Though the sleek and svelte-looking Elise roadster has previously been sold throughout Europe, it debuts on American shores for 2005 and replaces the long-running Esprit in Lotus’ U.S. line. A fuel-efficient 190-horsepower Toyota 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine is mated to a six-speed manual transmission and promises 0-60 mph times at around five seconds. The vehicle’s bonded and extruded all-aluminum lightweight chassis is said to afford exceptional structural rigidity, which in turn translates into improved ride and handling characteristics. Anti-lock brakes, air conditioning, and a CD player are among its standard features. An optional Touring Pack includes a leather-trimmed interior, while a Sports Pack features an upgraded suspension with performance wheels and tires (16 inches in the front and 17 at the rear). A hard top is offered for when the weather turns nasty.

2005 Lotus Elise by Marty Padgett (4/26/2004)
It’s all or nothing for the sprite-sized successor to the Esprit and Elan.

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