Lotus

Lotus cars

The new Lotus Exige S made its world debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show, but the first unit has just left the assembly line today. With that, Lotus has also promised that the first customers will experience this exciting new Lotus very soon.

The new Exige S is powered by a 3.5 liter V6 engine that delivers a total of 345 HP. The sports coupe will go from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds and up to a top speed of 170 mph. Unfortunately, US customers will only be able to take advantage of the track version of the Exige S.

"We are very proud of the Exige S. It marks the first step towards consolidating and then growing the company. I know that customers have been eagerly waiting for this car, and I assure them that it will be worth the wait. We wanted to be sure that we had a product that was absolutely ready before launching it. We are confident that the right time for the Exige S is now," said Lotus Chief Operating Officer, Aslam Farikullah.

DRB-Hicom and Lotus have officially shut down the five-year plan that Dany Bahar placed the compact sports car company on shortly before he was canned. In fact, DRB-Hicom flat out called the plan unrealistic and we agree. Now with Lotus hanging around with no real future in sight, could DRB-Hicom be ready to offload Proton and Lotus altogether?

If it is ready to cut the money pits named Proton and Lotus loose, there is a suitor ready and waiting, according to a report by Reuters. Volkswagen, the recent PAC-Man of the automotive world, tried once to snatch up Proton, but failed, and now it looks as if it is ready to try again for at least partial control.

Ideally, for VW , DRB would let go of controlling stake in both companies and sell them to VW on the cheap, so that the magical Volkswagen Volkswagen wand can heal Lotus and Proton Proton , much like it has with Audi. The connection is already there, as VW uses a DRB-Hicom facility to manufacture the Passat , so starting up the conversation of a buyout is as easy as pressing a speed-dial button on a cellphone.

Volkswagen, of course, isn’t saying a word about all of this and DRB-Hicom has been insisting that it is not selling Lotus or Proton. As we all know, car manufacturers will deny any type of news about selling companies or merging until they absolutely cannot deny it anymore, so we take all of this denying with a great big grain of Sodium Chloride.

We’ll keep you updated if anything else comes up on this front.

Source: Reuters

When Lotus chose to pull out of the 2012 Paris Motor Show , the same show that the struggling car company released five new concepts at two years ago, we had a sneaking suspicion that this was the calm before the model-trimming storm. It looks as if our suspicions were true, as according to reports, Lotus has cut out all of Bahar’s brainchildren, with a possible exception being the revamped Espirit .

As we always say, sports car lovers are a fickle bunch. They know what they like and do not deal well with changes. Ferrari and Lamborghini lovers want fat sports cars with even fatter engines, whereas Lotus lovers want svelte and nimble machines that they can toss around at will. The models that Lotus has axed were very fat, by Lotus standard, and were not warmly received by enthusiasts.

Also scrapped in the process was the crazy notion that Lotus would produce its own engines for these new models. If the consistent lapping of Lotus-powered vehicles in INDYCAR isn’t enough of a deterrent for Lotus building their own engines, the sheer cost of the project is.

This is all clearly a cost-controlling measure by DRB-Hicom and Lotus to try and save the failing company, but it does have a bit of the undercoating of a jab to Bahar’s ribs. Regardless of the possible shot at Bahar’s ego, this is just one of the many necessary evils that Lotus has to go through to get back to being a profitable business.

Another necessary evil is the fact that Lotus will have to lay off 50 contractors hired to work on these new projects, which were part of Bahar’s “Five-Year Plan.”

Lotus and DRB-Hicom have submitted a new business plan to their creditors in hopes of getting some leeway in their debts and maybe freeing up some loan money to help inject some life into Lotus. We certainly hope to see Lotus back near the top of the boutique automaker list and we’ll keep a keen eye on this situation with many more updates likely coming your way.

Source: Autocar

It was not announced at the time, but a report has surfaced that DRB-Hicom did receive an offer for faltering sports car company, Lotus . To buy a car company, even a money pit like Lotus, it takes millions of dollars, but the company that bid on Lotus didn’t offer anything near that. The bid was for all of ₤1. No, that’s not a typo... Just a single pound.

According to reports, DRB-Hicom, who inherited Lotus when it purchased Proton , will continue to attempt breathing life into the dying car company. The first necessary act of business, firing the cancer that is Dany Bahar, is already complete, so now it’s just a matter of getting the company back on track and making a few dollars here and there.

With Lotus pulling out of the 2012 Paris Motor Show , we have a feeling that a big-time change is afoot. With Bahar gone, DRB-Hicom can attempt to cut off the company’s plans to build supercars and revert back to the lightweight sports cars that made it famous in the first place.

We’ll see what DRB-Hicom has in store for Lotus in the coming years, but we certainly hope to see good things coming. The good thing is that DRB-Hicom can always hang its hat on the fact that someone is actually willing to pay for Lotus, even if it is just a single pound...

Source: PaulTan.org

Despite the multitude of problems Lotus has been having recently, you have to give their racing division some credit for soldiering on with the continued expansion of their motor sports branch. Following in their involvement with Formula One , Indy Car , and Le Mans , among others, Lotus is venturing into new frontier with their entry into the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series.

The American racing series is organized by the same folks behind NASCAR and Lotus is coming in with the intention of being a contender right off the bat. They even have a car that’s primed and ready for action to any racing outfit looking for a ride: the Evora GX.

The Lotus Evora GX is a race-spec model of the sports coupe that has been customized specifically for the rigors of Grand-Am racing. Among the notable new features of the Evora GX include carbon fiber doors, a roof and engine cover, plexiglass windows, and tinted headlights. The car also comes with a new race-spec aero kit with new parts being fitted in including a new front splitter an bumper, a series-required rear wing, and a new set of wider wheels wrapped in Continental racing tires.

Meanwhile, the interior has been stripped of pretty much everything in favor of all the race-spec requirements, particularly the bucket seats, the roll bars, and the race steering wheel.

One other thing about the Evora GX is the noticeable absence of traction control and ABS, which makes racing in it all the more challenging for the driver. At the very least, though, these guys can rely on the car’s 440-horsepower 4.0-liter V6 engine and its Xtrac sequential transmission to make the drive that much more interesting.

Interested teams looking to use the Lotus Evora GX in their Grand-Am exploits will have to shell out $335,000 for one car.

To say that Lotus has had a very prosperous year is akin to saying that the economies in Spain and Greek are both doing fine.

It wasn’t that long ago when Lotus had ambitious plans to become a player in the supercar market, having unveiled a total of six new concepts that would inevitably give run to a fleet of production vehicles.

So it’s with a dash of irony that this year, Lotus has announced that they would be skipping the 2012 Paris Motor Show , only two years removed from bringing those six concepts at the 2010 Paris Motor Show.

From the optimism of those days, the company has been in dire straits recently, no more evident than the messy firing of former CEO Dany Bahar, who incidentally was the driving force behind the company’s ambitious plans two years ago. The company today is also in financial disarray; sales have been extremely low and there’s even word that the company will go back to its roots as a factory for lightweight sports cars.

Despite the messy year the company has had, there are still some signs of optimism, particularly with the increased interest in their two new vehicles, the Exige V6 S and V6 Roadster . Whether they can jump start the company’s fledgling business remains to be seen, but one thing we do know is that it won’t come at a fast enough time to save Lotus from heading to the same auto show were only two years ago, they set out on an ambitious plan that ended up with nothing more than lost promises.

Ladies and gentlemen, the wait is over! After months of speculation, Lotus has finally unveiled the new Exige S. This "ultimate lightweight high performance sportscar" comes bearing a new look inside and out, as well as a brand new engine that adds over 100 HP to the car’s output.

The look of the 2012 Lotus Exige S still claims it as an Exige, but the add-ons provided smooth out the sports car’s look, while still adding a certain degree of aggression to the design. The Exige S now carries a new front splitter that reveals a cleaner line across the front of the car and a smaller rear spoiler, both of which still improve the vehicle’s aerodynamics.

As for power, the Exige S is now working with a mid-mounted, transverse 3.5 liter DOHC V6 VVI-i engine that delivers a total of 345 HP, a far cry from the previously used 257 HP 1.8L Toyota Toyota supercharged I4. The reason for this massive upgrade is clear when the car’s weight gets introduced into the equation. The previous model claimed 2,077 lbs, while the new Exige S plumps up at 2,380 lbs. Once the added weight gets brought in, the Exige S’ 0-60 mph time is still better, coming in at 3.8 seconds (from a previous time of 4.0 seconds) and its top speed hikes up to 170 mph (up from a previous 145 mph).

Lotus will also be offering a Lotus DPM (Dynamic Performance Management) switch that allows the driver to switch between three driving modes: Touring, Sport, and DPM off. An optional Race Pack also gets thrown in to add a fourth driving mode (Race) to the mix, for the ultimate Lotus Exige S experience.

UPDATE 12/08/11: After having to yank the Exige and Elise from the US market due to airbag restrictions, Lotus is throwing the US market a bone by bringing the new Exige S over to our side of the pond as a track-only car. This race version will feature a full roll cage, racing seats and harness, and an electrical cut-off switch, in addition to all of the features found on the road car. Pricing will start between $85,000–$90,000. (duPont Registry)

UPDATE 07/13/2012: Lotus has unveiled three new videos for their brand new Exige S. In two of them, the car is being tested at the Nurburgring and at the Hethel Track at Lotus HQ, while the third video shows Donato Coco, Lotus Director of Design, as he explains the design and styling of the new Lotus Exige Lotus Exige S, and Matt Becker, Chief Engineer of Vehicle Dynamics, as he talks through some of the fundamental changes that have been made to the Exige S.

Hit the jump to read more about the new Lotus Exige S.

Lotus Evora 414E Hybrid

Lotus hasn’t seen a great share of luck in recent years, but in the past few weeks, its luck has taken a slight turn for the better. First came INDYCAR’s approval of desired changes to its IRL engines. Now Lotus is now extending this run of decent luck a little more by announcing that its running prototype for the Evopra 414E hybrid is ahead of schedule and ready for dynamic testing.

Lotus first unveiled the prototype at Geneva in 2010, but it was just that, a prototype. It had no engine or motor driving it; it was essentially just a shell. No one in the automotive world expected anything from Lotus in the next year or so, as it seeks a new CEO, fights a rumored lawsuit from its former CEO , and attempts to right this sinking shop.

It looks like we were all wrong, as Lotus just sent out a press release detailing all of the Evora 414E’s main specifications. So, we did what we do best and used our speculative abilities to put together a review for you to use to make an educated shopping decision, if you are lucky enough to be in the market for this type of car.

Click past the jump to read our full review.

The Lotus Elan was the true mother of all sports cars. You see, a true sports car does not require extreme power or a big engine with tons of cylinders pounding away – it doesn’t hurt though. A true sports car is about precision handling, peppy acceleration, and the ability for the driver to feel like he is in control of what’s going on.

The Elan is all of that wrapped up in a sexy looking, 2-seat roadster package. Well, this old girl recently had her 50th birthday and she is looking just as stunning as she did the day she rolled off of the production line back in 1962.

The Elan was a driver’s car and spawned many other spin-offs and reproductions, like the Alfa Romeo 124 Spider, BMW Z3/4, and most notably, the Mazda MX-5 Miata . The original Elan had a fairly successful run, lasting 13 years before getting the axe. In 1989, Lotus chose to resurrect the Elan, with the Elan M100. While the M100 was a mechanical success, it was not nearly as popular as the original rendition and it lasted just seven years.

In 2010, Lotus introduced us to a new version of the Elan that it anticipated seeing showrooms in 2013, but that release date was later adjusted to 2017. With the recent restructuring going on at Lotus, we anticipate seeing this date getting adjusted once again.

So, how can we give the Elan a special birthday this year? Well, by giving her a full historic review, of course.

Click past the jump to read our complete historical review on the 50-year-young Lotus Elan.

Recently, we haven’t had much good to say about Lotus and trust us, that is not by choice. We actually love Lotus and everything it once stood for in the performance car world. Unfortunately, it has undergone some serious changes and the CEO that it had decided to abandon what we all loved about Lotus.

In addition to the woes that Lotus underwent on the retail car front, it also underwent similar struggles on the racing front. Due to funding issues, its engines fell drastically behind the competition and its newly-signed-up partners all abandoned ship. It’s only two remaining partners ended up finishing dead last in May.

Part of the problem was that due to funding issues, Lotus entered its revised engine plans for approval by INDYCAR too late and it was stuck running its original engines. Well, it looks like the downpour of bad news is starting to dry up for Lotus, as Lotus’ INDYCAR manager, Oliver Picquenot, was quoted saying "Lotus has been working with outside engineering firms, in conjunction with Mr. John Judd and his enterprise.”

This obviously means that INDYCAR has finally given Lotus its much-needed permission to upgrade its engine via its engineering partner Engine Devel Devel opments Ltd. This should give lotus the chance to at least close the INDYCAR-estimate 2.5 percent gap between its engines and everyone else’s, and Lotus is saying that it expects huge improvements.

So let’s hope for the best here and see if Lotus can make some money off of racing, or at least garner a little interest via finishing better than dead last to help calm its rocky seas.

Just an update, resigned Caterham Managing Director , Ansar Ali, is still a free agent and we already see a good fit between him and Lotus. So we’ll continue to monitor that situation, as well as Lotus’ INDYCAR improvements, as it tries to dig itself out of the hole a certain “someone” put them in…


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