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Lotus Elise Turbo

Travel-Sized Track Monster

"Simplify—then add lightness," was the credo of Colin Chapman, Lotus' famed founder. Though it debuted years after Chapman's death, the Elise certainly lives up to his philosophy, weighing less than a ton and giving the driver a more direct connection to the road or track than just about any other car. Lotus built this tiny machine out of fiberglass and aluminum and added nothing that wasn't necessary for its purpose as a track car with impeccable handling—and even removed a few amenities most people take for granted, like power steering and cupholders—just like Chapman would have wanted.

We couldn't help ourselves, though: we added a custom one-off turbocharger system, which nearly doubles the stock horsepower to 310, considerably outpacing the Elise's stablemate, the Exige (and even its high-end factory derivatives such as the Exige SC). We also installed a dialed-in Öhlins coilover suspension and enough carbon fiber to build a small airplane, eliminating as much weight as we added. The result of all this, even after sneaking in a custom iPod-integrated audio and satellite navigation system, is a fire-breathing monster of an Elise that will streak past even the craziest of supercars, while still retaining its fabled race-bred handling and startlingly good looks.

With this list of features, our turbo Elise is sure to be the baddest go-kart you'll ever drive:

  • Custom GT28RS turbo system
  • Custom race aero kit (rear diffuser, side skirts, and carbon fiber chin and decklid spoilers)
  • Available with either soft or hard top
  • Full JL Audio entertainment system w/ iPod support
  • Integrated GPS navigation
  • Racelogic traction control
  • Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires
  • HID headlights

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(Click any image for a larger version)

Turbo Elise at 8,000 rpm
Run time: 00:21

Top Gear's The Stig gives an Exige the beans
Run time: 01:38
(Click any image to play video)