Would you believe the Lotus Elise is 20 years old? Well it is, the mid-engined sports car debuting at the Frankfurt Motor Show all the way back in 1995.
It was a revelation. A high-tech, lightweight, bonded aluminium chassis formed the backbone, clothed in a curvaceous fibreglass body and powered by a small but willing engine.
Weighting next to nothing, it had a purity of handling that little else could match. Not much has changed since.
It quickly became the cornerstone of the Lotus range and probably saved the company. Over 32,000 have been built, before you start counting the Exige and other spin-offs.
The Elise’s double-decade is a birthday worth celebrating, then. Lotus is doing so with a special edition called, oddly enough, the 20th Anniversary Special Edition.
Power comes from a Toyota-sourced, 1.8-litre supercharged engine putting out 218bhp. 10kg has been shaved off the kerbweight, compared to the Elise S, thanks to lightweight wheels, seats and centre console. As a result it tips the scales at just 914kg.
Thanks to the low weight and big power, the 0-62mph sprint is dispatched in 4.6 seconds, with a top speed of 145mph. Yet it will also do a combined 37.5mpg.
The Elise 20th Anniversary effectively replaces the Elise S Club Racer, coming in pretty much the same spec. It’s on sale now, with prices starting at £39,900.