From £27,5008

Is the Lotus Elise still the last word in open-top British sports car fun?

The Lotus Elise first appeared in 1996 and revolutionised small sports car design with its lightweight extruded aluminium chassis and composite body. There have been many variations, but the basic principle remain the same.

The latest updates, made in 2011, have included new headlights and tail-lights, improved aerodynamics, new alloy wheel designs and an extension of the warranty from two years to three and 36,000 miles.

It’s the least expensive version of the car that receives most attention

The plainly named Lotus Elise Sport is the base model, and gets a 1.6-litre Toyota engine with variable valve lift as well as variable valve timing. It delivers 118lb ft of torque and 134bhp. The combination of the new engine and revised gearing has produced a 16 percent reduction in CO2 emissions over the previous entry-level small Lotus. The rest of the range is made up of the Sport 220, Cup 250, 250 Special Edition and the Race 250 track special.

Lotus Elise First drives