· Award marks anniversary year of original Elise's launch
· New Lotus Elise Sport starts from just £29,900
Beating some of the best cars ever built, the landmark Lotus Elise has been announced as Readers' Champion during the prestigious Autocar Awards, after tens of thousands of motoring fans voted in an online competition.
From a starting roster of 50, the final shortlist of cars contained just ten contenders and voting was tight as the two-week competition drew to a close.
Receiving the award during the Autocar Awards ceremony on Tuesday evening at Silverstone, Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus plc said: "Winning the Readers' Champion Award shows what a key role the Elise continues to play in the automotive industry.
When it was launched it shook the rest of the automotive industry into acknowledging and understanding the importance of lightweight when producing class-leading sports cars – redefining the segment.
It is one of the all time greats which is always copied but never equalled."
Jim Holder, Editorial Director, Haymarket Automotive said, "The Lotus Elise is a car that embodies all that Autocar and its readers love about sports cars, combining pace, agility and a purity of purpose.
Our testers named their favourite 50 cars and tens of thousands of readers proceeded to choose the winner. It was hotly contested, of course, but the Lotus Elise is a well deserved Readers' Champion winner."
The lightweight hand-built sports car from Hethel, Norfolk has long been regarded as a benchmark for handling and performance and providing a level of precision and driver involvement that rivals cannot match.
Following the founder of Lotus, Colin Chapman's engineering principles of performance through light weight, the Elise is perfectly tuned for demanding British roads, providing a pure yet involving and agile driving experience.
The latest model, the Elise Cup 250 reaches 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds yet produces only 175 g/CO2 per 100 km.
With prices starting at under £30,000 for the Sport edition, the Lotus Elise also proves that outstanding hand built British sports cars don't have to cost a six-figure sum.
The Autocar Readers' Champion Award not only coincides with the anniversary of the car's first year on sale, but also with the 50th celebration of the move to the company's famous factory in Hethel.
As the spiritual home of the Elise, it's another reason for the company and its millions of fans to celebrate in 2016.