When the first-gen Elise was sweeping up accolades, the smartest people in the room might have seen three holes in the perfect-handling bliss that was the new Lotus.
— The design was odd and the detailing was all-wrong. The bug-eye lamps and curvy shapes recalled a dune buggy more than an exotic supercar
— The original engines were low on torque and not globally certified for emissions
— Distribution within the tiny Lotus boutique dealer network was extremely limited
Vauxhall was able to bring solutions to these three issues in one fell swoop. Huge industrial might behind it, design talent clamoring for a showcase sports-car, and a VXR brand that needed a halo launch car.
We still love the VXR220, the upgraded model introduced around 2004 with even more power and a cooler, futuristic style.
Anthracite grilles, blacked-out lighting and dark wheels? In 2004?!
It would be five years until the supercar elite would adopt the darkwheel style, and almost ten before it would eventually go mainstream.
2004 Vauxhall VXR220