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Lotus Elise review – is the featherweight sports car as good as ever? - Design

The Elise, with exceptional feel and control as well as compliance and ride quality, couldn’t be anything other than a Lotus

Evo rating
Price
from £31,500
  • Sublime involving chassis as well as a compliant ride; rorty four-cylinder engines
  • More powerful, hardcore models are expensive

Design

There are elements of the original Elise S1 from 1996 visible in the current car. That’s probably because its underpinnings haven’t changed hugley, but the truncated silhouette, clean styling and four-square footprint mean it has the scaled-down looks of something far more exotic.

There’s a lot of function to the Elise’s design, too. The ducting at the base of the windscreen expels air that enters through the car’s nose to cool the radiator, while air intakes set into the rear quarter guide cool air to the brakes. The rear engine cover, nestled between the buttresses, integrates two mesh grilles to improve thermodynamic efficiency.

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The Cup models deviate from the cohesive one-piece look, thanks to big front splitters, massive rear wings and protruding diffusers, but these additions do make the Cup 250 and 260 look every bit a race car for the road. 

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