Next thing you know, Porsche will start talking about diesels and hybrids, wait, that has already happened! Although, Lotus has a point here, the rest of the world is trying to make light cars that have excellent power/weight ratio, but Lotus' entire philosophy has always been performance through light weight!
Although the sports car market is generally not too worried about fuel economy, with fuel prices climbing on a daily basis, buying a Lotus is starting to make more sense.
To begin with, the chassis of a typical Lotus, say Elise or Exige, is made using extruded and bonded aluminium which comes to a total weight of only 68kg. This is then followed throughout the body with lightweight components and body panels.
The company says you don't need to lose sleep over your performance car's environmental impact if you chose a Lotus. In essence, you can have your (low-fat) cake and eat it.
The Lotus Elise uses a Toyota sourced 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine with only 100kW but it manages to compete (and generally beat) its similarly priced competitors. Did we mention it's also better for the environment?
The Elise S boasts a friendly CO2 output figure of just 196g/km (must less than most normal cars, let alone performance cars), and goes from 0-100km/h in 6.1 seconds through its five-speed gearbox.
|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|
|Lotus Elise SC||8.5||4.6||202g/km||$104,990|
|Porsche Boxster 2.7||13.8||6.1||222g/km||$109,300|
From the table above you can see just about the only other car that competes with those figures is the Nissan 350Z, but it's slower, puts out more pollution and costs more too.
Admittedly you can fit your shopping into the Z. Nonetheless Lotus is quick to point out their cars also have some luxuries such as remote locking, power windows, air-conditioning, dual airbags, ABS and more.
If you want a little more performance, you can go for the new 2008 Lotus Elise SC, which gives that little 1.8-litre engine a supercharger. Power increases by a remarkable 63 per cent, yet fuel economy only goes up by 0.2l/100km! Oh did we say it can go from 0-100km/h in just 4.6 seconds?
|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|
Going even further, there is always the Lotus Exige S PP, the fastest car in the Lotus Cars Australia range. The Exige has 179kW of power, which might not seem like a lot, but remember, it weighs all of 935kg, puts out only 216g/km and competes successfully in the supercar class thanks to its power/weight ratio.
The CarAdvice garage will soon be blessed with a Lotus Elise and Exige so expect a full video and review of our experience.