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.

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.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Caterham Seven 420R Donington Edition
    First Drive
    25 July 2017
    Limited-edition road-legal Caterham track car is a superbly enthralling drive, with enough creature comforts to be used on the road as well. Even more addictive than most of its rangemates
  • McLaren 570S Spider
    First Drive
    25 July 2017
    McLaren has created its most attainable drop-top by removing the roof from the 570S coupé, but none of the car's talent has come away with it
  • 2017 Range Rover Velar
    First Drive
    23 July 2017
    The Range Rover Velar is the most road-biased car Land Rover has made. So does it still feel like a proper part of the family?
  • Seat Ibiza
    Car review
    21 July 2017
    A model upon which Seat has staked its future, the new Ibiza must now deliver
  • Honda Clarity FCV
    Car review
    21 July 2017
    Honda’s fuel cell flagship reaches its second generation, but is the world ready?