Consider this: the 2010 Lotus Elise S, which can go from 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds, now has improved fuel efficiency (on the European cycle): 37.2 mpg combined, which is a 3.2 mpg improvement compared to the previous model. What’s more, its CO2 emissions have been improved, as well, and it now produces 179 g/km. The primary factors for achieving this are said to be lightweight construction and small, efficient engines. As Mike Kimberley, Group Lotus CEO, put it, “The Lotus philosophy of performance through light weight is even more relevant in today’s emission-focused ecological world. This design philosophy has enabled Lotus to offer fantastic levels of performance, with Lotus cars being some of the greenest performance cars on the market.” By way of comparison, the Elise SC model (which is supercharged) has a combined 33.2 mpg and goes from 0 to 62 mph (which is 100 km, in case you’re wondering about the extra two) in 4.6 seconds, while according to Lotus figures, the Porsche Boxster S has a combined 29.7 mpg and requires 5.3 seconds, and the Mercedes SLK 55 AMG has a combined 23.5 mpg and is 0.3 seconds slower than the Lotus.
The Elise is based on a chassis that consists of epoxy-bonded aluminum alloy extrusions, an integral steel seat-belt support structure, and a lightweight steel rear subframe. It has a resin transfer molded composite fiberglass body.