[Updated with New Photos and Details] The most popular Lotus of our time, the Elise, is entering the 2011 model year with a host of updates that include 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 can be recognized by the new fascia up front that boasts a redesigned hood, new bumper with a wider grille, and reshaped headlights featuring LED daytime running lights for the first time.
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.
This new engine is 200cc smaller than the outgoing Elise S 1.8L model and produces the same output (134HP at 6,800 rpm) and slightly less torque (160 Nm or 118 lb-ft at 4400 rpm versus 172Nm or 127 lb-ft), but offers a significant improvement to fuel economy of more than 23 per cent, to 6.1 lt / 100km (46.3 mpg UK or 38.6 mpg US) and a reduction in CO2 emission by more than 13 per cent.
Lotus announces a 0-60mph sprint time of 6.0 seconds (0-100km/h 6.7 seconds) and a top speed of 124mph or 200km/h for the new 1.6-liter version.
In addition, all 2011 Elise models benefit from a new six-speed manual gearbox while both the 189bhp 1.8-liter 'R' and the 217bhp 1.8-liter SuperCharged SC boast lower CO2 emissions and better fuel economy than their 2010MY siblings.
More details, photos as well as pricing are to be released in March.