This is what the Lotus Elise is about, and this is where it absolutely excels. The tactile pleasure begins from the moment its wheels revolve, the steering taking instant effect, its sensitivity just so, the Lotus turning with total obedience. Add lock and the lightness turns to heft as the castor and trail angle take effect, providing enough resistance that you sometimes have to put some muscle into turning the wheel, a sensation almost alien to drivers of modern power-assisted cars.
But that’s part of the pleasure of this Lotus, and the feedback that it provides is more than worth the effort. Especially as it’s such a fabulously well-balanced projectile, the mid-mounted engine (and some fat rear tyres) generating excellent traction and a neutral angle of attack that can be deliciously trimmed with the angle of your right foot. Only tight hairpins charged hard generate noticeable understeer; in faster turns it generates the kind of stability that encourages you to drive this car with exhilarating abandon.
Of course, this Elise is hardly a searingly rapid supercar, but the fact that you can drive it flat out more of the time makes this a hugely rewarding weapon. That its control weights are well matched and the brakes generate superb stopping power via a firm and consistent brake pedal only adds to the pleasure.
As does a ride quality that’s far more supple than you’d expect of a diminutive sportster. The Lotus absorbs most small bumps with limited physical disturbance unless the pothole is deep, in which case you’ll feel some kickback through the wheel, while long crests and dips are handled with aplomb. Ridges provoke a bit of a thump from the low-compliance rear end, and there’s a hum of road noise.