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Judging by all the posts on here, and my experience of the UK market, you can expect to pay only slightly above new price for a low mileage model in 12 months time.
I am not being flippant, but when the car was first introduced in the UK, for the first couple of years a low mileage model would not be far adrift from new price, especially since new cars seemed to fetch a premium for quite some time. I expect that you will see an upsurge in demand for the Elise in the US once people see it in the flesh. The "i want now" customer either has to pay a premium to jump the queue or go to the used market. More people in the used market and up goes the price (Hey I thought you were all capitalists and knew this mechanisms off by heart).

The Elise has seen some of the strongest residuals for any car in the UK market for the past 7 years. Things have changed a little this year but the used car market in general has collapsed (relatively speaking) over here.

As to how long it will last? Well most Lotus owners take more care of their cars than say the owner of a Detroit dustbin, but also GRP and aluminium make for longevity. I have a 97 Elise and a 2000 Exige (both with about 25000m on the clock) and both equate in condition to your average 6 month old car in appearance. Mechanicaly they are in better condition than when the came out of the factory. That is the nature of the beast.
My Exige is currently having a 300bhp VAG engine fitted and should be kicking up some dust in 2 weeks time.
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