Lotus Future Cars

Next-Generation Lotus Elise Coming In 2020

Next-Generation Lotus Elise Coming In 2020

The British brand can finally afford to develop a new sports car

Lotus is planning to launch a completely redesigned Lotus Elise for the 2020 model year. That’s the word from Autocar, which claims that the British automaker can finally afford to fun an all-new version of its lightweight sports car. A third-generation Elise has been on the drawing table since 2010, when Lotus showcased a concept car at the Paris Motor Show, but the company opted to introduce a facelift in 2011 due to financial difficulties. With Jean-Marc Gales at the helm since 2013, Lotus finally has the finances to create a new-generation model.

When Gales took over as CEO back in 2013, Lotus was in a serious financial crisis that almost led to bankruptcy. Thanks to his turnaround plan that focused on improving the existing product range and brought a revised Evora, upgraded version of the Elise and Exige, and a new 3-Eleven, Lotus has reached a safer point where it is financially stable, a first since around 2000.

The new-generation Elise is part of a massive overhaul of the entire Lotus lineup that will include redesigned Exige and Evora models too, but production of new cars won’t commence until 2019, a plan that gives the company enough time to adjust as far as development and production goes. The new Elise will feature a redesigned bonded and extruded aluminum chassis and according to Gales, it will continue to tip the scales at under 1,000 kg (2,200 pounds). More importantly, the Elise is being developed for the U.S. market too, with North American customers to finally get another model besides the Evora.

The Elise is the company’s oldest nameplate in showrooms, having been launched in 1996 as a successor to the Elan. Sold as the Series 1 until to 2001, the Elise received its most comprehensive upgrade 15 years ago. The sports car was once again updated in 2011, but since then Lotus launched a wide range of versions and special-edition cars. A more track-focused variant, the Elise Cup 250, was introduced at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. The Elise was last offered in the U.S. in 2011.

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Lotus will Lend a Hand in Developing Upcoming Mercedes Hypercar

Lotus will Lend a Hand in Developing Upcoming Mercedes Hypercar

German automaker is playing its cards right by adding Lotus in the project

Mercedes-AMG’s plan to build a Formula One-inspired hypercar is apparently going to come with some tuning assistance from Lotus. The exact details of Lotus’ involvement wasn’t made clear, but a source has told Autocar that the British automaker’s participation in the high-profile project will largely revolve around establishing a chassis setup that will make the hypercar, codenamed the R50, well suited for driving in road conditions.

Keep in mind that if Lotus really is involved in the project, it reportedly isn’t the first time that the two automakers have broken tech bread together. The same source indicated that Lotus has already been involved in the chassis tuning of another recent Mercedes performance model, which likely points to the just-unveiled AMG GT R.

The involvement of Lotus is critical in the overall makeup of the R50 as the British automaker is largely regarded as one of the best in the business in creating some of the best handling cars in the world. Granted, it hasn’t been involved in a project as high-stakes as the one Mercedes is developing, but it does have the support of the German automaker’s own team of engineers and developers, who themselves are no slouches when it comes to developing high-performance machines.

As for the car itself, it is believed to already be in the early stages of physical development. The body itself will be built using a carbon fiber monocoque similar to the one Mercedes is using on its WO7 Formula One race car. Likewise, the F1 influence doesn’t end there as certain hardware and software systems will also be used on the R50. What’s unclear at this point is the specific details regarding the car’s powertrain. The German automaker has made no announcements pertaining to any details about the car, but a previous report from Top Gear indicated that Mercedes is considering a hybrid powertrain made up of a three electric motors and a heavily modified version of the current engine being used on the W07 racer.

No timetable has been set on when the R50 is going to make its debut, although there’s strong sentiment that Mercedes is preparing the car specifically as a special project to commemorate AMG’s 50th anniversary in 2017.

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Next Lotus Elise to Remain True to its Roots

Next Lotus Elise to Remain True to its Roots

Lotus CEO promises lightweight fun, value for money

Lotus has been rolling out all sorts of updates for the Elise recently, but it’s also working on a new iteration of the sports car. Essentially 15 years old as of 2016, the current Elise will get a replacement in 2020. That’s the word from company CEO Jean-Marc Gales, who also revealed that the next-generation model will remain true to its engineering roots.

According to gales, work on the redesigned roadster has already begun as Lotus is developing an extruded aluminum chassis around the same technology that debuted in the original Elise S1 back in 1996. The platform underpins all of the company’s cars today, but Gales thinks it can be substantially improved by 2020. This is the key to keeping the new Elise as close as possible to the original, especially when it comes to lightness and handling.

Autocar claims that Lotus aims for a curb weight of 900 kg (1,984 pounds), exactly 175 (386 pounds) more than the original model. Although it may seem like a lot of extra weight for a significantly newer car, we need to keep in mind that the third-gen Elise will have to comply with stricter safety requirements, especially in the United States. On the other hand, a 900-kg third-gen Elise would be lighter than the current Elise Cup 250, which tips the scales at an amazing 921 kg (2,030 pounds).

As far as design goes, the new Elise will remain true to the current styling. Although this means that many of the current features will be carried over, Lotus will redesign enough elements to give the sports car a fresh look. The car could be wider though in order to meet U.S. crash ratings.

Unless Lotus decided to that it’s time for a massive change in the drivetrain department, the next Elise will also feature Toyota-sourced engines and transmissions. We expect the third-gen model to benefit from up to 250 horsepower.

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Lotus Production Facility Expected To Begin Construction Later This Year

Lotus Production Facility Expected To Begin Construction Later This Year

Facility will eventually be the production home of the future Lotus SUV

Lotus’ plan to build an SUV isn’t exactly a tightly kept secret these days. In fact, Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales has repeatedly alluded to the company’s plans to have an SUV serve as its mass-market model to complement the range of sports cars it has in its portfolio. The latest news on this front comes by way of Bernama, Malaysia’s national news agency, which is reporting that Lotus’ new production facility is expected to begin construction by the end of 2016, essentially putting into motion the automaker’s long-term plan of launching the yet-to-be-named SUV by 2019.

The plant, which will be co-developed by Proton, Group Lotus and Goldstar Heavy Industrial, will be located in Guangzhou, China and will reportedly cost as much as $1.5 billion. Among other things, the site will eventually include a headquarters, presumably to be used by Lotus, as well as production facilities and a research and development center. Guangzhou Development and Reform Commission Deputy Director Wang Ke Si old Bernama that the site itself is still under development and will need the approval of “ministries, National Development and Reform Commission and other related commissions.”

It’s been said that Lotus is targeting China as the primary market for its SUV, although Gales also mentioned in the past that the model will hit other key markets all over the world, including the U.S. A design for the SUV is still currently being worked on and from past statements, Lotus is keen on coming up with a design that doesn’t exist in the automotive world yet.

For now, the primary objective is to begin construction of the production facility that will eventually be the production home of the SUV. All signs seem to point to the automaker receiving all the necessary approvals within the year, giving all relevant parties enough time to begin the construction of the facility by the end of 2016.

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Lotus Eyeing Detuned Version Of Evora In The US Market

Lotus Eyeing Detuned Version Of Evora In The US Market

Automaker has to abide by America’s tough emissions rules

After a short hiatus from the U.S. market, the Lotus Evora is expected to make a nice comeback, albeit in a slightly different form from the ones being offered in Europe today. A report from Automotive News is pointing at a May 2016 return for the Evora 2+2. The only caveat is that it’s going to be a detuned, entry-level version of the V-6-powered Evora 400. Before anybody starts slamming their fists on the table, it’s important to know that the decision to bring a detuned version of the Evora hinged primarily on Lotus having to meet America’s emissions requirements.

So it’s not all bad. Lotus is just trying to follow the rules, even if it comes at the cost of offering an Evora with less power. The upside is that it’ll have better fuel economy. Just as important, the Evora has since been updated from the last iteration that was sold here to ensure that it complied with the stricter airbag regulations.

Now, about that engine. Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales intimated to Automotive News the company’s goal of dropping its carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. by three percent per year over a five-year period. For Lotus to make that work, it would have to offer a detuned version of the Evora 400, which would entail dropping the sports car’s supercharger entirely. Doing so would reduce the V-6 engine’s power, but it would also improve fuel economy and in turn, help the company achieve that five-year emissions goal it placed on itself.

Granted, Gales admitted that the supercharger-less Evora is just one of the options he’s looking into. But it is a scenario that’s more realistic than removing the supercharged V-6 entirely and replacing it with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. That door is less likely to be opened because the company doesn’t see the short- and long-term benefits it could have on the Evora.

For now, this news is a matter of taking the good with the bad. The good news is that the Evora’s vacation from the U.S. market is over. The bad news is that it’s really not going to be the Evora 400 that Europe and other markets currently have. But I’m sure American customers would learn to accept that, especially if the U.S.-spec Evora, especially if it comes at a much cheaper price than the $90,000 price tag of the Evora 400, and if it will also come with a roadster variant in 2017.

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Lotus Drops New Details On All-New Elise And Evora 400 Roadster

Lotus Drops New Details On All-New Elise And Evora 400 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.

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Lotus Crossover To Be Inspired By The 3-Eleven

Lotus Crossover To Be Inspired By The 3-Eleven

Though it’s no longer a mystery that Lotus plans to develop an SUV and launch it by 2020, details as to what it might bring to the table are still scarce. And as is the case with family vehicles coming from sports car manufacturers, our main concern about Lotus’ first-ever crossover is whether it will live up to its badge. Well, we won’t find out for sure until it hits dealerships some four years for now, but company CEO Jean-Marc Gales claims it will be unlike any other sporty crossover launched before now.

"It looks like a Lotus SUV, it looks lightweight, and it will drive like no other SUV because it will be much lighter," Gales told CAR, which adds that the vehicle will be about the size of a Porsche Macan, but will sit lower and weight up to 660 pounds less. Motivation will reportedly come from four-cylinder and V-6 engines, as well as a hybrid drivetrain.

What about styling? According to Gales, the crossover "will look stunning." It’s front fascia will feature cues from the 3-Eleven, "plus hints of the 1974 Elite and other Lotus cars." It all sounds great here, but the reference to the 1974 Elite is a bit weird. That’s because the second-gen Elite employed a wedge design and featured a pointy noise and an overall boxy shape. You don’t get to see that nowadays and Lotus quit making wedge-designed cars in 2004, when the Esprit was discontinued.

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Lotus CEO Unveils Future Plans

Lotus CEO Unveils Future Plans

After two difficult years during which it almost went bankrupt, Lotus is finally back on track with a new model for 2015 and two more to follow in 2016. A crossover, Lotus’ first effort in this nice, is also scheduled to arrive by the end of the decade, but according to brand CEO Jean-Marc Gales, there more to come from the Hethel-based automaker.

Speaking to Dutch outlet De Telegraaf, Gales disclosed that the Exige and the Elise are also in for updates by 2017. A new Exige — to replace the current S V6 model, launched in 2012 — will arrive in late 2016, while the new Elise will be launched sometime in 2017 (likely in the second half of the year). The current 2011 Lotus Elise is already 14 years old and received its latest upgrade in 2011.

Gales also confirmed that the 2017 Lotus Evora 400 Roadster will break cover in early 2016, while deliveries of the recently unveiled 2016 Lotus 3-Eleven sports car will commence in February. Finally, the brand’s first crossover will hit dealerships sometime in 2019.

Gales declined to comment as to what upgrades the new Exige and Elise will receive, but I expect significant changes in the design and drivetrain departments. Also, there’s no word on whether these sports cars will make it to the U.S.

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2017 Lotus Evora 400 Roadster

2017 Lotus Evora 400 Roadster

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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Lotus Evora Roadster To Arrive Stateside in Mid-2016

Lotus Evora Roadster To Arrive Stateside in Mid-2016

The updated 2016 Lotus Evora 400 has yet to cross the pond to the U.S., but Lotus has already confirmed a roadster version is also underway. Speaking to Automotive News, Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales said Lotus will bring a drop-top version of the Evora 400 to the U.S. six months after the coupe launches on this side of the Atlantic.

Since the newly introduced Evora 400 will arrive in U.S. dealerships in December 2015, it’s safe to assume the roadster will hit these shores by June 2016.

"The roadster is the quintessential U.S. car. We are betting heavily on Florida and California with it," said Gales, who expects U.S. demand for the open-top Evora 400 to match that for the coupe. That’s about 500 units a year for each version.

Gales went on to confirm that the roadster will feature a two-piece, Targa-style carbon-fiber roof that can be stowed behind the seats. Though he refrained from disclosing other details, it’s safe to assume the roadster will be identical to the coupe from the top down, including the engine. As a reminder, the Evora 400’s supercharged, 3.5-liter V-6 is good for 400 horsepower and 302 pound-feet of torque and pushes the coupe from 0 to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds and up to a top speed of 186 mph.

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Lotus Confirms Evora 400 Roadster And 4-Eleven

Lotus Confirms Evora 400 Roadster And 4-Eleven

Lotus has made a lot of promises over the years that it hasn’t delivered on at all; the company is basically the alcoholic dad of sports car manufacturers. But Lotus has been under new management lately, with boss Jean-Marc Gales at the job for just over a year. And so far, Gales seems to be delivering. We recently got the 2016 Lotus 3-Eleven and things certainly appear to be on track for the upcoming 2018 Lotus SUV, painful as that might be for some to accept.

Gales recently sat down with Top Gear Magazine to talk about where the company is headed. A couple of very interesting things came out of this too; mainly the revelation that an Evora 400 Roadster is coming and that there are plans for a 4-Eleven in two years. That same year will also see a new Exige, an evolution of the current design, and Gales promises that all of the cars in the lineup will continue to get faster and lighter. The Evora 400 Roadster will have two removable roof sections in the usual Lotus fashion, but here they will be carbon fiber and weigh just 3kg (6.6lbs) each. No details yet on the 4-Eleven.

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Lotus Will Initially Offer Its SUV To China

Lotus Will Initially Offer Its SUV To China

Lotus is making moves to offer its first-ever SUV to the Chinese market by 2019. If the Chinese release is a success, Lotus will consider bringing it to other markets, including North America and Europe. However, the process could take up to five years, which would put the 2018 Lotus SUV on our shores around 2024. 

That’s the word coming from Lotus’ CEO Jean-Marc Gales, who broke the news in an interview with Auto Express. 

“The first market will be China but we haven’t yet decided if it will be sold anywhere else. But obviously if the car is a success there – and I strongly believe it will – we will go outside of China,” Gales told the U.K. publication.

In the interview, Gales reconfirmed that the new SUV will be lighter and faster than the competition. He also called out Stuttgart, saying, “The nearest rival will be the Porsche Macan – but ours will be better.”

Earlier this year, Lotus’ owner, the Malaysian company DRB-Hicom, signed a joint-venture agreement with Chinese manufacturing company Goldstar Heavy Industrial to help push the new SUV forward. The Chinese government has yet to grant the licenses required to begin production. 

So far, there’s no word on what platform the SUV will utilize, but in a previous interview with Car And Driver, Gales said Lotus might source something from its parent company, Proton. 

On the engine side of things, Gales said he would like to continue Lotus’ partnership with Toyota, which puts gasoline and possibly hybrid power on the table. But in order to be sold in Europe, Gales said the SUV would need to be offered with a diesel powerplant. Given Toyota is now focused on developing tech like hydrogen fuel cells, Lotus might need to source its diesel options from another automaker.

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