The Lotus Elise will be a true multi-cultural American when it emigrates to the U.S. next summer.
A 180-hpMotor Corp. engine will enable the British-made sports car to meet U.S. emission standards.
The U.S. version of the roadster will be introduced at next year's Geneva auto show.
European versions of the Elise will continue to use a 122-hp 1.8L engine sourced from MG Rover Group. The British auto maker has assured Lotus the engine will be adapted to meet Euro IV emissions standards in 2005, says Marco Feser, Lotus Europe General Manager. Lotus has not decided whether to offer theengine in Europe as an option.
The U.S. Elise will use Toyota's 2ZZ-GE 1.8L, 16-valve engine with variable valve timing and lift-intelligent (VVTL-i) system mated to a 6-speed gearbox.
Feser says Lotus hopes to sell 2,500 Elise cars in the U.S. the first year, half the total production, priced around $38,500.
Feser says Lotus currently has 20 U.S. dealers but hopes to add another 12 by the time the Elise is launched next summer.
At its factory in Hethel, U.K., Malaysian-owned Lotus now makes the Esprit and the Elise, as well as two Elise variants, the Exige racer and the Opel Speedster/Vauxhall VX220. In addition to an Esprit replacement, Lotus is developing a car that will fit between the Esprit and Elise.