Sam Philip16 February 2010

New Lotus Elise: 26 per cent cheerier!

Facelifted lightweight icon gets happy new face and a new 1.6-litre engine

Lotus Elise

Lotus has unveiled its revised Elise and, ahhh, look, it's all happy to see you.

The facelifted Elise gets a cheery new face, courtesy of a revised front bumper, splitter and clamshell. It even gets LED running lights. LED running lights! On a Lotus Elise! Next they'll be telling us it's got night vision cameras.

Round the back, the engine cover and rear bumper have been sharpened up, too, but it's the mechanical stuff underneath that's most interesting.

The entry-level Elise gets a new 1.6-litre, 134bhp four-pot petrol engine - the first time the Elise has been fitted with a 1.6 - that emits 'under 155g/km of CO2'.

Lotus claims this gives it ‘the lowest CO2 per performance for any petrol high-performance sports car in the world': a bold claim, but one we're struggling to refute. Anyone want to take a punt?

The 189bhp 'R' and 218bhp supercharged ‘SC' Elises remain powered by the familiar 1.8-litre unit. Their CO2 emissions remain at 196g/km and 199g/km respectively.

Other Elise excitement includes a new close-ratio six-speed gearbox across the range and - wait for it - cruise control. See? Told you. What next for the Elise? Lane departure warning systems and... an automatic gearbox? Surely not...

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