You expect to be going fast in a Lotus, but time travel – surely even they can’t manage that? Well, you’d better believe it because, even though we’re barely past Easter 2010, here is the 2011 Lotus Elise.
The most obvious change is the face-lift that has made Lotus’s best-selling car look more like the recently launched Evora. The company says it gives the car a more aggressive and purposeful look, and it’s all topped off by the latest must-have automotive accessory: daytime LED running lights.
The Elise also moves from a 1.8-litre engine to a 1.6 unit, which is sourced from Toyota but controlled by Lotus’s own engine management system.
Despite its smaller size, this new engine is as powerful as the one it replaces, and gets the Elise from 0 to 60mph in just 6.0 seconds. It’s also 20% more economical. Average fuel economy is now an impressive 45.0mpg and its CO2 emissions are just 149g/km – figures you’d more readily associate with a supermini than a sports car.
On the road
The key to the more efficient performance is the Elise’s light weight, and that also pays dividends in the way the car drives. On top of the car’ wonderfully stiff body, accurate steering and superbly controlled handling, the result is one of the most enjoyable cars in the UK to drive. Yes, you need to rev the engine hard to get the best from it, but this is a sports car, so that’s all part of the fun. Besides, the new six-speed gearbox has a very slick change.
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