The seats in the Elise and SE are excellent, and my guess is that anybody who drives an Alfa currently is probably going to go for the SE / Sri or above rather than the bargain basement no frills versions which has very ordinary seats.
I would guess this is what the rentals have..
The Elite seats were adjustable in every which way, perfection was easy to find (I think the SE has the same seats).
I wasn't overly impressed with the SRis seats , or indeed the SRi itself, I thought the standard car (SE and greater) handled just as well and was a lot more comfortable ..plus had a much better interior.
I have only driven the 160 non EcoFlex models, which my all accounts are better than the newer EcoFlex ones with stupidly long gear ratios.
This car jumped all over the Mondeo and Mazda 6 for me, both of which underwhelmed me.
I'm not a doctor - but I really do recommend braking later