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by George Skentzos

The new generation 2011 Lotus Elise has been officially unveiled, boasting a dramatic new look, a raft of changes and enhancements, and a new entry-level 1.6-litre powerplant.

Adopting the evolutionary Lotus design trends introduced with the Lotus Evora, the new Lotus Elise stamps its reputation as the most efficient high performance sportscar in the world.

The new front clamshell, rear bumper and engine cover inspired by the Lotus Evora flow seamlessly over to the Lotus Elise while also improving its drag coefficient by four per cent over the previous model.

At he front, newly designed headlamps feature integrated LED daytime running lamps and indicators while the Lotus “mouth” has been refined into a much crisper form, flanked by new air intakes.

The rear end changes are headlined by a distinctive “twin-spine” engine cover which became a necessity to fit the taller 1ZR engine, while a more aggressive rear diffuser has been wrapped under a restyled rear bumper with an integrated license plate holder.

A choice of two wheel options is also available, comprising incredibly light forged wheels which are 2.14kg lighter per set than the new cast wheels, finished in either black or silver.

The new entry model Lotus Elise uses a 1.6-litre ZR-FAE engine provided by Toyota which produces 100kW at 6800rpm and 160Nm, slotted through a new six speed close ratio transmission.

While this may not seem like a lot of power, with the car weighing in at only 876kg – making it one of the lightest fully homologated sportscars in the world – zero to 100km/h arrives in 6.7 seconds.

Impressively, the Lotus Elise emits less than 155 g of CO2 per km and combined fuel consumption is just 6.14 litres per 100km – an improvement of over 23 per cent compared to the previous entry level Lotus Elise.

Dany Bahar, Chief Executive of Group Lotus said, “The Lotus Elise revolutionised the sportscar when it was launched 14 years ago and now the Lotus Elise has become greener, giving drivers access to class leading performance with less guilt.”

Cruise control is also available on the Lotus Elise for the first time as part of the Touring pack.

The Lotus Elise boasts high performance AP Racing callipers at the front and Brembo callipers at the rear linked to 282 mm vented and cross-drilled rotors.

Combined with a performance tuned ABS system linked to a lightweight pedal box with an electronic (drive-by-wire) throttle, even the base Lotus Elise is a formidable track weapon straight from the showroom.

Performance

Lotus Elise
0 – 100 km/h 6.7 seconds
Maximum speed 200 km/h (124 mph)

Lotus Elise R
0 – 100 km/h 5.4 seconds
Maximum speed 222 km/h (138 mph)

Lotus Elise SC
0 – 100 km/h 4.6 seconds
Maximum speed 233 km/h (145 mph)




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