It's loud, cramped and unforgiving. It makes few concessions towards being at all comfortable. It costs as much as a loaded BMW 3-series. It has no storage space. So why is the 2005 Lotus Elise one of the most anticipated cars of the year? Well, it has a 190-hp engine shuttling around a sub-2000 lb. frame, meaning that even when shoddily-launched, 60 mph happens in under five seconds. Then there's the surgically precise steering and razor's-edge handling. Overall, the Elise offers one of the purest driving experiences available in a production vehicle. You can read about more details in Autoweek's thorough article, which also kindly provides a history of the car and the Lotus brand.

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