Fast in, fast out...
Cornering is its forte. One sharp corner in an Elise and you're hooked. A serious speed merchant can exploit the Elise's sublime, sweet-handling chassis and slide the car around a bend with one finger. Mere mortals can enjoy the car's talents just as much by keeping everything smooth and steady. Fast in, fast out. Shake it all about. Get into a rhythm down your favourite road, and you'll believe a man can fly. If you enjoy driving fast for the sheer bloody hell of it, the Elise is just about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.
There are only a few mechanical shortcomings that interfere with your pleasure. The engine note lacks charisma. A car this sensual deserves some kind of signature howl, to remind drivers and their audience that Major Fun is in the house. The brakes need more bite and feel; they're effective rather than impressive. And the suspension crashes over potholes with so much force I checked the rear mirror for missing pieces. All that is as nothing compared to the Elise's feedback, poise and death grip on the tarmac. Even an MPV-driving school-run-Mommy could extract maximum pleasure from every one of the Elise's 120 horses.
Wait! Don't laugh. I know that's less horsepower than an entry level Honda Accord. But the fibreglass Elise is a featherweight: only 750 kgs. Provided you don't have a large lunch, the Lotus' superb power-to-weight ratio means you can mix it with the big boys. The sprint from zero to sixty takes 5.8 seconds- less than half a second behind a Porsche Carrera. Besides, when your butt's two feet off the ground, anything more than a walking pace feels fast. Sixty feels like 100. One hundred feels like… you'd be lucky mate. The Elise tops out at 118. And very nice it is too.
Anyway, you get the point: the Lotus Elise is the finest road-legal driver's car ever made. Now let's look at the practical side.