Lotus Elise – a history in pictures

The Lotus Elise is 20 years old in 2015 - here are ten of the best Lotus ever made

Nothing makes you feel old like discovering a seminal vehicle has passed a major milestone.

In this instance, it’s the Lotus Elise. The original made its debut at the 1995 Frankfurt motor show, and while it went on sale to customers in 1996, that makes one of the Hethel firm’s most significant models 20 years old this year.

Subscribe to evo magazine

evo is 21 and to celebrate, we're returning to 1998 prices! Subscribe now to SAVE 39% on the shop price and get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £25!

Amazingly, not a lot has changed – underneath, you’ll still find the same bonded aluminium chassis, and while the modern Toyota power units are a far cry from that original 1.8 Rover K-series, the bodywork that shrouds it is only a little different from Julian Thompson’s original roadster.

Throughout its time on sale, the Elise has nevertheless spawned dozens of incredible variants, some of which bearing only passing resemblance to the car underneath.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

While evo didn’t exist when the Elise was first produced, we’ve since driven every variant there is, exposing us to a car that’s undoubtedly one of a handful that truly represents evo’s ‘the thrill of driving’ ethos.  

From the original car to stripped-out specials and the latest, V6-engined Exige S, we’ve pulled together a gallery of the best Elise and Elise-based models Lotus has ever made.

Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/audi/rs5/202038/facelift-for-2020-audi-rs5-rs5-sportback
Audi RS5

Facelift for 2020 Audi RS5, RS5 Sportback

10 Dec 2019
Visit/jaguar/f-type/22839/2020-jaguar-f-type-revealed
Jaguar F-Type

2020 Jaguar F-type revealed 

2 Dec 2019
Visit/lexus/rc/f
Lexus RC F

2019 Lexus RC F review

2 Dec 2019
Visit/bmw/z4/202003/bmw-z4-m40i-pumped-up-to-394bhp-by-ac-schnitzer

BMW Z4 M40i pumped up to 394bhp by AC Schnitzer

29 Nov 2019
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/ford/focus-hatchback/202030/2019-ford-focus-ecoboost-review-a-family-favourite-past-its-prime
Ford Focus Hatchback

2019 Ford Focus EcoBoost review

Some might suggest the UK is falling out of love with family hatchbacks, but the Focus EcoBoost is a good reminder of why it remains a compelling pack…
9 Dec 2019
Visit/mclaren/202028/mclaren-620r-goes-for-the-gt3-rs-jugular
McLaren

McLaren 620R goes for the GT3 RS jugular

Limited run extreme Sports Series McLaren 620R road car brings GT4 aero to the road.
9 Dec 2019
Visit/news/22743/first-details-of-the-gordon-murray-automotive-t50-hypercar-revealed
News

Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 hypercar revealed

A true successor to the McLaren F1, Gordon Murray Automotive has revealed more about its spectacular T.50 hypercar
10 Dec 2019
Visit/features/22907/hyundai-i30-fastback-n-versus-the-col-de-turini
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Col de Turini

We take the Hyundai i30 Fastback N up the Col de Turini, a 31km stage of the Monte Carlo World Rally Championship
19 Jul 2019