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Lotus celebrates 20 years of Elise
The Lotus Elise is 20 years old. That’s a sentence strong enough to make even the younger, chirpier members of the TG office go slightly wistful, staring into the middle distance muttering “20? Already?”
It’s true, though. And Lotus is marking two decades (and nearly 32,000 sales) since its little roadster’s 1995 Frankfurt show debut in the only way the car industry knows how: a good old special edition.
In the Elise’s case, though, it’s truly deserved. The tiny two-seater reinvigorated Lotus all those years ago, its sweetly balanced dynamics and oh-so-right Julian Thomson design mated to an accessible £19,000 price tag.
That may make the £39,900 Elise 20th Anniversary Edition look a right rip off, but apply 20 years of inflation to the original Elise’s price tag and you stop just short of £32,000. And that’s pretty much what a base Elise will cost you now.
So what does your extra cash buy you here? The 20th Anniversary uses the Elise S’s more potent, supercharged 1.8-litre engine, with a handy 217bhp and 185lb ft with which to shift its 914kg.
That’s 10kg down on a standard Elise S, thanks to some lightweight wheels and sports seats, while air con and a stereo are optional rather than standard.
As such, 0-62mph takes 4.6secs while the top speed is 145mph. The first ever Elise may have weighed a scant 731kg, but with just 118bhp, it was over a second slower to 62mph.
Lotus describes it as a special, rather than limited edition, and the 20th Anniversary effectively replaces the Club Racer model in the range. As such, there are no production numbers being toted.
Nevertheless, there are 20th Anniversary decals ahoy, and you’ve a choice of four ‘classic Elise’ colours: blue, green, yellow and silver.
We’re big fans of the Elise here, and this is undeniably a very lovely way to give it the ‘This is your Life’ treatment. But it’s also Porsche Boxster money. To which dealer would your £40,000 be lobbed?