The man who designed the original Lotus Elise wants to create a more hardcore version of it

lotus super elise news specs rumors wheel logo 1
Today, designer Julian Thomson is the Advanced Design Director at Jaguar, where he works on projects such as the highly futuristic C-X75 concept that will soon star in the next James Bond movie. Back in the 1990s, Thomson was working at Lotus where he drew cars like the first generation of the Elise.

Lotus wasn’t in great financial shape at the time and Thomson admits the Elise didn’t quite turn out the way he would have liked it to. Nearly 20 years later, the designer is going back to the drawing board in order to build the Elise of his dreams.

Thomson’s yet-unnamed 21st century Elise will be lower and wider than the original car, and its body will be crafted entirely out of out carbon fiber in order to shed as much weight as possible. The original Elise has aged relatively well, but the redesigned model will look considerably more modern thanks to a pair of LED headlights and a new front bumper that incorporates a splitter and five air dams designed to direct air into the engine bay.

More modifications will be found out back, where the Elise will benefit from LED tail lamps, a thinner and longer third brake light, and bigger exhaust pipes. Finally, the rear bumper will get an air diffuser and two horizontal air vents, design cues that will give the car a more muscular look.

At launch, the original Elise was powered by a Rover-sourced 1.8-liter K-Series four-cylinder engine that made 118 horsepower, which was plenty in a car that weighed less than 1,600 pounds. The K-Series was notorious for blowing head gaskets, so it’s not surprising that Thomson’s reinterpretation of the original Elise will pack a more reliable Honda-sourced VTEC engine. Similarly, the five-speed manual will be tossed out and replaced by a sequential gearbox.

The redesigned first-gen Elise is Thomson’s personal project, and Lotus isn’t about to re-release the car. The designer will build his dream Elise in his spare time, so it’s far too early to tell when it will be ready to hit the track.

Gaming

The history of Battle Royale: From mod to worldwide phenomenon

Battle royale games like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds’ and Fortnite have become the biggest trend in video games. The genre is also pushing the envelope in streaming and eSports in a way that might hint at the future of the industry.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Product Review

Boring takes a back seat as 2019 Corolla Hatchback mixes fun with practicality

We drive the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, the latest hatchback to bear the Corolla name. As the best-selling nameplate in automotive history, Toyota has high expectations to meet. This model mostly lives up to the legacy.
Cars

2020 Toyota Supra caught hiding in a trailer without a shred of camouflage

Toyota's plan to once again lure enthusiasts into showrooms involves bringing back the Supra, one of its most emblematic nameplates. Here's what we know so far about the upcoming coupe, which Toyota is developing jointly with BMW.
Cars

Infiniti previews its leap into one of the hottest industry segments

Infiniti has released a teaser image to preview a concept it will unveil at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The yet-unnamed design study is an electric crossover shaped by Infiniti's newest design language.
Cars

What’s next for in-car entertainment? Audi believes it knows

Audi is bringing two technologies to CES 2019. The first turns a car -- a luxury sedan, in this case -- into a drive-in movie theater. The second is presented as a new entertainment format that turns the journey into the destination.
Mobile

Car-branded phones need to make a U-turn if they ever want to impress

Your car and your smartphone are becoming one, yet smartphones branded or co-created by car companies are a problem. We look at the history, some examples of the best and worst, then share hopes for the future.
Product Review

The all-new 3 Series proves BMW can still build a compelling sport sedan

Seat time in the entry-level BMW 330i ($41,425) and M340i xDrive ($54,995) will test the German automaker’s commitment to driving dynamics, powertrain refinement, and cutting edge technology.
Cars

California wants all-electric public bus fleet on its roads by 2040

California approved a regulation that targets an all-electric public bus fleet for the whole state by 2040. The effect of the full implementation of the regulation is equivalent to taking 4 million cars off the road.
Cars

1,000-mph Bloodhound supersonic car project finds a last-minute savior

The Bloodhound supersonic car (SSC) project has found a buyer. The project was going to be disbanded after running out of funds, but its assets were purchased by British businessman Ian Warhurst.
Cars

Ford’s prototype Quiet Kennel uses noise-canceling tech to keep dogs stress-free

Ford is ending 2018 by venturing into the doghouse market. The company's European division has built a kennel equipped with active noise-canceling technology and soundproof walls that help dogs sleep through fireworks.
Emerging Tech

Self-driving dirt rally vehicle offers crash course in autonomous car safety

Georgia Tech's AutoRally initiative pushes self-driving cars to their limit by getting scaled-down autonomous vehicles to drive really, really fast and aggressively on dirt roads. Here's why.
Cars

The best compact cars pack full-size features in fun-size packages

The best compact cars on the market rival their counterparts in many ways, proving that bigger isn’t always better. Here, we've rounded up some of the better options available, including an SUV and an electric alternative.
Cars

Lincoln revives its coolest-ever design feature for limited-edition Continental

The 1961 Lincoln Continental became a design icon thanks to center-opening "coach doors" (also known as "suicide doors"). Lincoln is bringing those doors back for a special edition of the 2019 Continental.