The six short years we had the Lotus Elise in the U.S. was not enough time to enjoy the storied British brand, and now, Lotus taunts us Yanks with two new variants of its perennial sports roadster.
The two new models serve as replacements for the departing Elise 1.6 and Elise S models. The new Elise Sport and Elise Sport 220 both bring the same level of performance and agility we have come to know and love from Lotus, with a 24-pound weight reduction on both models, thanks in part to a new lightweight performance battery.
Under the hood of the Sport lies the same 1.6-liter four-cylinder as the previous model, pushing out the same 134 hp and 118 lb-ft of torque as it did before. Despite the relatively low power, the four-banger doesn’t have much car to push around, with the Elise Sport weighing in at 1,909 pounds. This results in a 0-60 mph time of 6.0 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 127 mph.
The Elise Sport 220 ups the power and performance, with a supercharged variant of the same 1.6-liter engine. Now, 217 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque boosts the roadster to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds, charging up to its top speed of 145 mph, thanks to its 2,015 pound weight.
Perhaps the best part of the new Elise roadsters is the optional tartan interior, which features classic plaid seat and door panel inserts that hearken back to the glory days of Lotus in the mid-1970s.
Want to put one in your driveway? Tough luck, as the Elise remains forbidden fruit for the U.S. market because it doesn’t meet our safety regulations. With a bit more coin, however, you can get your hands on the larger and much more powerful Lotus Evora 400 on our shores.