Wait (a While) for It: Lotus Elise Returning to America in 2020

The Lotus Elise Is Returning to America . . . in 2020

-For a brief few years, U.S. buyers lived in a golden age, able to buy Lotus’s ferociously lightweight Elise sports car brand-new and fully assembled. First appearing in the U.S. in 2004, the divine Elise stuck around until 2011, when Lotus had to withdraw it from our market due to noncompliant airbags. (Shown above is a 2012 model.)

It’s been dark days since 2011, though. Our nation became an Elise-less America. But there’s hope for the eventual end of our nightmare: Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales tells Automotive News that the next-generation Elise, due in 2020, will be U.S.-compliant.

That’s bad news for fans of the current Elise, the Series 2 which was introduced in the U.K. in 2001 and brought stateside three years later. Gales insists that making this current model comply with U.S. regulations would be impossible. “We’d need smart airbags, plus side airbags and to change the whole front crash structure. It would add 100kg [220 pounds],” he told Automotive News.



We love the fact that a 220-pound weight gain is a bridge too far for Lotus. And while we’re sad to hear that it’ll be 2020 before an Elise returns to our shores—and let’s face it, a lot could happen to Lotus, and the car market as a whole, in that time—a future Elise is better than no Elise at all.

This story originally appeared on roadandtrack.com via Autoblog.

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