It’s amazing how time flies, isn’t it? It might not seem like the Elise has been with us for 20 years but Lotus isn’t about to let us forget that milestone with the Elise 20th Anniversary Special Edition.
Its supercharged 1.8-litre Toyota ZZ four-cylinder engine produces 217hp and 249Nm of torque and it needs just 4.6 seconds to reach 100 km/h from a standstill with its close ratio six-speed manual transmission feeding the rear wheels.
This model replaces the Elise S Club Racer in Lotus’s line-up and (we assume) seems pretty much identical to it since Lotus has not specified the changes made to the chassis or drivetrain, if any. In addition from 20th Anniversary decals scattered throughout the car, there are lighter forged wheels and colour-matched centre console that contributes to a 10kg weight saving, along with sports seats dressed in either leather or Alcantara to set it apart. It is available in the four classic Elise colours of blue, green, yellow, and silver.
Making its debut at the 1995 Frankfurt Motor Show, the mid-engine roadster rescued Lotus from fading into obscurity by returning to its roots of light weight, compact dimensions and world-beating agility and handling. It also became a template that would define Lotus’s cars for the next decade. It has been through numerous refinements throughout its lifetime and even today is regarded as the benchmark in vehicle dynamics and driver involvement.
“It’s hard to believe that the Elise has been around for 20 years,” said Jean-Marc Gales, Group Lotus CEO. “Over the years, we have improved and refined the Elise but we have also ensured that we have retained the purity of the driving experience and for the Elise to remain as the sports car to which other marques aspire.”
There's just something about cars. It's a conveyance, it's a liability, it's a tool; but it can also be a source of joy, pride, inspiration and passion. It's much like clothes versus fashion. And like the latter, the pursuit of perfection never ends.