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Hitting the Surrey Hills in a Lotus Elise S Club Racer

PUBLISHED: 18:14 03 June 2014 | UPDATED: 18:14 03 June 2014

Lotus Elise S Club Racer

Lotus Elise S Club Racer

Archant

Motoring correspondent Ade Holder takes the new Lotus Elise S Club Racer for a spin around Box Hill and beyond – and receives some admiring glances en route...

The Gear Box

What: Lotus Elise S Club Racer

Cost: From £35,600

Speed: 0-60mph in well under 4.5 seconds

Where from: Bell and Colvill, West Horsley. Visit bellandcolvill.com for more information

***

You might say I was being silly if I were to talk about a car with a Toyota Prius engine, no power steering, less interior carpet than a doormat all crammed into a £40,000-ish package. You might say I was mad, even. You would, however, certainly be very, very wrong...

The Lotus Elise S Club Racer is a triumph. It is as near as I think I could get to owning the road-going version of my favourite childhood Scalextric car. But please don’t think for a second this means it’s a child’s toy. This is a toy for grown-ups who remember what it was like to smile like a 10-year-old racing wannabe.

The Elise is the baby of the Lotus family. Rather than a thumping V6, the boffins have managed to turn what started life as a 1.8 litre economy engine from Toyota into a supercharged rocket booster – and yet it still seems to have great fuel economy.

This car is not about stats, so let’s not get too bogged down with them, but the Elise will run to 60mph in well under 4.5 seconds; it carries around nearly 250bhp; and is capable of over 145 mph.

But no, it’s not about stats, it’s about emotion. Take it from me that the moment you press the Elise S Club Racer’s start button, you will be whooping away like a lottery winner.

A lean machine

Being a stripped down version of the classic Elise, it has been put on a rather vigorous diet and all the faddy fasting days have certainly paid off.

In terms of performance and agility, this car is a winner, but don’t expect the luxury you might find in a Porsche Boxster or Audi TT. The Elise is a racer and it makes no bones about it. Who cares about leather seats and electric convertible roofs when you are having more fun than Sid James at a dirty laughs contest?

The roof is something you have to dismantle yourself; the seats have what can only be described as a thin cushion in critical areas; the rest of the interior is largely uncovered metal.

If all of this has left you a little unsure if this car is for you, I can assure you it is – well, it is if you have any sense of fun.

As always, I like to have a spin up Box Hill in Surrey Life’s test cars, and the Elise just comes alive on that kind of road, with its agonisingly tight steering and poise, masses of power for the uphill climb and the wind in your hair.

But a little cruise through Wimbledon Village was equally entertaining for a rather different reason. This car is a real head-turner. A child actually shouted “Lamborghini!” at me. “No sir, this is a Lotus, and I am very proud it is…”

If you want a fun car, a track car or a cool car that’s proud to be British, you should certainly pop to Bell and Colvill and ask to take the Elise S Club Racer for a spin!

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