2011 Lotus Elise Restyled, gets New 1.6-Liter Entry-Level Engine [Updated]

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[Updated with New Photos and Details] The most popular Lotus of our time, the Elise, is entering the 2011 model year with a host of updates that include styling and mechanical tweaks as well as the introduction of a new entry-level model with a Toyota-sourced 1.6-liter gasoline engine.

The facelifted model can be recognized by the new fascia up front that boasts a redesigned hood, new bumper with a wider grille, and reshaped headlights featuring LED daytime running lights for the first time.

The restyled rear bumper and engine cover along with the new alloy wheel designs complete the aesthetic upgrades that are said to help improve the Elise's aerodynamic properties.

More important changes are found under the hood with the 2011 Elise gaining a new entry-level 'S' model powered by a Toyota-sourced 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine.

This new engine is 200cc smaller than the outgoing Elise S 1.8L model and produces the same output (134HP at 6,800 rpm) and slightly less torque (160 Nm or 118 lb-ft at 4400 rpm versus 172Nm or 127 lb-ft), but offers a significant improvement to fuel economy of more than 23 per cent, to 6.1 lt / 100km (46.3 mpg UK or 38.6 mpg US) and a reduction in CO2 emission by more than 13 per cent.

Lotus announces a 0-60mph sprint time of 6.0 seconds (0-100km/h 6.7 seconds) and a top speed of 124mph or 200km/h for the new 1.6-liter version.

In addition, all 2011 Elise models benefit from a new six-speed manual gearbox while both the 189bhp 1.8-liter 'R' and the 217bhp 1.8-liter SuperCharged SC boast lower CO2 emissions and better fuel economy than their 2010MY siblings.

More details, photos as well as pricing are to be released in March.