We watched the live introduction by Lotus at the Paris auto show this morning with enormous anticipation. It was believed that Lotus would be introducing 4 new vehicles, and instead an incredible 5 all-new cars were introduced to the press. The greatest number of new products Lotus has ever introduced at once. Their actual production dates are scattered over the next few years, between now and 2015. But they are very well developed and coming.
Here are the details of the new products. They all feature similar styling, perhaps described as “new edge” (although not as sharp-edged as the announcement by Lamborghini yesterday). And it’s not only styling that has evolved – the engineering of these cars and the drive-train technology owe nothing to the past. That is a very good thing.
Exact specifications have not yet been revealed for all of these cars, but we are looking forward to Lotus releasing them soon.
Of particular interest is the new Elise – coming in 2015. Toyota ended production of it’s 1.8 liter 4 cylinder engine last month, and we were expecting an announcement of a new engine today. Instead, we got both an all new (and very much needed) car and an entirely new engine. Little is known about the new engine, other than it being Toyota-based. With 320 HP from only 2 liters, it’s probably turbocharged and very highly developed. We’ll look forward to seeing the details – as well as <worrisome> the price.
A new Esprit for 2013 has been under development for many years, and mules have been seen for at least 10 years. But this is, finally, the real deal. The rumored V-10 LFA engine failed to appear, instead the Esprit and all the big cars below use variations of Toyota V-8 and V-6s.
The Eterne 4-door was introduced last, and it was the only car introduced to have blacked-out windows. This car may not have been ready to be shown yet, ikn fact it may not have had an interior at all. We’ll have to keep an eye on this as it is developed further.
And it was nice to see Bob Lutz piped into the broadcast, as a new advisor to their executive staff.
The New Lotus Esprit (5.0 litre/V8/620 PS). “The icon is back” 2013 production
“The Esprit is the ultimate supercar. There’s a fine balance between acknowledging the greatness of the past whilst at the same time rapidly leaping forward to the future and ensuring that this car not only does the name Esprit justice but also the Lotus brand. I think we’ve managed to find the balance and in doing so created a new icon, a car people will find hard to resist. The design is aggressive, you have to see it to appreciate how low and wide the proportions are but it still retains a level of dignity, of class and most of all exclusivity. I’m very proud of this car.”
The New Lotus Elan (4.0 litre/V6/450 PS). “The end of compromise” summer 2013 production
“Perfect for both road and track, the Elan not only ticks all the boxes, it creates new ones too. It will convert people to Lotus, it will also go a long way towards dispelling the old misconceptions about this class, that in order to have high performance you must sacrifice usability – those days are gone. Once you drive an Elan you won’t look back, it will give you things you didn’t even realise you were missing – that’s the essence of Lotus and the Elan perfectly captures that spirit.”
The New Lotus Elite (5.0 litre/V8/620 PS). “A new British expression of exclusivity”.
“The Elite is breathtakingly beautiful but it’s so much more than that. One could say it’s a car of perfect contradictions, it’s compact yet spacious, high performance yet low emissions, lightweight yet still reassuringly solid. It’s a car that we are exceptionally proud of at Lotus and we truly believe that there is nothing else like it out there both in terms of styling and performance. There will always be those who believe that Lotus should stick to small sports cars but we didn’t take the decision to design something like the Elite lightly, it’s based on months of careful research and planning.”
The New Lotus Elise (2.0 litre/inline 4/320 PS). “The grown up” 2015 production
“We worked very hard on getting the Elise 2015 exactly right, it’s our entry level car so it needs to give a proper introduction to the Lotus driving experience. The Elise you can buy now is still a fantastic car and Lotus remains very proud of it, but this is a natural progression for us moving forward. The Elise 2015 will also be class-leading in terms of performance and efficiency but it will do more than that, it will take the Elise model to the forefront of its class across the board. It’s the next generation Elise for a new generation of Lotus drivers.”
The New Lotus Eterne (5.0 litre/V8/620 PS). “The statement of intent”
“The Eterne is sensational to look at and as with the rest of the range it also over delivers in all other aspects as well. Similar to the Elite, it’s a car of perfect contradictions, it’s compact yet spacious, high performance yet low emissions relatively lightweight yet still reassuringly solid. The biggest difference between the Eterne and it’s class competitors is that it’s not an evolution of an existing two-door model, it’s a deliberate and considered stand-alone creation. It’s the ultimate four door sports car.”