Road Tests Real world tests of Elise 111S vs M3 (E46)


Elise 111S M3 (E46) Coupe @
BMW estimates the M3 will hit 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds and will eat up a quarter-mile in 13.5 seconds—on a par with the 911 Carrera and Corvette - and we think those numbers are accurate.
M3 (E46) Coupe | by Car and Driver (Dec, 2000)

Top speed

Elise 111S
133 mph
M3 (E46) Coupe
155 mph
BMW says the individual throttle valves, which are positioned much closer to the intake ports than in a conventional single throttle body, improve throttle response.
M3 (E46) Coupe | by Car and Driver (Dec, 2000)


Elise 111S
14.4 s
It was also pretty effective against the Stalker gun, forcing error messages from 1100 feet down to 200 feet coming at the gun, and from 0 to 1000 feet going away.
M3 (E46) Coupe | by Car and Driver (Mar, 2003)

1/4 mile

Elise 111S
13.9 s
With 1940 miles on it, we took the M3 to the test track and measured a 0-to-60 time of 4.5 seconds and a standing quarter-mile of 13.1 seconds at 107 mph.
M3 (E46) Coupe | by Car and Driver (Mar, 2003)

Differences What are the advantages of each

Front view of Lotus Elise 111S

Reasons to consider the
Lotus Elise 111S

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Much lighter curb weight 1,694 lb vs 3,461 lb 2x lighter curb weight; less inertia to overcome when accelerating
Default view of BMW M3 (E46)

Reasons to consider the
BMW M3 (E46) Coupe

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Faster top speed 155 mph vs 133 mph 22 more mph; leaves lesser cars in the dust on the straights
Way more more powerful engine 343 HP @ 7,900 RPM vs 145 HP @ 7,000 RPM More than 2.2x stronger engine
More torque 269 ft-lb @ 4,900 RPM vs 129 ft-lb @ 4,500 RPM More than 2x stronger engine from a stand-still; more acceleration power
Faster to 100mph 11.7 s vs 14.4 s Around 20% faster to 100mph
Slightly faster in the quarter mile 13.5 s vs 13.9 s Around 5% faster at the drag strip
Bigger engine 3,246 cc vs 1,800 cc More than 80% bigger engine
Better power-to-weight ratio 10.09 lb/hp vs 11.68 lb/hp Around 15% better power-to-weight ratio

Specifications Full list of technical specs


Elise 111S  vs
M3 (E46) 
Brand Lotus BMW
Price 40,682 46,000
Year 1999-2001 2001-2007

power & handling

Power-to-weight ratio 11.68 lb/hp 10.09 lb/hp
Maximum hp 145 HP @ 7,000 RPM 343 HP @ 7,900 RPM
Maximum torque 129 ft-lb @ 4,500 RPM 269 ft-lb @ 4,900 RPM
Engine placement Mid Front
Steering system Rack and pinion Rack and pinion


Displacement 1,800 cc 3,246 cc

physical dimensions

Curb weight 1,694 lb 3,461 lb

road tests

Elise 111S  vs
M3 (E46) 
Top speed 133 mph 155 mph
1/4 mile 13.9 s 13.5 s
0-60mph 5.4 s 5.1 s
0-100mph 14.4 s 11.7 s


Drivetrain RWD Rear wheel drive
Gearing Traditional Traditional
# of gears 5 6

suspension, wheels & brakes

Front brakes Disc Disc
Rear brakes Disc Disc
Lotus Elise 111S
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BMW M3 (E46) Coupe
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