Lotus CEO promises lightweight fun, value for money

Lotus has been rolling out all sorts of updates for the Elise recently, but it’s also working on a new iteration of the sports car. Essentially 15 years old as of 2016, the current Elise will get a replacement in 2020. That’s the word from company CEO Jean-Marc Gales, who also revealed that the next-generation model will remain true to its engineering roots.

According to gales, work on the redesigned roadster has already begun as Lotus is developing an extruded aluminum chassis around the same technology that debuted in the original Elise S1 back in 1996. The platform underpins all of the company’s cars today, but Gales thinks it can be substantially improved by 2020. This is the key to keeping the new Elise as close as possible to the original, especially when it comes to lightness and handling.

Autocar claims that Lotus aims for a curb weight of 900 kg (1,984 pounds), exactly 175 (386 pounds) more than the original model. Although it may seem like a lot of extra weight for a significantly newer car, we need to keep in mind that the third-gen Elise will have to comply with stricter safety requirements, especially in the United States. On the other hand, a 900-kg third-gen Elise would be lighter than the current Elise Cup 250, which tips the scales at an amazing 921 kg (2,030 pounds).

As far as design goes, the new Elise will remain true to the current styling. Although this means that many of the current features will be carried over, Lotus will redesign enough elements to give the sports car a fresh look. The car could be wider though in order to meet U.S. crash ratings.

Unless Lotus decided to that it’s time for a massive change in the drivetrain department, the next Elise will also feature Toyota-sourced engines and transmissions. We expect the third-gen model to benefit from up to 250 horsepower.

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Why It Matters?

Although it was no mystery that Lotus was pondering a brand-new Elise, it’s great to see that Gales wants the sports car to remain true to its roots. In an era where most high-performance vehicles are loaded with too many driving aids and gadgets and are too heavy because of that, the Elise is a rare gem that keeps Colin Chapman’s "simplify, then add lightness" ethos alive. I for one am very anxious to see what the next-generation Elise has to offer.

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