Lotus has just whisked the covers off the new, sleeker 2011 model year Elise – with a new fish-eyed face inspired by the Evora and a one-off 2007 'concept toy car' made for model car specialists Hot Wheels.
The 2011 Lotus Elise will be shown at the 2010 Geneva auto show next month. It's a modest facelift with those wedgier lamps, LED day-running lights, more pronounced grille and fresh rear bumper and engine deck, but many of the changes are under the skin.Lotus Elise 2011: the engineering changes
Norfolk continues its engine partnership with Toyota and has swapped the 1.8-litre four-pot for another Japanese-sourced four cylinder, this time downsized to 1.6 for the entry-level Elise S, sporting 134bhp and 118lb ft.
It's the 1ZR engine with Valvematic breathing apparatus and a lower redline than the previous, manic 1.8. This one revs to 7000rpm for a transient, two-second burst. More importantly, it will clip around 30g/km off the existing Elise S's CO2 figure of 179g/km.
Although less powerful than the old 1.8, the new base Elise is in fact quicker – thanks to one fewer gearchanges required to pass the benchmark 60mph in 6.0sec. The ton passes in 18.3sec and top speed stands at 124mph.So the new Lotus Elise is the exciting way to save the planet?
You could say that. We've been harping on about lightweight Elises for as long as we could remember – and we know your views on saving weight and the associated benefits to handling, performance, CO2 and economy. Although not official, Lotus is promising a mandated CO2 figure of below 155g/km, and the signs are it could even be 140-something. That's neat for a sports car.And what about the other, gutsier Elises?
The Elise R continues with the 192bhp 1.8 Toyota unit (196g/km of CO2), while the supercharged SC model develops 217bhp and just sneaks under the double-ton barrier with 199g/km of CO2.
The new 2011 model year models land in April 2010, priced very close to today's model. That means from around £26,550 for the starter S, £29,950 for the R and £32,950 for the SC.