2011 Lotus Elise – Click above for high-res image gallery
Particularly given its performance capabilities, the Lotus Elise has always been remarkably fuel efficient. The Elise (and its hardtop Exige sibling) have long been a rolling testament to the benefits of light weight. Thanks to a new 1.6-liter, 136 horsepower inline-four and a new lower drag nose, the European-spec 2011 Elise S is now officially rated at 46.7 miles per gallon (U.S.) on the EU highway cycle, and the carbon dioxide emissions are just 149 grams per kilometer on the combined cycle.
The CO2 number makes the Elise S the cleanest gas powered sports car in the world, and all without resorting to redundant powertrain hardware like electric motors and batteries. While sipping fuel and minimizing emissions, the Elise S still promises to rip off a 0-60 mph sprint in just six seconds and handle like a dream. That's what a 1,931 pound curb weight will buy you. Alas, Americans will not be able to buy the 1.6-liter Elise S, as the entry level model here will remain a 190-hp 1.8-liter rated at 21/27 mpg by the EPA.