The next-generation Elise that never made it in showrooms

Sold off to several companies after Colin Chapman’s death in 1982, including General Motors, Lotus ended up under Proton ownership in 1996. Although the British company was still struggling to rebound following two decades of financial hardship, the stability that came with the Proton purchase allowed Lotus to consider redesigning its sports car lineup. Launched in 1996, the Elise was more than 10 years old by 2010 and the company was hoping to offer a redesigned model in 2015. To preview what was supposed to become the Elise Series 4, Lotus introduced the Elise 2015 Concept at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show.

Compared to the then-new Series 3 production Elise launched for 2011, the concept was a radical departure styling wise and had a brand-new engine behind the rear seats. It also showcased technology previously unavailable in a Lotus, such as stop/start. On the other hand, the more modern technology made the Elise Concept significantly heavier than the existing model, which made purists rightfully unhappy about the transformation.

Fortunately for them, but obviously unfortunately for the company, the concept sports car never made it into production as Lotus continued to struggle financially and nearly went bankrupt in 2013. The Elise Series 3 soldiered on until 2016 with minor changes and it’s still waiting to get a makeover, which will most likely happen in 2017. With the concept already six years old as of 2016, it’s safe to assume that Lotus no longer wants to put it in production, but it’s a vehicle that deserves some attention for its polarizing design. Also, it’s a good way to understand how Lotus viewed the sports car market back in 2010.

Continue reading to learn more about the Lotus Elise Concept.


2010 Lotus Elise Concept High Resolution Exterior
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2010 Lotus Elise Concept High Resolution Exterior
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2010 Lotus Elise Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Featuring sharp lines, a low stance, and slender headlamps and taillights, the Elise Concept had nothing in common with the production model it was supposed to release. Its styling harked back to the first-generation Esprit of the wedge car design era and at the time of its released preview Lotus’ new design direction. The rounded bumper intake seen on previous cars was replaced by a trapezoidal-shaped opening flanked by side vents for brake cooling. The V-shaped front hood and the thin headlamps gave it a more modern and aggressive appearance.

The sculpted rear fenders of the production car were kept on the concept too, but the side intakes were removed. Instead, Lotus added two smaller vents in the C-pillars. The wavy beltline made the car seem wider, while the carbon-fiber roof and side mirrors, and the concave wheels gave it a high-tech feel that other Lotus vehicle didn’t have.

The rear section was also new compared to the production Elise, but the bumper and the center section of the fascia remained familiar. Slim, one-piece taillights replaced the quad round units, while the diffuser had a race-inspired design. The engine hood with the flying buttresses and grille cover paid homage to classic Lotus models of the 1960s and 1970s.


2010 Lotus Elise Concept Interior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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The interior of the Elise Concept was also high-tech compared to the production model, featuring huge amounts of carbon-fiber and aluminum. The overall design was spartan, a Lotus trademark, but the traditional instrument cluster was replaced with a fully digital unit. The center console was inspired from racing and featured only a handful of buttons, with most control positioned on the steering wheel. The dashboard ran into the door panels to form a wrap-around design. The black, gray and silver colors of the interior were highlighted by golden inserts, while the seats featured tartan surfaces in a nod to the original Esprit.


2010 Lotus Elise Concept High Resolution Exterior
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The Elise Concept was presented with a brand-new, supercharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Larger than the Toyota-sourced 1.8-liter unit offered in the production Elise, the unit was also significantly more powerful, being estimated to generate 320 PS and 330 Nm of torque (315 horsepower and 243 pound-feet). The update was significant compared with the Series 3 model that debuted in 2010 with 217 horses.

Lotus claimed that the production model based on the concept should hit 62 mph in 4.3 seconds and accelerate up to a top speed of 270 km/h (168 mph). Not bad for a Lotus that tipped the scales at 1,095 kg (2,414 pounds). For reference, the heaviest Series 3 model weighed only 914 kg (2,015 pounds).

The engine had stop/start technology and was supposed to mate to either a six-speed manual or a dual-clutch transmission. Lotus also estimated carbon-dioxide emissions of only 150 g/km. It might not seem like much in 2016, but it was pretty impressive for a sports car back in 2010.


2010 Lotus Elise Concept Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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When it was presented in 2010, the Elise Concept 2015 left many enthusiasts impressed. The design was fantastic, the interior was true to Lotus’ heritage, while the new engine promised significant improvements in terms of output and performance. The new Elise was also supposed to be the most fuel-efficient and less-polluting Lotus. The company even went as far as to say that the upcoming model will be "class-leading in terms of performance and efficiency," a bold claim that the Brits never got the chance to put into practice. The sluggish sales and the brand’s financial problems between 2011 and 2013 not only postponed the project, but killed it altogether. It’s a shame that the Elise 2015 never saw the light of day, but on the other hand it gave Lotus the opportunity to further develop the Series 3, which is nothing to sneeze at in 2016, even when pitted against the Porsche 718 Boxster/Cayman. Hopefully Lotus learned a few things while developing the Elise Concept and will use that knowledge to deliver an impressive next-generation sports car.

  • Leave it
    • Never made it into production
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert -
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
About the author


Press release

Oh yes, here it is! There’s still room for the Elise at Lotus but what a difference a decade or two makes. The Elise due for release in 2015 is a sexy, agile beast of a car. Finally the Elise comes of age.

Aesthetically it’s definitely pleasing to the eye, it’s bold directional body gives you subtle hints of the Elise of old so it still seems a touch familiar but at the same time, it couldn’t be more different.

2010 Lotus Elise Concept Interior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Perhaps a small example of how the car has changed would help. Aside from strong graphic styling, the practicality of the car has had a major overhaul too with sizeable improvements made to the ingress and egress – in simple terms, no more acrobatics but still all the fun you expect from the Elise.

Dany Bahar, Chief Executive Officer of Group Lotus, said: “We worked very hard on getting the Elise 2015 exactly right, it’s our entry level car so it needs to give a proper introduction to the Lotus driving experience.”

“The Elise you can buy now is still a fantastic car, make no mistake, Lotus remain very proud of it, but this is a natural progression for us moving forward. The Elise 2015 will also be class-leading in terms of performance and efficiency but it will do more than that it will take the Elise model to the forefront of its class across the board.”

2010 Lotus Elise Concept Interior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
- image 376261

“The design of the Elise 2015 is perfect for the target market, it’s young, strong, confident, verging on ruthless, it mirrors the engineering and technology. It’s the next generation Elise for a new generation of Lotus drivers.”

Fear not though, despite the dramatic upgrades the Elise 2015 has lost none of the cheeky charm that made the two-seater sports car famous, it still retains performance through lightweight and handles like a dream – albeit a quite aggressive and tension filled dream. With a 2.0 litre inline 4 pressure charged engine delivering up to 320 PS, the Elise 2015 should reach 0-100kph in under 4.5 seconds.

The Elise 2015, proving great things come to those who wait.

2010 Lotus Elise Concept Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
- image 376263


  • Layout  2 seater, mid-engined, rear wheel drive
  • Engine Petrol with start/stop option
  • Hybrid technology Mild hybrid, i.e. start/stop technology
  • Cylinder 4
  • Capacity 2.0 litre
  • Power/Torque 320 PS / 330 Nm
  • Rev limit 7,800 rpm
  • 0-100 km/h 4.3 seconds
  • Top speed 270 km/h
  • CO2 approx (CO2/km) 150 g/km**
  • Weight 1,095 kg
  • Seats 2
  • Transmission 6 Speed Manual, DCT optional
  • Drive RWD
  • Start of production Early 2015
  • Enters the market Spring 2015
  • Price indication Circa £35,000
View the full press release Hide press release
Press release
What do you think?
Show Comments


  (1) posted on 07.18.2012

This car looks awesome! If the price stays around $55k I will be one of the first in line!

  (502) posted on 12.29.2011

It looks like Superlegera. They are both a good-looking car, which I really want for my car, smiley a head Turner one. The handling and the dashboard seem so amazing! I want to see the road test on it.

  (347) posted on 12.13.2011

It looks so unique on its platform, and it is really noticeable on that! Well, I only hope that Elise is not an electric vehicle just like the other concept car. Moreover, I also hope that it has an interesting technology.

  (594) posted on 11.17.2011

Elise is truly looking so awesome on its platform, and this one is really a head turner! Anyway, I love th over-all features of it, including its impressive engine specification.

  (374) posted on 11.9.2011

I just noticed that Elise had a very futuristic interior, but I’m not so fond of that, and when it comes to its exterior detailing, I can say that it looks so great on its aesthetic and hygienic appearance.

  (300) posted on 10.28.2011

The Lotus Elise is of the my favorite concept car that I would surely wait! smiley The hygienic body paint of Elise, is absolutely looking great and awesome at it and I love the plainness of its interior.

  (365) posted on 10.5.2011

This car really had a good look that everyone would love and can’t resist. It’s really a head Turner. I also noticed that this one is oozing with car appeal. The specifications are impressive either.

  (595) posted on 10.5.2011

This car really had a good look that everyone would love and can’t resist. It’s really a head Turner. I also noticed that this one is oozing with car appeal. The specifications are impressive either.

  (428) posted on 10.3.2011

Elise looks like Superlegera. They are both a good-looking car, which I really want for my car, smiley a head Turner one. The handling and the dashboard seem so amazing! I want to see the road test on it.

  (197) posted on 09.28.2011

The back part of this Elise looks so huge but no worries co’z it didn’t lessen the beauty that this car had. smiley Just like them I also found this one so amazing and great on every detailing that it had even the interior touch and features of it is so impressive.

  (797) posted on 09.27.2011

Lotus car is one of the best car in the market and its looks like a Ferrari style car. The design of this car is really great and the rims looks great. Black and white is one of the best combination color of the car.

  (762) posted on 09.23.2011

Elise is one of the most good-looking cars that I saw today! smiley And I must say that the speculations that it had been so impressive and its price indications sound really good! smiley

  (402) posted on 09.13.2011

I hope there will never be an issue of fuel leaks on this upcoming Elise modified cars just like on the former Elise cars that issued leaks and recalled.

  (530) posted on 09.1.2011

Simple color of the car is white but inside the car is not simple the combination of the color inside is great.

  (384) posted on 06.24.2011

Its glass rooftop reminds me of electric cars. The detailing is great and I think its exterior is very impressive. And compare to the Evora, the interior of this car really looks amazing with the carbon fiber material used especially on the seats.

  (397) posted on 06.24.2011

I’m really not interested for the Evora really stands out compared with this production vehicle. Its figure performance is kind of less powerful and its depressing to know that they haven’t removed the speed limit of this car.

  (553) posted on 04.28.2011

I don’t like the body of this car it looks so edgy though I have to agree with Ping_Guererro, that the interior look different from the outside.

  (939) posted on 04.4.2011

The interior is quite pleasing to the eye as well the engine performance. And I do believe in you, Peter_Sepreani , for sure this car will move at its top speed! 

  (406) posted on 03.9.2011

Im sure this is a blast thing to drive. It’s indeed a very small. And I think it’s not appropriate on the road of US. It will just cause trouble.

  (410) posted on 02.6.2011

I really like the white color of automobile,it symbolizes the users personality of what personality she or he is?.

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