PRODUCT: Getting more power & torque for a Lotus Elise

How do you get more performance out of a naturally aspirated Lotus Elise two door sports car? Apart from exhaust & air intake - a supercharger upgrade is the next step

Lotus Elise NA engine upgrades

Red Lotus R two door sports car naturally aspirated engine

We receive regular enquiries from owners of naturally aspirated Lotus Elise sports cars from around the world for information about increasing the power & torque available. 

For example we were asked the other day about more power for a 2004 NA Lotus Elise 111R which is stock apart from a Larini sports catalytic converter and muffler system. The owner of this Elise was interested in the process, costs & options available for upgrading the engine to get more power and torque. He uses his Elise as his weekend toy with the odd track day once in a while so his intended use is really general driving & some spirited runs rather than any motorsport application.

NA Tuning vs Supercharging

Exige S inlet manifold

Quite naturally he has begun exploring options to work out if it is possible (& whether it makes financial sense) to do upgrades to the existing naturally aspirated engine or consider other options like turbo charging, adding a supercharger to the existing engine or even an engine replacement.

Early on our engineering team decided to not explore NA upgrade paths because from a ‘horsepower per dollar’ perspective it just doesn’t stack up vs going down the path of supercharging an engine. The amount you need to spend on this type of naturally aspirated engine needs to include modifying internal engine components like;

  • Modifying and/or changing cams
  • Cylinder head porting
  • Balancing reciprocating parts
  • Possibly more giving it more compression
and that is just for starters. 
By comparison upgrading a naturally aspirated engine in a Lotus sports car with a supercharger kit means you can generally leave the engine internals alone. So while there is still a considerable investment to be made, you can spend between $10,000 and $15,000 to then have a reliable 300 to 350hp with loads of torque, but in a very drivable set up that is tried & tested around the world.

What many people have discovered is that Simply Sports Cars sells a range of engine upgrade options for Elise or Exige. We have developed all our kits using our motorsport and track day experience. Our TVS1320 ‘Upgrade’ & ‘Transform’ supercharger kits have been a popular upgrade for Elise or Exige owners wanting more performance, especially for naturally aspirated variants.

These kits were originally designed as an upgrade/ replacement for the MP62 superchargers found on the Exige S model. Over the years we have created a number of variations in the components available so that our kit can suit different model years, usage scenarios & cater to what is already installed on your vehicle.

Our TVS1320 kits are extremely popular & are sold around the world. Although, one of the issues with this kit when doing an NA conversion has been the change in parts and availability of certain components. 

Getting access to two essential parts (or equivalents) being a) the inlet manifold & b) the swan neck has proven difficult as both parts are now obsolete from Lotus. They are longer made or supplied & we currently don’t have an alternative supplier. These parts are fitted as standard to an Exige S for example but for other vehicle models they would need to be custom fabricated to be able to complete an upgrade.

It means for many people purchasing & having this supercharger kit installed may not be possible if you don’t have the capacity to have the fabrication work carried out or be able to source those components elsewhere. For workshops that can carry out this type of work, racing teams etc then it’s quite possible to use this kit.


What other things have to be considered when thinking about supercharging


Where are you located?

For Australian customers we are able to provide support in Sydney or Melbourne via our workshops or via 3rd parties in other states.

For International customers we can ship worldwide but you will need to locate someone who is qualified to install these types of vehicle upgrades that can assist you.


Who will be doing the installation?
Our team can provide installation and set up services at our workshop as well as trackside assistance if required in Sydney or Melbourne. For some clients if they are undertaking a motorsport program we also have options to provide support for a series or multiple events.

Some people choose to do it themselves if they have the experience or tools and alternatively we can provide instructions to local workshops.



Who will tune the engine?
Simply Sports Cars does sell a standalone ECU that is used for different kits that we sell or suitable applications. We can also help with using systems from other manufacturers to help complete your vehicle upgrades. Obviously the need will vary by vehicle, type of use etc but we can provide advice on the best path to take. 

ECU & tuning should be part of your consideration process to make sure performance is maximised. 

Unfortunately we are no longer able to provide and support an ECU solution internationally. Unfortunately with this kit, the hardware changes are too significant for the OEM Lotus ECU to be able to effectively control it. For the best results, you would need to go to a standalone ECU. We can provide advice / suggestions on the best path forward.



How can you improve power of a Lotus Elise engine?


If you don’t have a budget of $10,000 or more to put towards a supercharger upgrade then the other alternative to improve the responsiveness of your Elise NA engine is to consider;

  • Cold air intake induction kit to improve ‘breathability’
  • Sports exhaust & header system.

Just in case you are reading this & you have a stock supercharged Elise we have other upgrade options available like our 2ZR Level 1 and Level 2 upgrade kits, induction kits, performance headers that increase performance. This is part of a whole range of performance upgrades we have developed to be used on Elise, Exige or Evora that we sell in Australia or around the world.

Just speak to our team using the contact form below with your vehicle year, model, engine configuration and we can guide you on what steps to take to improve your vehicle’s performance.

Explore our range of Lotus Elise upgrades

Would you like more details about this product?