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Lotus fans in the USA have been dreaming of the day the amazing Elise (available in most of the rest of the world since 1996) would make it to the American market. We are really happy to report that this day is finally coming!

Lotus officials have confirmed that they have completed all the required modifications to enable the Elise to pass the strict American new car regulations and the lightweight roadster will hit American roads by the end of 2003, as a 2004 model.

Power will come from a 1.8lt engine producing 120hp. We have not yet been able to confirm whether this will be the current car's 1.8lt Rover K-Series engine. It will cost $38,000 and come with standard A/C and leather seats. The A/C feature does sound strange as it is not really available in European Elises but it has been considered essential for the American market. The suspension will also get a slightly different (softer) setup.

Let's remember of course that the model making it to the US will be the Elise II that was unveiled in the 2000 British Motorshow for the first time and has been in British and European roads for a few months now.

That's amazing news - we really can't wait to see the reception the Elise is going to get. There are definitely enough hardoce Lotus enthusiasts to ensure moderate sales success but the big question is whether the Elise will appeal to a broader base and grab sales from established roadster's like Porsche's Boxster, BMW's M Roadster and Honda's S2000. We definitely think that the Elise is the most unique roadster in the planet and worth every sales success that will help guarantee the long-term survival of Lotus. We love the Elise because, in opposition to the worldwide trend of making cars (even FantasyCars!) heavier and less responisve, it is a car that sticks to the simple rule of an extra lightweight, ultra-responsive chassis that can provide thrills with 120hp that cars with 400hp cannot.

The only sad point of the story is that the arrival of the Elise will signal the end of the road for the, recently revised, Esprit.

Look out here for more details of the great arrival - and if you are in the market for a roadster and you really want a unique driving experience, our advice is to wait till the end of 2003!



 

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no more b18c5 in the elise?
 

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hehe, you gotta love the grey market ferraris in america
 
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