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Supercharged Lotus Elise S lands Down Under

Talk the torque: Despite increased torque, the new Lotus Elise S maintains its acceleration figures but has taller gearing to help improve efficiency and drivability.

No price rise as Lotus boosts torque, drivability and efficiency of flagship Elise

26 Apr 2012

THE supercharged Lotus Elise S is has arrived in Australia, featuring performance and efficiency improvements over the outgoing Elise SC – while the price remains static at $79,990 plus on-road costs.

A new 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine – Toyota-sourced as before – is bolted to a new supercharger and more efficient cooling systems while the six-speed manual transmission has taller gearing.

Those changes contribute to 40Nm more torque (up to 250Nm) and a 10 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency (now 7.5 litres per 100 kilometres) but peak power output remains at 163kW.

The extra grunt overcomes the taller gear ratios to maintain a 4.6-second 0-100km/h sprint time – now possible without the driver having to select third gear – and 0-160km/h is still dispatched in 10.8 seconds on the way to an unchanged 233km/h top speed.

Lotus claims the new supercharger’s design reduces noise, vibration and harshness and an air-to-water charge cooler is said to increase the density of air being force-fed into the engine.

An oil cooler has also been added to extend the highly-strung engine’s lifespan while increasing oil capacity and reducing temperatures in the engine bay, with the knock-on effect of making life easier for the engine’s radiator.

57 center imageLike the rest of the third-generation Elise line-up, the Elise S has a revised electronic stability control system that is claimed to provide smoother, more progressive interventions and has a sport mode that backs it off to enable the driver to take more liberties before it kicks in.

The Elise S joins the newly-added Club Racer edition, with just 10 of the stripped-out lightweight specials coming to Australia priced at $68,990 ($1000 more than the standard Elise roadster).

Australian Lotus importer Ateco Automotive also recently introduced an automatic transmission variant of the flagship Evora S coupe and the automatic Elise SPS, fitted with a robotised manual transmission, is slated to arrive in Australia soon.

Ateco has so far succeeded in improving Australian Lotus sales since it took over distributorship last year, but has been recently hamstrung by supply issues as a result of the takeover of Lotus’ Malaysian parent company Proton by conglomerate DRB-HICOM – which is reportedly seeking a Chinese buyer for the British sportscar brand.

Sales are up more than 80 per cent in the first quarter of this year, and Ateco says it has an order bank of 100 cars, with the supply delays expected to be ironed out by Q4 and the Hethel factory rushing to clear the backlog of Australian orders.

Shortly after it was handed Lotus distributorship for Australia, Ateco slashed up to $31,000 from the price of an Exige, $23,000 from the price of an Elise and $46,000 from the price of an Evora, while increasing standard equipment levels across the range.

Evora prices have since crept up by $4000 for the naturally-aspirated variants and $6000 for the supercharged S in return for quality and interior improvements plus extra standard equipment.

2012 Lotus Elise pricing (plus on-road costs):
Elise $67,990
Elise Club Racer $68,990
Elise S $77,990

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