Launched in 1996 as a rear-wheel-drive, mid-engined roadster, the Lotus Elise replaced the aging Elan in the company’s lineup. Initially powered by a 118-horsepower, 1.8-liter Rover engine, the little roadster weighed only 1,598 pounds and was able to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in only 5.8 seconds. More powerful iterations, including one that came with 190 horsepower on tap, were released until the first-generation model was replaced in 2001. The second-gen sports car came with revised exterior styling and a refreshed interior, while the Rover engine was dropped in favor of a Toyota -sourced, 1.8-liter four-banger. The second-gen Elise received a mild facelift in 2011, when an entry-level, 1.6-liter unit was introduced for the European market. As we’re moving closer to 2015, Lotus began testing a new version of the Elise on the Nurburgring track.
Spotted for the very first time by our skilled paparazzi, this Elise prototype appears to be a road-legal version of the track-prepped Cup R model launched in 2013.
Click past the jump to read about the Lotus Elise R