The Lotus Elan Could Come Back, and It’ll Take the Porsche 718 Boxster Head On
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.
2018 Lotus 3-Eleven 430
As Lotus prepares to enter a new chapter in its life, the British automaker is saying goodbye to the pee-inducing 3-Eleven with an even more limited version of the already limited track superstar. Confused? Don’t be. The Lotus 3-Eleven 430 is the true limited edition model here because only 20 models are going to be made. It also happens to be the fastest and most powerful car Lotus has ever created, a staggering boast considering that its predecessor was already cable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.3 seconds before setting off to a top speed run reaching 174 mph. If you thought the 3-Eleven was fast, Lotus will beg to differ. The 3-Eleven 430 has taken its place on that throne.
2017 Lotus Elise Cup 260
Arguably the most iconic Lotus still in production, the Elise has been around for more than two decades. Now in its third generation, the tiny Elise is heading toward a major redesign that will bring a faster, lighter car into dealerships. But despite working on a brand-new model, Lotus isn’t yet willing to give up on the current Elise, and it keeps pushing the limits of the small roadster with all sorts of limited-edition packages and upgrades. With several new iterations launched in 2016 and 2017, Lotus has prepared yet another version of its supercharged two-door. It’s called the Cup 260 and its the lightest, quickest road-legal Elise built to date.
Developed as the company prepares for the 70th anniversary of when founder Colin Chapman built his first car in 1948, the Cup 260 is based on the Cup 250 model that came in 2016 and includes nearly all of the lightweight Elise Cup options as standard. It also sports the latest visual upgrades that Lotus introduced for the standard Elise, as well as a comprehensive aerodynamic package that adds a tremendous amount of downforce at high speeds. Naturally, it’s the quickest Elise on the brand’s Hethel track, and its production is limited to only a handful of examples. Find out more about that below.
Continue reading to learn more about the Lotus Elise Cup 260.
2017 Lotus Evora GT430
Feast your eyes on this beauty. This is the new Lotus Evora GT430 and it’s the fastest, lightest, and most powerful road-going Lotus ever made. That’s a lot of superlatives right there, and for good reason. No other production Lotus in the company’s long and proud history can match wits with the Evora GT430, and that includes the Evora 410, the predecessor to the GT430 that also held all those titles before the Evora GT430 came along.
There are a lot of reasons to get excited about Lotus’ new baby, not the least of which are the distinctions that it already has. In addition to that, though, this two-seater sports car is also going to be a lot more exclusive than any special edition Lotus Evora before it. Only 60 units are planned for the model. Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales calls the Evora GT430 “a true track-and-back sports car,” and there’s really no reason to argue those sentiments. It looks like an all-conquering roadster, has a surprisingly posh interior, and packs enough power to reach speeds in excess of 190 mph. Really, what more do you want out of a Lotus that the Evora GT430 doesn’t provide?
Continue after the jump to read more about the Lotus Evora GT430.
Get Your Simplified Lightness On With The Lotus Exige Cup 380
Lotus has been pumping out successively quicker iterations of the Exige for several years now, including the Sport 350 unveiled in 2015, and the Sport 380 that dropped early last year. The latest is this – the Exige Cup 380, a car Lotus is calling the “ultimate track-and-back street-legal Lotus.” Essentially an even more focused iteration of the Sport 380, the Cup 380 once again strives for that tried-and-true Lotus performance philosophy, striking a balance between street-legal road car and track-burning race car. It’s a lithe supercar killer sporting revised aero and even less weight, making for a spec sheet absolutely worthy of the green and yellow badge glued to the nose.
The big selling point here is the car’s power-to-weight ratio, with 355 horsepower available to motivate 1 metric ton (2,205 pounds) of curb weight. That means it’ll hit 60 mph in as little as 3.4 seconds, while top speed is rated at 175 mph. But, in addition to lots of straight-line performance, the Lotus also offers lots of stick, generating as much as 200 kg (441 pounds) at speed thanks to an extensive rework of the exterior wings and spoilers. That’s an increase of 43 percent compared to the Exige Sport 380, and combined with more rubber in the rear, the Cup 380 should be an absolute riot on the track. Read on for more info.
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2016 Lotus 3-Eleven
Having launched the 2015 Lotus Elise S Cup in 2014 and the 2016 Lotus Evora 400 in 2015, Lotus is slowly but surely heading toward stability under the guidance of Jean-Marc Gales. The Frenchman joined the company in May 2014, when the Brits were struggling to stay afloat with net losses at more than $250 million at the end of 2013. Now that the British brand is somewhat stable, Gales reportedly wants three new vehicles in dealerships, including an Evora Roadster, an SUV, and a successor to the 2-Eleven. And the latter was just introduced at the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Dubbed 3-Eleven, the new sports car follows in the footsteps of its predecessor in just about every respect. It sports the barchetta-style design and features a comprehensive aerodynamic kit that includes all the goodies usually seen on a hardcore track car, including a large front splitter and rear wing, as well as a race-spec diffuser.
What sets the 3-Eleven apart from its ancestor besides the updated styling is the significantly more powerful engine and the fact that it comes in two versions. The Brits will built models for both the road and the track. Both will feature the same powerplant, but the racing variant will feature improved aerodynamics to help it go faster around the track. Lotus also aims to lap the Nurburgring in only 7:09 with the 3-Eleven, which would make it the fifth quickest production car on the "Green Hell."
Updated 09/21/2016: Lotus took the 3-Eleven to the famous Nurburgring track. Hit "play" to watch how the sports car behaved on the track, having Nordschleife expert and professional racer Marc Basseng behind the wheel.
Continue reading to learn more about the Lotus 3-Eleven.
2016 Lotus Elise 250 Special Edition
It seems like every month one automaker or another has a reason to celebrate and create some limited-run, special-edition model. Today, Lotus has announced its latest special edition that was designed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the company’s Hethel site. The car is called the Elise 350 Special Edition, and it is based on the Elise Cup 250 that launched just a few months ago. Powered by a supercharged four-cylinder, this thing delivers more than 240 horsepower and comes complete with lots of carbon fiber on the outside and a hand-finished interior. As Lotus put it, “It perfectly defines the quintessential British sports car in the celebration year.”
Outside of being quick thanks to that supercharged four-banger, this baby is also pretty aesthetically pleasing and can be had in a number of colors. On top of that, the car can also be personalized through the Lotus Exclusive Program, which means that each of the 50 units slated for production could turn out to be completely unique. For the record, Lotus claims this special-edition model can lap its Hethel test circuit in just 1 minute and 34 seconds – the fastest so far of any road-going Elise.
Jean-Marc Gales, the CEO of Group Lotus plc, said, “When we first introduced the Elise, it redefined how involving and exciting, yet civilized, a sports car could be. As the Elise was conceived, designed, engineered and is built at Hethel, we wanted a 50th tribute that’s even lighter than the fastest road-going Elise we’ve ever produced. The new Elise 250 Special Edition achieves that, so it’s supremely quick and agile, but it’s also wonderfully finished and stunning to look at.”
So, with that said, let’s take a good look at this special-edition Elise and see what all the hype is about.
Continue reading to learn more about the Lotus Elise 250 Special Edition.
2017 Lotus Elise Race 250
Now entering its second decade in production, the Lotus Elise is simply one of the most capable speed machines on the planet, as evidenced by the numerous platform iterations (Tesla Roadster, Hennessey Venom GT, etc.) and high-spec track day specials that have sprung up over the years. Now, Lotus is offering its most hardcore track-oriented Elise to date, and it’s called the Race 250. The number is a reference to the car’s blown 1.8-liter output figures, which are complemented by a slew of standard performance options, including a race-ready interior, full aerodynamics, adjustable suspension, and a fiber-rich diet. And, as luck would have it, it’s coming to the U.S.
According to Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus plc., “The Elise Race 250 is the fastest, most focused Elise we’ve ever produced and, judging by what it’s capable of on track, it looks set to become a favorite with our racers around the world.”
Backing Gales’ claim is the Race 250’s 1:33.5 lap time around Lotus’ Hethel test track, a time that bests the Elise Cup 220 R by a full half-second and secures the 250’s spot as the fastest racing Elise that Lotus has ever developed.
So what exactly makes this mighty little giant slayer so darn potent? Read on for the details.
Continue reading to learn more about the Lotus Elise Race 250.
2000 Lotus 340R
When you’re a company like Lotus, you can build things that are a little out of the ordinary from time to time. Take, for example, the Lotus 340R. It’s a special-edition model derived from the Lotus Elise. It shares the same underpinnings, but features a custom-built body shell with no roof or doors to speak of – that’s right, the only way to get into this bad boy is to jump over the edge. There’s more to it than its unique body style, though. Only 340 examples were built, all of which sold out prior to the car’s official debut, and it comes equipped with exclusive tires made by Yokohama.
The 340R is a mid-engined roadster, and all 340 examples were built with the same silver and black two-tone finish. It was built at the brand’s Hethel factory and was never slated for the U.S. market, so it’s not exactly road legal here in the states. It is, however, road-legal in the U.K. – the market it was originally built for. That said, there are a few that may have crossed the big drink to the U.S., but there is only one that is claimed to be road-legal in the states, and that is the one pictured here.
The car you see in our photo gallery was listed for sale on Ebay back in 2014, and, as of this writing, it’s now being sold by a local dealer in Hollywood, Florida, with just over 3,500 miles. So, let’s take a few minutes to go over this special-edition model and see what it brings to the table.
Continue reading to see what made the Lotus 340R so special.
2016 Lotus Elise Cup 250
2015 was a busy year for Lotus. Not only did the Brits revamp the Elise and Exige with updated models, but they also launched a significantly upgraded Evora, the brand-new 3-Eleven, and announced plans to develop their first-ever SUV. Having already launched the new Lotus Exclusive customization program in January 2016, the brand introduced the beefed-up Elise Cup 250 as its first new model for the year.
Essentially an lighter and more powerful version of the previous Elise Cup, the Cup 250 is the quickest road-going Elise ever from 0 to 60 mph as well as on Lotus’ iconic Hethel test track. As with most updates, the Cup 250 comes with new and revised features, extra options, and access to the company’s new Lotus Exclusive program. The Cup 250 joins the less track-oriented Sport and Sport 220 in the 2016 Elise lineup. The new Elise Cup 250 went on sale in most markets in April 2016 and in 2017 gained an update with revised looks and aerodynamics. Unfortunately, the sports car won’t cross the pond to the U.S., where Lotus can only sell the Evora 400 due to America’s strict safety requirements.
Keep reading to find out more about the Lotus Elise Cup 250.
Lotus Super Seven Takes The Spotlight In New Petrolicious Episode: Video
In a day and age wherein cars have become awash in technology, there’s something to be said for a classic road-going sports car that still catches people’s attention despite being more than 50 years old. I’m talking about the 1963 Lotus Super Seven Series II, a sports car so unpretentious it flies against everything we associate with the modern day sports car. You really need to look at it to understand how pure and simple it is. That’s also a big reason why Lotus Seven owner Geoff Wise loves his car so much.
In the latest episode of Petrolicious, Wise talks about his love affair with his Lotus Seven and how he came to own this beauty of a sports car. See, unlike most people who get featured on Petrolicious, Wise didn’t set out to build his Lotus Super Seven from the ground-up. On the contrary, he actually bought the car and disassembled it before converting it to be more of a road car. He did add some modern tech to complement the car’s bored and stroked 1.7-liter four-cylinder, which he claims makes 120 horsepower. It’s not the fastest car in the world by any means, but with the car weighing just over 1,000 pounds, those 120 horses makes it seem like it is.
This is a labor of love in every sense of the phrase and Wise feels vindicated knowing that his Super Seven gets plenty of attention wherever he goes. He says that adults admire it, but it’s really the kids that get a real kick out of the car. It’s hard not to imagine why it gets the attention it does, especially when you see it in the company of today’s cars. There aren’t a lot of things more gravitating than seeing a sports car from the 60’s run so smoothly, as if reminding us that there was a time when people loved to drive these cars, not because of the technology they had, but because it was just fun to do it. Looking at Wise’s face when he talks about his Super Seven, it’s easy to see why he loves his car so much.
Sports Auto Sets Hockenheimring Lap Record With A Lotus 3-Eleven
They say that lap times are meant to be broken and the only surprise is what car breaks them. German auto magazine Sport Auto also knows a thing or two about setting fast lap times, having used the Hockenheim race track as its personal proving ground for some of the fastest production cars it has tested. Recently, Sport Auto took a Lotus 3-Eleven, considered as the fastest series production model from to come out of Lotus, to Hockenheim for a series of hot laps, not knowing that it would end up setting a lap record around the Hockenheimring short circuit with a blistering time of 1.06:2.
If that isn’t impressive enough, the 460-horsepower 3-Eleven managed to knock off the Porsche 918 Spyder (1.06:3), the Gumpert Apollo (1.07:2), and the Radical SR3 SL (1.08:1) from their respective places in the top 3. Those are three legitimate supercars and one of them (the 918 Spyder) has even been billed as a hypercar.
Sport Auto road test editor Christian Gebhardt took the wheel of the 3-Eleven and set the record lap time despite having to use standard road tires for the lap. Oh, and temperatures around the track didn’t push past eight degrees Celsius (46.4 degrees Fahrenheit), which meant that he set that record lap time in sub-optimal weather conditions.
But none of these ready-made excuses ended up slowing down the Lotus 3-Eleven, which now sits comfortably in the magazine’s lap-time chart around the Hockenheimring short circuit. It remains to be seen how long the track-spec racer holds that record, but for as long as it lasts, the 3-Eleven can lay claim to being the fastest around the German circuit against some of the fastest supercars in the world today.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
2017 Lotus Exige Sport 350 Roadster
Lotus appears to be making a decent comeback these days. The 2016 Geneva Motor Show saw the performance automaker debut an open-top, lightweight version of its Exige Coupe, which itself made its debut near the end of 2015.
The Exige Sport 350 Roadster takes Lotus’ theme to the maximum. Despite having a removable top – something that normally adds weight – the Exige Sport 350 Roadster is a full 88 pounds lighter than its coupe counterpart thanks to a bevy of lightweight add-ons. This list includes lighter, forged alloy wheels, cross drilled and vented two-piece brake rotors, and a slew of carbon fiber body panels. Now the rear hatch, side air intakes, seats, and front access panel are made from carbon fiber. Even the battery has been replaced with a Lithium-ion unit that weights less.
“We achieved so much when developing the Exige Sport 350, reducing weight and making it even sharper and tightly focused,” says Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus plc. “The Exige Sport 350 Roadster takes this yet further. Yet again we’ve been able to slash weight to produce something that should be on every sports car fan’s wish list.”
Lotus hasn’t messed with the Exige’s powertrain, save for a new six-speed manual transmission that is said to provide better shifts while, of course, cutting weight. For those wanting some injected heritage, Lotus offers an optional trim pack that adds sport seats and door panels covered in classic Lotus colors.
Continue reading to learn more about the Lotus Exige Sport 350 Roadster.
Lotus may not be as busy as some of the bigger automakers, but the sports car company has been doing work in reinventing its own lineup. And if CEO Jean-Marc Gales has his way, the model range of Lotus will look entirely different from the one it has today.
Speaking with Auto Express, Gales dropped some new details on a handful of Lotus’s models, including the upcoming Elise and a roadster version of the Evora 400. Development for the new Elise is considered to be one of Lotus’s highest priorities, at least right next to its promise of releasing a new SUV by 2020. Since the Elise is considered as one of the company’s most important models, Gales wants it to remain fit for the role. That’s why the all-new Elise, which is scheduled to launch in 2019, will be developed to fit the role of an every-day vehicle. Thinking about such a role for the Elise runs counter to the spirit of the vehicle as a lightweight sports car, but Lotus believes that it could package the new Elise with the kind of handling characteristics that would make it suited for everyday use.
The new Elise will also feature a new aluminum-bodied chassis that Gales described as having “narrower sills” to improve access. Just as important will be its weight, something that Lotus is determined to also help the car’s handling dynamics. Gales didn’t say how much lighter the new Evora is going to compared to the existing model, but he did say that shaving off pounds will be one of the new model’s defining characteristics when it hits markets in 2019.
In the mean time, Lotus is also working on launching a topless version of the Evora 400, a car that the company debuted at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. With a hefty power boost and refreshed fascias, the Evora 400 is expected to set its sights on both the Alfa Romeo 4C and the Porsche Cayman GT4. Well, if Lotus has its way, a roadster version of the sports car could arrive as early as late 2016, packing all sorts of goodies like a two-part carbon-fiber roof that can be removed manually.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
The British made Lotus Elise debuted back in 1996, sporting a fiberglass body and a bonded aluminum chassis that helped the car set the market standard for efficiency, handling, and driving experience. The car helped launch Lotus back into the lightweight sports car market and was actually named after the granddaughter of Romano Artioli’s – Lotus’ chairperson at the time. At its birth, the Elise put out 118 horsepower and 122 pound-feet of torque. It tipped the scale at 1,521 pounds, hit 60 mph in 5.8 seconds, and had a top speed of 126 mph.
That was 20 years ago, and now Lotus is releasing an all-new Elise Sport and Elise Sport 220 – that’s right, Lotus is bringing the “Sport” name back after being used previously on the Lotus Espirit. The Elise Sport is the entry-level model. It has significantly less power than the Elise Sport 220, but it still provides the handling and performance you would expect from the lightweight two-seater.
The most significant benefit of the Elise Sport is its drop in weight compared to the previous Elise. With that weight loss comes more efficiency and better fuel consumption, plus a price tag that makes the car a bit more affordable. Will the Elise Sport appease newcomers and loyal customers? Well, let’s take a deeper look at the car and see just what it offers.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Lotus Esprit Sport.
Jean-Marc Gales’ arrival at Lotus in May 2014 marked the beginning of a new era for the struggling British manufacturer. Under his leadership, Lotus revamped the Evora, launched a new 3-Eleven, and made big steps toward building its very first SUV. The aging Elise, however, has yet to be redesigned, and according to Gales that won’t happen until 2017. There is some good news for Elise fans though, as the sports roadster has just received a significant update for 2016.
Set to hit the European dealerships in December 2015 and other markets in January 2016, the updated sports car will be sold as the Elise Sport and Sport 220. The models replace the previous Elise and Elise S and mark a return of the "Sport" nameplate on a Lotus after a 16-year hiatus. The previous model to use the moniker was the Esprit, which spawned 300 Sport and Sport 350 versions in 1993 and 1999, respectively.
“We have further refined, distilled and sharpened the driving experience offered by our best selling sports car of the last 20 years, the Lotus Elise. Over the years, with each improvement to the Elise, we have ensured that the purity of the driving experience has been retained and improved upon and with these two new models, we have taken it on to the next level,” said Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus.
The updated Sport 220 is lighter than the previous Elise S and received a number of new features inside and out. Keep reading to find out more about these changes.
Continue reading to learn more about the Lotus Elise Sport 220.
Lotus was in big trouble a couple of years ago, struggling with net losses of more than $250 million a year. That’s when Jean-Marc Gales stepped in as CEO and the British finally began to move in the right direction. Gales’ new strategy included a redesign of the Evora, which allowed Lotus to continue its operations on U.S. soil. Now, only a few months before the new 2016 Lotus Evora 400 goes on sale nationwide, Gales confirmed there’s also a roadster version on the way.
The convertible sports car will cross the pond to the U.S. six months after the coupe, which means a launch date is expected sometime in June 2016. When it arrives, the Evora 400 Roadster will join a market that already includes two remarkable sports cars, the 2016 Porsche Boxster Spyder and the 2016 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, both newly introduced for the 2016 model year. As it stands, Lotus won’t have it easy, but despite rough competition, Gales still hopes the new roadster will be as popular as the coupe.
There aren’t many official details to run by here, but the car is not much of a mystery. Moreover, Gales was kind enough to provide just about enough info on the Roadster to allow us to put together a rendering of the car, as well as a speculative review on what it might bring to the table.
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