Budget-bound fans of the quintessential British sports car have something new to cheer about this week with the arrival of the Lotus
Elise "Purist" edition. Offered in only three colors -- Ardent Red, Monaco White and Saffron Yellow -- this more affordable no-options version of the Elise retains all of the scintillating performance of its costlier kin, but gets a modest decontenting that helps drop price to $45,120 including destination. That's nearly $3,400 below the existing "base" Elise, and moves the opening MSRP back closer to where it was when the car first went on sale here in 2005. Inside, the Purist keeps its form-fitting leather-swathed seats but sacrifices the hide treatment on its console and door panels. The premium Alpine audio system also gives way to a slightly less high-end alternative, but nice interior touches like a Momo sport steering wheel, air conditioning, and power locks remain. Functionally, the Purist shares the same 190-horsepower/1.8-liter twin-cam four cylinder, six-speed close-ratio manual transmission, Bilstein mono-tube gas-pressure shocks, Eibach springs, AP/Lotus/Brembo anti-lock disc brakes and staggered-size alloy wheels with Yokohama Advan Neova AD07 performance tires as the standard Elise. In short, everything it needs and nothing it doesn't to keep a perpetual smile on the face of any enthusiast.