There's no denying that Lotus had lost its way prior to the release of the much-loved Elise. The company that Colin built had strayed from its roots of lightweight sports cars and drifted towards the exotic realm... and it had drastic effects on the company's bottom line. Thankfully, the Elise and its hard-core cousin, the Exige, set the company back on the straight and narrow.
All of this begs the question, though: How do you update a modern classic like the Elise? Lotus' answer is currently being shown off at the Paris Motor Show. Here are the basics: 320 horsepower from a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine procured from Toyota, a six-speed manual and optional paddle-shifted automatic transmission, and a 2,409-pound curb weight. This supercharged model can hit 62 in 4.3 seconds. Price? $55,000.
For those keeping track of such things, which is to say nearly all of you, that is indeed heavier and more expensive than the current Elise... and that's not good. Fortunately, Lotus promises that there will be less expensive versions of the 2015 Elise available, presumably without the benefit of forced induction. There will also be both hard-and soft-top models on offer.
What all Elises will offer, though, is a more luxurious cabin and easier entry and exit. We're loving the look of the interior, with its pod-like binnacle of instruments, steering wheel with F1-style progressive shift lights and its digital rendering of race circuits for those venturing out the the track. As for the exterior, well, let's just say we're not quite on board yet with what Lotus designers have planned for the brand's future. Fortunately they have plenty of time to change our minds.
UPDATE: Video added after the break and live shots added in second gallery below.
Live photos copyright ©2010 Drew Phillips / AOL