Steane Klose | Jun 12, 2008

If Colin Chapman were still with us he might be having a quiet chuckle to himself about the current state of affairs in the car world. As the cost of fuel rises with unbounded enthusiasm on an almost daily basis, manufacturers are tossing overweight large car platforms in the dustbin and turning to smaller lighter alternatives.

Lotus on the other hand like to point out that they are already there. The low-volume sports car manufacturer has seen a global shift in manufacturing to emulate the philosophies and production already in place at Lotus.

Using an extruded and boned aluminium chassis weighing just 68kg and lightweight components and body panels, the Lotus Elise and Exige sports cars are known for their dedication to focused handling and performance. Now Lotus would like us to appreciate their sensitivity to the environment as well.

The Lotus core philosophy of performance through light weight also has positive knock-on effects of improving fuel economy and reducing the effect on the environment. Using a modest 1.8-litre four-cylinder, its 100kW Variable Valve Timing (VVT) engine produces a combined fuel economy figure of just 8.3l/100km.

The Elise S boasts an environmentally friendly CO2 output figure of just 196g/km, combining low emissions with a fair slab of performance: 0-100km/h takes 6.1 seconds.

lotus-elise-sc

The recently released 2008 Lotus Elise SC takes performance and economy to new levels. Using a supercharger on the 1.8-litre four-cylinder, the Elise SC exhibits combined fuel consumption figures of just 8.5l/100km, which is remarkable considering its power of 163kW and its ability to reach 100km/h in just 4.6 seconds.

You’re probably thinking, “wouldn’t it be great to compare those figures to those of some other popular performance cars”. So did Lotus and they provided us with the following handy table.

SPORTS CONVERTIBLE COMPARISON:

MODEL

L/100km

0-100km/h

CO2 output

Price

Mazda MX-5

8.5

7.8

174g/km

$42,870

Lotus Elise S

8.3

6.1

196g/km

$69,990

Nissan 350Z Roadster

11.7

5.7

280g/km

$73,990

BMW Z4 2.5

8.4

6.5

216g/km

$78,200

Mercedes-Benz SLK200K

9.2

7.9

220g/km

$89,990

Lotus Elise SC

8.5

4.6

202g/km

$104,990

Porsche Boxster 2.7

13.8

6.1

222g/km

$109,300

lotus-exige

The Lotus Exige S PP is the fastest car in the Lotus Cars Australia range with 179kW and just 935kg, mixing supercar performance with fuel economy figures of a small hatchback. With its supercharged and intercooled engine, its acceleration, handling and economy is impossible to match. Again, a handy table gives you an idea how the Exige compares to the competition.

SPORTS COUPE COMPARISON:

MODEL

L/100km

0-100km/h

CO2 output

Price

Porsche Cayman S

11.6

5.4

254g/km

$149,000

Lotus Exige S PP

9.1

4.1

216g/km

$149,990

Aston Martin V8 Vantage

14.0

4.9

358g/km

$269,000

Lamborghini Gallardo

17.0

4.2

400g/km

$414,993

Ferrari F430

15.6

3.7

345g/km

$416,850

Your piece of the Lotus low-fat pie isn’t necessarily out of reach either with the entry level Elise S kicking off from a reasonable $69,990.

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