to the stillborn M250, with a V-6 engine(possibly a 3.5 liter VQ-series six from Nissan)". end quote

written by Matt Phenix Automobile December 2002

September 2002

Very little information has come from Lotus since the Los Angeles Auto Show. All communications about the development of the M260 stopped soon after the removal of Lotus CEO Terry Playle and new control by the parent company, Proton. Previously leaks confirmed the selection of a Toyota power plant, financial difficulties at Lotus, and finally, the M260 project being put on hold due to lack of funds.

This month, at a Lotus Owner's Gathering in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, Arnie Johnson and Morris Dowton, production manager for the Elise, announced the development of the federalized Elise. It is to arrive in early 2004 and will be a 2005 model. Information on the power plant, potential options, changes from the current Elise series 2, or pricing was not made available.

January 2002

I attended the Los Angeles Auto Show. See the article I wrote about the visit with Roger Becker and the pictures of the Elise Series 2.

Soon after the show rumors of a Toyota power plant, anti-lock brakes, air conditioning, and prices appeared in British press and in enthusiast newsletters.

All communication from Lotus concerning future plans and the future of the M260 project specifically, stopped soon after the removal of Terry Playle and his replacement by Proton management. Rumors suggested progress on the M260 halted due to lack of funds.

January 11, 2001

Message: 8
Date: Thu, 11 Jan 2001 01:06:22 -0000
From: "Joe Irwin" <>
Subject: U.S. Version Elise

I had seen some recent treads regarding the Elise being imported into
the U.S. so I e-mail the director of public relations at the factory.
What follows is his response. I got this email this morning (January
10, 2001).

Dear Mr Irwin,
A pleasure to hear from you again.

May I take this belated opportunity to wish you a happy and
prosperous new year.
I have good and bad news for you on the subject matter of Lotus
introducing the Elise onto the U.S. market.

This year sees the introduction of our new Elise to the UK / European
market, the new model is improved in every way over it's predecessor,
including ride and handling. The best just got better!

The good news is that we are studying the potential of this car being
modified to meet U.S. legislation. The bad news is that we have yet to
go ahead with this business venture.

Our Lotus Cars USA is located in Atlanta Georgia, and the president is
Arni Johnson. He can be contacted on 770-822-4566 for further

Thank you for staying in touch.


James E Corbett.

November 1997

From: Tony Churly <>
Subject: Spec of Elise VVC
Date: Sat, 22 Nov 1997 11:24:46 +0000
MIME-Version: 1.0

I've spoken to a few UK dealers and most have had a little gossip on the
VVC. The interesting thing seems that where I got similar info fron two
sources it was the same! Perhaps Lotus are keeping their dealers in the

Spec as far as I can glean:

The interior will be different (no idea how!)
The back end will be reshaped (again no idea how!)
Aluminium window winders (from Technomag?) will be fitted in place of
the present rubbish
Wheels will be replaced by Technomag alloys as per the track version (No
idea if black or silver)
There will be an oil cooler in the nose behind the grill. (that should
make for more plumbing and a higher lubricant volume to get from the
back all the way to the nose)
No mention of brakes so I expect the composite disks will be fitted.
Thats about it I think someone else posted a price and date earlier
which I think is on the nose.

Tony Churly

October 1997:(Sorry, I forgot the author! )

The good news is that I have photos of the new 190 bhp engine; the wait
a bit news is that there are still 20 unexposed frames on that film; the
just got away with it news is that Tony Shute wanted me to pay him a fiver
for each shot.....

It should have been announced this week at the Frankfurt show that there
is going to be a "Very High Power" (VHP) version of the Elise with substantial
reworking of the engine to give 190 bhp. From the outside the most obvious
modification is a *huge* plenum chamber, probably 8in diameter, which feeds
the four intake passages. It appears to be in carbon fibre, with "Lotus"
cast (?) into it. The gearbox is also revised, with closer ratios, and I
thought I heard a comment about 6-speeds, but may be mistaken about that.

There will be a low-key racing series in the UK next year, run under the
750MC. A series sponsor is lined up, and has even handed over the cheque,
but no-one was sure if the official announcement had been made so I cannot
tell you who it is yet. Not a household name though, don't get too excited.

The development car looks to be running in almost road trim, the interior
and exterior were unchanged apart from a gaudy paint job. Some work was
going on to cure high-speed oversteer, and the springs were getting a lot
of attention. However, the guy doing the test driving hadn't seen the
video, where the stylists override the aerodynamicists about the back
of the car......

Now the big question -- USification. Lotus got through the bumper laws
by pointing out that the existing bodywork met the spec. It passed the
impact tests, could be replaced very quickly without affecting the rest
of the bodywork and so on. The hangup is the engine, and the fact that
the market for the car as it stands is just too small. Tony Shute said
that once the existing Lotus-nuts had got theirs who else could they sell
them to? Staying in business requires a continuing stream of buyers, and
they could not make all the changes to the car within a cost that would
ensure sales once the initial demand had been satisfied.

What is it you guys do when you think a change of government is required?
Something about throwing politicians into Boston harbour?

October 15, 1997

From: Tony Churly <>
Subject: Elise gosip
Date: Wed, 15 Oct 1997 16:55:48 +0100

I was talking to someone who had been to Hethel recently. It seems the
following are on likely developments.
1. The hard top for the Elise has given some problems in
development and will require beams like the rag top to obviate the need
for re setting window hoist levels for hard and soft options. The beams
are in production now and release looks like November ish! no prices as
2. There will be a VVC version within the next few months and this
may be followed in the same year? by a V6.
3. Dealers have seen the clay of the coupe which will have a 100 mm
wheelbase and I am guessing the V6. First impressions are that unlike
BMW the coupe is an stunner.
It seems that lotus are breaking with tradition and letting the dealers
in on the development phase and making use if their feedback.
It will be interesting to see how the VVC version matches up to the
Motobuild Stage II conversion.
Tony Churly

September 29, 1997

From: "Jon A. Gardner" <>
Subject: Lotus Elise @ Lime Rock Park, Connecticut, USA
Date: Mon, 29 Sep 1997 22:41:45 -0400

A friend of mine spotted an Elise w/ Michigan tags @ LRP @ the NASCAR
Busch series races this past weekend. The driver(not_identified) but
believed to be from an emissions testing firm(Rousch?), said the car has
been tested, with the necessary Fed mods,(down 7 HP), the Rover motor I
presume. It has passed rollover and side impact tests as well. O.K.
guys, have a field day with this information.
Sorry, don't have more info.