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Handling benchmark Lotus Elise celebrates its birthday with a 20th Anniversary Edition

20 years ago, Lotus debuted its Elise, a roadster so light and nimble, its still regarded as a benchmark for performance to this day. This year, Lotus celebrates the anniversary of this phenomenal vehicle with the unveiling of the Lotus Elise 20th Anniversary Special Edition.

“It’s hard to believe that the Elise has been around for 20 years,” said Group Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales. “Over the years, we have improved and refined the Elise but we have also ensured that we have retained the purity of the driving experience and for the Elise to remain as the sports car to which other marques aspire.”

The new edition essentially reconfigures a few things on the Elise S Club Racer, the model that sits just above the Elise S in the lineup. It weighs 10 kilograms less than the Elise S and packs a lightweight, aero-optimized body, although Lotus doesn’t specify what, if any, changes were made from the CR. Sitting behind the driver is a 1.8-liter supercharged four-cylinder engine that sends 217 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque to the back wheels by way of a six-speed manual transmission.

Lotus Elise S CR

The Special Edition is based on the Elis S Club Racer

The little sprinter is capable of jumping from 0 to 60 in 4.6 seconds and tops out at 145 mph. Additions to this anniversary model are new, lighter black forged wheels, a new lighter center console that matches the body color, and sports seats swathed in either leather or Alcantara with contrast stitching. Naturally, 20th anniversary decals are located throughout

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Disappointingly, the Elise and the Exige Coupe are no longer offered in the U.S., having much to do with not meeting stricter safety regulations. If you have a convenient garage tucked away in a backroad-laden European country, then the special edition Elise can be yours for around $60,000.