LAWRENCEVILLE, GA (December 30, 2003) - The Lotus Elise, arguably the world's purest sports car, will be available to U.S. buyers for the first time beginning in May, 2004 as a 2005 model. The Elise doesn't just come standard with segment-shattering performance and Lotus' legendary vehicle dynamics - it also arrives with the promise that it will change the rules of traditional sports car behavior. As the first all-new Lotus for the U.S. in nearly 15 years, the two-seat convertible Elise is a tour de force of engineering and design with the best perform ance-to-d o Ila r ratio of any car on sale in the U.S. Already the recipient of dozens of industry awards and accolades since being introduced in the European market, the Elise has also achieved the status of best-selling Lotus ever.

Designed at Speed ... For Speed

The Elise is the first computer-designed Lotus, which enabled engineers to rev up the design process to less than one year. At the Elise's core is a revolutionary chassis constructed with aluminum alloy extrusions and aerospace bonding techniques, the first of its kind in the world. The chassis weighs a mere 150 pounds, which enables the U.S. spec Elise to tip the scales at an incredibly svelte 1,975 pounds including standard air conditioning, ABS, power windows, dual airbags and other amenities that make driving the Elise a pleasure. Despite meeting Lotus founder Colin Chapman's mandate of extremely light weight, the Elise's structure is tough enough to meet all U.S. government crash standards. The body is made from closed mold composite material that are thinner and lighter than hand-laid glass fiber, an approach that helps the Elise maintain both light weight and superior aerodynamics.
Power for the U.S. spec Elise is delivered through the reliable 2ZZ-GE 1.8-liter four cylinder 16-valve engine with Variable Valve Timing and Lift-Intelligent (VVTL-i), from Toyota Motor Corporation. Selected for the Elise because of its compact size, light weight and high output, the Lotus-tuned engine is rated at 190 peak horsepower at 7800 rpm, delivering 138 ft.lb. of torque at 6800 rpm. VVTL-i technology allows the engine increased low-end torque for better acceleration from a standstill without limiting high-speed performance. The job of getting power to the ground falls to the smooth-shifting, all-aluminum C64 six-speed manual gearbox, also sourced from Toyota. Lotus engineers designed an ultra-precise shift linkage mechanism for fast, positive gear shifts, transforming the transmission into the perfect tool for harnessing every iota of the Elise's performance potential. Minor changes to the Elise's rear subframe were made to accommodate the new U.S. spec engine and gearbox.

The Driving Experience of a Lifetime

As with all Lotus cars, the Elise is pure joy to drive. Already dubbed the world's besthandling sports car in European markets, U.S. drivers should expect nothing less than an astonishing experience behind the wheel. A grueling development program that encompassed half-a-million miles of testing on two continents Lotus was able to create an automobile that is an absolute thrill to drive. Zero to sixty acceleration times come in handily below the five second mark and the Elise has a top speed of almost 150 mph-performance DNA that is purer than any other vehicle in its class, including car costing two or three times as much.

Four-wheel independent suspension with high-performance Eibach coil springs and Bilstein monotube gas shock absorbers keep the 175/55R16 front and 225/45R17 rear Yokohama Advan Neova AD07 LTS tires - designed specifically for the Elise --glued to the ground, while delivering a comfortable ride for occupants. Twin-piston aluminum front brake calipers from AP Racing and single piston rear brake calipers from Brembo clamp each disc firmly for rapid but controlled braking. Antilock brakes enhance performance and safety without compromising driver enjoyment.

Interior Comforts for Everyday Enjoyment

Inside the Elise's cockpit occupants immediately know they are sifting in a sports car with pure racing DNA. Composite sport seats provide the support that spirited driving demands. Interior components and switchgear have a consistent, high quality fit and finish. Dual front airbags, including the world's most compact driver's side airbag, offer added occupant protection. Extruded aluminum pedals not only save weight, but complement the Elise's sophisticated extruded aluminum chassis. The pedal controls are perfectly positioned for smooth, spirited driving, whenever the opportunity arises.

Optional equipment for the U.S. spec Elise includes the Touring Pack, which provides a combination of options designed to increase comfort and convenience, while still maintaining the essence of a Lotus sports car. The package includes leather trim, electric windows, an upgraded Blaupunkt CD/MP3 player with equalizer, interior stowage net, thermal and sound insulated soft-top, additional sound deadening and enhanced carpeting. For those who wish to extract the utmost in handling performance from their Elise, a Sport Pack offers special design forged wheels, track-tuned Lotus Sports suspension with adjustable ride height and Yokohama A048 LTS performance tires, also specific to the Elise. A one-piece hardtop is also available for increased levels of security and off-season driving. The Elise arrives standard with a 3year/36,000-mile warranty.

About Lotus Cars

Lotus is one of the world's best-known British performance brands with a reputation for innovation and success through a steady stream of winning racing cars and memorable sports cars. The first Lotus car was built in 1948 by founder Colin Chapman (1928-1982) and the Lotus Engineering Company was established in 1952. Since then Lotus has pioneered automotive systems and components still in use today.
Today, Lotus Cars and its sister company Lotus Engineering are owned by Group Lotus, PLC, headquartered in Norfolk, England. The location is home to design, manufacturing, research and development and sales facilities. While Lotus Cars continues to design and build sports cars revered for their performance, style and innovation, Lotus Engineering develops advanced automotive systems and components for many of the world's leading automakers. Together, these two enterprises are a powerful team, committed to changing the rules that define automotive excellence. Group Lotus U.S. subsidiaries include Lotus Cars USA (www.lotuscars.com , based in Lawrenceville, Georgia and Lotus Engineering (www.lotuscars.co.uk), based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.