This Series 2 Elise model comes in a European 111R version or a version sold in North America, called the Federal Elise. It is powered by the all-aluminium 189 horsepower (141 kW) 1.8L DOHC Toyota ZZ engine with a Yamaha designed twin-cam head offering variable valve timing on both intake and exhaust valvetrain, and a 6speed manual Toyota C64 gearbox. The Series 2 model is acclaimed as the best version of the Elise to date, with tremendous performance numbers. Many tests show 0–60 miles per hour (97 km/h) in approximately 4.9 seconds, or 4.7 seconds with the Sport Package. The engine management computer is a Lotus programmed unit.
The 2005 Lotus Elise was the first to be sold commercially in the United States, in the summer of 2004. Approval for the Elise, however, required intervention by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) which provided a three-year exemption for the car, as it had failed to meet US bumper and headlight regulations. The first-year model suffered from a few flaws, most notably a design flaw in the headlamps that magnified the sun’s light, allowing the inside of the lamp housings to be melted by the sun.
This model was followed up by the 2006 Model Year Elise 111R and SportRacer models. Lotus made a limited edition (50 in the US) version called the Lotus Sport Elise. 2006 models differ from the 2005 models in a few aspects. 2006 models sport LED tail lights, drive by wire (an updated ECU), improved fuel consumption, and more comfortable ProBax seats.
For the 2007 model year Lotus several minor changes were made. The LOTUS decals on the rear of the vehicle, previously flat stickers, were replaced by raised lettering. The headlamp units were sealed. Also, in order to comply with US Federally mandated bumper restrictions, the frontal crash structure was slightly changed and rear bumperettes were added next to the licence plate mount. Approximately 100 2007 model year “launch” cars were shipped to the US without these bumper changes. Also in 2007, the Elise S was released and the 111R renamed Elise R. All Lotus Elise cars manufactured after 1 January 2007 include the new headlights and 2.5 mph (4.0 km/h) bumpers, although they are hidden in the front.
The Elise S is the new base model with a Toyota sourced 1.8 L engine replacing the previous models K series Rover engine. The 2ZZ-GE engine produces 189 bhp (141 kW; 192 PS) at 6,200 rpm (a considerable increase over the 120 bhp or 89 kW or 122 PS of the Rover engine). The inclusion of airbags, ABS brakes, electric windows, and carpet in addition to the new heavier engine has increased the base weight to 860 kg (1,896 lb) (approximately 85 kg or 187 lb higher than the previous S model).