It won’t arrive sooner than 2021 though

The iconic Lotus Elan could return to the market after nearly three decades. The British company is reportedly considering a revival of the nameplate for a brand-new drop-top sports car that will slot above the Elise in the lineup. The revival won’t happen until 2021 though, as that is when Lotus will have the proper platform for such a car.

The Lotus Elan will help Lotus expand its lineup

The Lotus Elan Could Come Back, and It'll Take the Porsche 718 Boxster Head On High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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The Elan will fit between the Elise and the Evora in the lineup

The revival of the Elan nameplate is part of Lotus’ long-term plan to expand its lineup. The British firm currently offers only three vehicles: the Elise, its hard-top counterpart the Exige, and the Evora. Only the latter is available in the United States. In 2020, the Evija hypercar will join in, but as a highly exclusive model that’s already sold out. In two years’ time, Lotus will roll out a brand-new platform that will underpin at least three new models.

The only vehicle confirmed by now is a sports SUV that we’ve already seen in some patent sketches. It will be the company’s first crossover and it should be the vehicle that will return the brand to profit. Rumors have it that Lotus is also planning to revive the Esprit alongside the Elan. Of course, the Elise, Exige, and the Evora will be redesigned. Some sources claim that Lotus is also considering a modern version of the Europa, but it remains to be seen if Lotus will actually offer six sports cars at the same time.

The Lotus Elan Could Come Back, and It'll Take the Porsche 718 Boxster Head On Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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The Elan will fit between the Elise and the Evora in the lineup. It will also be a two-seat roadster, but it should offer more passenger room than the Elise. It should also have more comfort features, better tech, and it will be a more comfortable vehicle overall.

A modern Lotus Elan is a 10-year-old idea

The Lotus Elan Could Come Back, and It'll Take the Porsche 718 Boxster Head On High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Lotus has been planning to revive the Elan for at least 10 years now. In 2010, the British carmaker unveiled a concept car that previewed a production model. The latter was originally scheduled to go into production in 2013, but it was eventually canceled due to the company’s severe financial problems.

Now a more stable business under Geely and with a profitable SUV underway, Lotus wants to bring the Elan back into its lineup. And it should have the means and the cash to do it.

The Lotus Elan will fight the Porsche 718 Boxster

The Lotus Elan Could Come Back, and It'll Take the Porsche 718 Boxster Head On High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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The Elan will be aimed at the Porsche 718 Boxster and it will replace the smaller Elise in this battle. Word has it that the Elan will be lighter than the German roadster, which tips the scales at 2,943 pounds in its lightest configuration. While it won’t be as light as the Elise, which tips the scales at around 2,000 pounds, the Elan shouldn’t weigh more than 2,500 pounds. With the proper engine and power-to-weight ratio, the Elan could give the Boxster a run for its money and it could be more affordable too.

The Lotus Elan won’t arrive sooner than 2021

The Lotus Elan Could Come Back, and It'll Take the Porsche 718 Boxster Head On High Resolution Exterior
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The Elan is still a couple of years away. That’s because Lotus doesn’t yet have a platform for this car. Both the Elise and the Evora ride on old underpinnings, so Lotus is working on a brand-new platform that won’t see the light of day until 2021. This platform will probably debut in the SUV and then will be used for new generations of the Elise, Exige, and Evora. Once these cars arrive in showrooms, it will be the Elan’s turn to come into the spotlight. A 2022 debut for the 2023 model year seems likely.

The Lotus Elan is an iconic sports car that goes back to 1962

1962 - 1995 Lotus Elan Exterior
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The first-generation Elan was produced from 1962 to 1973

One of the most important sports cars made by Lotus, the Elan goes back to 1962. Designed to replace the Elite, the first-generation Elan was offered in both coupe and roadster configuration and with rear-wheel drive. The first-gen Elan remained in production for almost 12 years, until 1973, when it was replaced by the Esprit. It was originally powered by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder that was later enlarged to 1.6 liters. Output varied from 90 to 126 horsepower. The range-topping Sprint version needed 6.6 seconds to hit 60 mph, to go with a top speed of 123 mph. From 1967, Lotus offered the Elan +2, a version with a longer wheelbase, wider track, and two small rear seats suitable for children.

1962 - 1995 Lotus Elan Exterior
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Lotus revived the Elan nameplate in 1989. Also known as the Elan M100, it features a more modern, wedge-shaped design, but it had a similar layout and lightweight construction. Unlike its predecessor, it featured engines borrowed from Isuzu. The 1.6-liter four-banger was rated at 162 mph and enabled the Elan to hit 60 mph in 6.5 seconds. Its top speed was estimated at 137 mph. The Series 2 model, produced from 1994 to 1995, featured a detuned 155-horsepower engine and was slower to 60 mph at 7.5 seconds.

The Elan was discontinued in 1995, but Lotus sold its production rights to Kia, which sold an almost identical version of the car from 1996 to 1999 with a 151-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder powerplant.

Source: Autocar

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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