The Elise is entering the 2011 model year with a host of updates including styling and mechanical tweaks, as well as the introduction of a new entry-level model with a Toyota-sourced 1.6-liter gasoline engine.
The facelifted model is distinguished by the new fascia featuring a redesigned hood, new bumper with a wider grille, and reshaped headlights incorporating LED daytime running lights for the first time. The restyled rear bumper and engine cover along with new alloy wheel designs complete the aesthetic upgrades.
More important changes are found under the hood with the 2011 Elise gaining a new entry-level 'S' model powered by a Toyota-sourced 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, which enables the revised Eliase to do the century sprint in 6.7 seconds and reach a top speed of 200km/h. This new engine is 200cc smaller than the outgoing Elise S 1.8L model and produces the same output (134HP at 6,800 rpm) but slightly less torque (160 Nm vs 172Nm). However, it offers an improvement in fuel economy of more than 23%. Both the 189bhp 1.8L 'R' and 217bhp 1.8L supercharged versions boast better fuel economy and emissions as compared to the outgoing models.
Finally, all 2011 Elise models benefit from a new six-speed manual gearbox. Perhaps, Lotus should consider developing a twin-clutch equipped Elise to cater to buyers who want the convenience of an automatic transmission with negligible reduction in performance.