The Type 100 Elan and Elan SE went on sale in 1989. Lotus was owned by General Motors at the time and a significant budget (rumored to be in the region of £35 million) was made available to design a successor to the original Elan. The resulting 2 seater convertible utilised a front mouted 1.6l Isuzu engine and drove the front wheels via a 5 speed gearbox. The entry level Elan was normally aspirated (130bhp) and the Elan SE was turbo charged (165bhp).
Unique to this iteration of the Elan is the fact that this is the first Lotus to use front wheel drive. This bold decision was taken as the 1980s were the years of the front drive hot hatches and it was deemed that customers would feel comfortable and safe upgrading to the new front drive Elan. Road tests of the car generally resulted in positive feedback to the 'clever' front suspension that reduced torque steer normally associated with high powered front wheel drive vehicles.
The production run was scheduled at 3,000 to 3,5000 units per annum. However due to low sales, production ceased in 1992. In 1994 Bugatti the new owners of Lotus, discovered 800 Isuzu engines in stock and decided on a limited production run of 800 Elan S2 cars. When the limted run was complete Lotus sold the Elan production line and rights to Kia. In total 4655 Elan M100s were made from 1989 to 1995.
A good on line source for Lotus Elan M100 information is the Lotus Elan Central site (see link below).
Other good sources of information are:
'The Lotus Book' book by William Taylor (ISBN 1-902351-00-2)
'Lotus the Legend' book by David Hodges (ISBN 0-75252-074-1)
Please see below for the Lotus Elan M100's statistics. Please note that the source of the performance data is sometimes official Lotus Cars data and sometimes independent magazine review data.
|Name||Production Years||Max. Power bhp||Max. Torque lb.ft||Top Speed mph||0-60mph sec||Comment|
|Elan||1989-92||130@7200rpm||105@4200rpm||121||7.6s||Rare normal aspirated engined|
|Elan SE||1989-92||165@6600rpm||148@4200rpm||137||6.5s||IHI Turbo charged.|
|Elan S2||1994-95||155@6600rpm||145@4200rpm||137||6.6s||Power down due to catalytic converter being fitted.|