The Elise has never been about life's little luxuries or conveniences, but Lotus knows that as the pool of 'hardcore' customers dries up it needs to find a fresh audience for its roadster. Our long-term 111S was originally touted as being the more 'friendly' Elise, what with its carpet and optional air-con, but I've just spent a couple of days in the revised 'S', which moves the game on a comfortable step further.
The so-called '2004' Elise S has electric windows and central locking as standard - handy toys but I could live without them. Of far greater benefit are the extra sound-deadening and a double-layer hood that not only cuts out din but keeps the cabin warmer, too. Motorway miles are much more bearable in the '04 car while the additional noise suppression takes away the top-end harshness of the K-series; the Elise seems more refined as a result.
Adding to that feeling is the fact that the doors have some sort of padding inside them now (together with the compact motor for the leccy windows), so they now shut with a thunk. And, joy of joys, you can pick up radio stations in the '04 - Lotus has liberally coated the underside of the engine compartment lid with what looks like tin foil to improve reception. Guess what I'll be doing with our long-termer in the very near future...
I need to start making a list of things that need to go when I get mine! Theres certainly a *LARGE* pool of hardcore in the US that would rather not have the extra weight. Glad I'm not competeing in SCCA.