Much has happened at Lotus in the last 20 years but one thing has remained a constant – the enduring brilliance of the Elise. It’s called the Sport these days and there are two versions: one with a naturally aspirated 134bhp 1.6-litre engine and the other with a supercharged 1.8 that produces 217bhp (220PS). The Sport 220’s power-to-weight ratio is perfect. The entry-level car’s power is a bit too modest and the next up from the 220, the Cup 250, has more than you need. Not surprisingly, the 220 is fast, but what’s particularly impressive is how good its engine feels. For a modern four-cylinder, it also sounds fantastic, almost as if it’s drinking and breathing through a pair of DCOEs.
The power delivery has an old-fashioned flavour to it, too, the characteristic way a supercharged engine feels as if it’s got a larger cubic capacity rather than simply more power. So the power builds seamlessly and, with gearing that is perfectly matched, thrust out of corners or when overtaking is impressive. Lotus’s open-gate gear lever is a big improvement on previous shifters and sexy enough to not need a surround or gaiter.
A worthy winner of Evo magazines 2017 'Best Sports Car of the Year'.