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How the Lotus Elise Works

        Auto | British

The stock Elise features eight-spoke, cast-alloy wheels.
The stock Elise features eight-spoke, cast-alloy wheels.
Photo courtesy Group Lotus PLC

Virtually everyone who has had the pleasure of test driving an Elise has noted how well it handles. The car darts through turns, is very responsive to the driver and yet doesn't feel too "twitchy." How did Lotus make the Elise handle so well?

It turns out it isn't anything fancy -- just an independent double-wishbone suspension with quality springs and shocks and anti-roll bars (exactly what kind depends on whether you have the stock or the Sport package), all carefully tuned by the experts at Lotus.

The Yokohama Advan Neova AD07 tires are mounted on eight-spoke, cast-alloy wheels in the stock version. The Sport package gets you Yokohama A048 LTS tires tuned for the Elise and mounted on lightweight wheels. Four-wheel, vented disc brakes with ABS take the Elise from 60 mph (97 kph) to a dead halt in 105 ft (32 m), a Road & Track record (Road & Track, August, 2004).

Because the Elise isn't meant to reach ultra-high speeds, Lotus did not worry too much about aerodynamics. With a top speed of 150 mph (240 kph), the Elise's smooth shape isn't as streamlined as some of the European supercars. The undercarriage has been designed to reduce lift, helping to keep the rear wheels on the ground at high speeds.

So what's it like inside an Elise? Check out the next section.