History of the 1967 Lotus 49 and How You Can Own One
In racing, there are great drivers and utterly astonishing ones and Jim Clark undoubtedly belongs to the latter category, the quiet farmer from Scotland scoring 25 Grand Prix victories and clinching two World Driver’s Titles on top of an Indy 500 victory in just six years. This car, the fourth Lotus 49 ever built, was driven by Clark to his final F1 success and it’s now for sale in Germany. Prepare to call your bank!
It’s not often that we see cars driven by the world’s finest drivers come up for sale. In November, a buzzing crowd gathered to see Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari F2002 that the seven-time World Driver’s Champion drove to victory in the 2002 French GP across the block in Abu Dhabi. At over $6.6 million, it became the second most expensive F1 car ever to be sold at a public auction. The first? Another one of Michael’s unbeatable Ferraris. It is natural, then, to expect a car driven by the ’Schumacher of the ’60s’ to be really expensive, more so when the car in question is the brilliant 49.
Holy Smokes, Is Lotus Bringing Back the Esprit?
The Lotus Esprit was made famous first and foremost by its submarine derivative from the James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me. Wet Nellie (yes, that’s the car’s nickname) was based on a 1977 Series I Esprit or Esprit S1.
Esprit production, however, started two years before in 1975, and was eventually stopped in 2004. But if a recent report holds any truth, Lotus is looking to revive the Esprit moniker by infusing it with hybrid power. Did we get your attention? Good. Read on, then.
The $3 Million Lotus Evija Is Already Sold Out for 2020; Major Testing Underway
The Lotus Evija look us back when it was first announced. Not only was it primed to be the world’s most powerful production car, but it was also an all-electric beast that carries a price tag of £2.04 million or $3.11 million at current exchange rates. In a crazy turn of events that usually only happens for brands like Bugatti, Koenigsegg, and Ferrari, Lotus is now reporting that the Evija – which will be buil tin just 130 examples – has been sold out for the 2020 model year. It sounds like a big deal, and it is, but we have no idea of how many Lotus has actually sold.
Forget About No Time To Die, Check Out These Rad James Bond Cars Instead
Although James Bond movies typically go together like winter and January, the upcoming No Time To Die installment has made a lot of gearheads happy. You could attribute that to the power of social media and car brands wanting as much exposure as possible, but it’s surely nice that so much car content has been generated by the latest 007 movie.
Daniel Craig’s last ride as James Bond will see some Land Rover Defenders bouncing off rough terrain, crashing, and then bouncing some more. It also motivated Top Gear to go out and drive some of the best Bond cars to feature on the big screen.
2020 Lotus Elise Cup 250 Bathurst Edition
Lotus is paying homage to Australia’s most famous race by launching the Elise Cup 250 Bathurst Edition. Limited to just six units — yes, six — the Elise Cup 250 Bathurst Edition is as exclusive as it’s going to get. The special edition sports car boasts exclusive features befitting its status, none more prominent than a rare paint finish that hasn’t been used in a Lotus since the Lotus Esprit that starred in the James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me.
In addition to the exclusive paint, the Elise 250 Bathurst Edition also comes with interior upgrades and mechanical improvements. The sports car’s 1.8-liter supercharged four-cylinder engine, on the other hand, remains in stock form. The cost of owning one of the six Lotus Elise 250 Bathurst Edition models sits at AUD109,900.
That converts to around $73,760 based on current exchange rates. Unfortunately for us here in the U.S., all six units of the Elise 250 Bathurst Edition are exclusive to the Australian market.
2020 Lotus Evora GT410 “Phil’s Spec”
Believe it or not, the U.S.-Spec Lotus Evora is a little more down to Earth and quieter on the road. Once Lotus boss Phil Popham got behind the wheel of one, he decided Europe needed something a little more daily driver friendly too; that’s how the Lotus Evora GT410 came to be. It sits right alongside the Evora GT 410 Sport, but with being a little more road-focused, it has an entirely different attitude. Here’s what makes it different.
2020 Lotus Evija
The arrival of the Lotus Evija marks a watershed moment for Lotus. It wasn’t that long ago when the British automaker was floundering. It was strapped for cash and it barely produced enough models to thrive in a segment that had no shortage of worthy adversaries. Just when things were taking a turn for the worse, Chinese auto giant Geely came in, bought Lotus, and, well, the rest is history.
The Evija all-electric hypercar is the first Lotus product to be unveiled since its fortunes turned for the better. And what a product it is. The Evija is a technological tour de force, a stunning creation born from technological innovations that trace its roots to motor racing. Everything, and I mean everything, about the Lotus Evija is extraordinary. From its incredible aerodynamic design to the four electric motors and 70-kWh battery pack that feeds them, the Lotus Evija is the pinnacle of all-electric hypercar development. It also happens to be the most powerful production car in the world. All that for $2.1 million? This is no dream, folks. The Lotus Evija has arrived.
2020 Lotus SUV
The idea of a Lotus crossover might make some fans of the British sports carmaker a little squeamish, but if Lotus is going to stick around, it’s going to need a higher-volume model with more mass-market appeal. Lotus revealed that it’s developing a compact crossover in 2017, but we still don’t know much about its underpinnings and design. However, a batch of patent images that surfaced the Web provided some hints as to what the British crossover will look like, and our designer created a rendering of the vehicle.
So what do we actually know about this crossover so far? First, it will be built in China and launched exclusively in that market before expanding to Europe and Japan. No word on U.S. availability just yet, but it’s very likely that North America will get it too. Second, Lotus aims to win SUV enthusiasts with one of the lightest and most dynamic vehicles on the market. "The SUV market changes as well – it’s not just cars that are six feet high and wide now, it’s a huge market that’s becoming more segmented. There is a niche within that for a Lotus crossover that is light and aerodynamic and handles like nothing else," former Lotus CEO, Jean-Marc Gales told Autocar in October 2017. Lotus began testing the crossover in 2019, but the prototype is just an old Lynk & Co 01 model. As a reminder, Lynk & Co is owned by Geely, the same Chinese company that owns Lotus (and Volvo for that matter).
Updated 06/24/2019: Our spy photographers caught the very first mules for the upcoming Lotus SUV out for the first testing session.
Throwback: Lotus Wants to Wish You a Merry Driftmas and a Hethel New Year
It’s that time of the year again, when colorful lights shine to brighten the night, kids listen for the sound of sleigh bells, and the smell of burnt rubber lingers in the air. At least that’s the holiday season we like, and it would appear as though Lotus agrees with this Christmas-themed video featuring the Evora GT410 Sport sliding around for a drift-tastic tree delivery.
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.
Lotus’ Experience With AWD Stretches Back 50 Years, So They Know What They’re Doing On The Evija
Lotus, the legendary race car manufacturer turned sports car maker, unveiled the Evija earlier this year, its first all-electric car and, at the same time, its first hypercar and first AWD road-going model. The luscious beast features four electric motors, one behind each wheel, combining for a mind-boggling (and Pininfarina-beating) output of 1,971 horsepower, making it the fastest British hypercar. While a first in many aspects, it’s actually not the first Lotus where the power reaches all four wheels.
When the Evija was unveiled, showcasing Chinese giant Geely’s clear intention to revive the brand and make it more profitable than ever, most of the automotive world took a step back in awe but not everybody was as impressed by the $2.3 million car that will be built in a limited run of 130 units. We were among the skeptics, questioning whether or not the Evija is a clever way for Lotus to increase its revenue by building something it has never built before. We’ve also questioned the sudden move from ICE-powered cars to EVs without prior introduction of any hybrid model. But one area where Lotus does have some past experience is that of four-wheel-driven cars.
Back in the ’60s, when teams were racing on track to win races and off-track to build the cars capable to win those races, Lotus thought it could come up with a more maneuverable car than everybody else and that’s when the idea of having a system that would dispatch power to all four wheels instead of just two emerged. Sure, it’s nothing like the AWD technology on the Evija but, at least, Lotus can say it did build such cars in its storied past.
Lotus Isn’t Planning Another Hypercar But a New Sports Car Is Coming in 2020 - Will It Be Electric, Though?
Lotus’ first real hypercar, the all-electric Evija stunned enthusiasts and pundits alike last week and is a sign of things to come for the Geely-owned British sports car specialist. But, in the meantime, Lotus is also preparing to rejuvenate its otherwise dated lineup of more affordable sports cars. The new model, that will become its bread and butter in the following years, should arrive next year and pop up in showrooms by 2021. The big question, however, is this: will it be electric as we’ve heard in the past few months?
Taking a look through Lotus’ current catalog is akin to taking a trip down memory lane as you see old friends such as the Elise, the Exige, and, lastly, the Evora - the only one still available Stateside - soldiering on. It’s not uncommon for a low-volume manufacturer to push the envelope when it comes to keeping a model on life support before there’s an influx of capital that allows it to create something new but there’s no denying that the entire Lotus lineup is very much long in the tooth by now and in dire need of an update.
What is the Cheapest Lotus?
The cheapest Lotus is the base model Elise called the Elise Sport 220. In the U.K. (because the Elise is no longer imported into the U.S.), an Elise Sport 220 will set you back £41,950 which is the equivalent of $51,034. To put it into perspective, the cheapest Exige, namely the Sport 350, starts from £64,610 or $78,624 at the current exchange rates. The only Evora model still in production, namely the Evora GT410 Sport is even more expensive with a price tag of over $100,000. This is significantly more than the $78,792 MSRP of the Lotus Evora 400, the last Lotus officially available in the U.S. (that was discontinued in 2018).
What is the Sportiest Lotus?
The sportiest Lotus is the range-topping Exige Cup 430. As the name suggests, this track-oriented sports car cranks out 430 horsepower, 20 more than the Exige Sport 410. The 3.5-liter supercharged V-6 of Toyota-sourced engine delivers 325 pound-feet of torque and, since the whole car weighs just 2,447 pounds - less than a Ferrari F40 - it can go from naught to 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds before topping out at 174 mph. The Cup 430 features a carbon-fiber roof, rear wing, diffuser, and splitter, the whole aero package generating in excess of 210 pounds of downforce at speed. Stability on the track is provided by the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires.
What is the Most Popular Lotus?
The most popular Lotus is the Elise. The lithe sports car was a huge hit when first introduced back in 1995 when Lotus was owned by Italian entrepreneur Romano Artioli. In just two years, Lotus sold 1,000 Elise examples but, nowadays, the market has shrunk considerably. If Lotus would dispatch 2,500 cars per year some two decades ago, it only sold 584 cars of all types in 2018 (down from 783 in 2017). Out of those 584 cars, 257 were Elises, reconfirming the model’s status as the most popular Lotus - although even the Elise is taking a hit with sales dropping below 300 units per year for the first time since 2014.
What is the Most Expensive Lotus?
The most expensive Lotus is the Evora GT410 with its $107,107 price tag in the U.K. before you add options. And while you may think options on a Lotus may be cheap, they most definitely are not. For instance, diamond-cut forged wheels cost $3,526 and the optional metallic paint finish will set you back $1,460. Having said that, the most expensive Lotus away from the manufacturer’s well-known lineup of sports cars is the 2020 Evija hypercar with its $2.1 million MSRP. Of course, the Evija can’t be compared with anything else in Lotus’ lineup but, to put matters into perspective, merely reserving a build spot (only 130 will be made) has you fork out $304,032 which is the equivalent of almost six brand-new Elise Sport 220s.
What is the Fastest Lotus?
The fastest Lotus car that’s currently listed on Lotus’ own website is, obviously, the 1,971-horsepower Evija hypercar that’s said to surpass 200 mph. However, if we only take into account the sports cars currently made by Lotus, then the quickest of the lot is the Evora GT410 Sport that will go all the way to 186 mph in top gear. Having said that, the Evora GT410 Sport has been shadowed, until recently, by the Evora GT430 Sport which, thanks to 20 extra ponies, could hit 196 mph.
Are Lotus Cars Reliable?
Lotus cars used to be very unreliable, like any British-made cars of the ’60s and ’70s but, since the dawn of the third millennium, things have started to change bit by bit for the better. Back in the days, Lotus owners had this running joke that Lotus stood for ’Lots Of Trouble, Usually Serious’ but, more recently, owners on carbuyer have given the Elise a 4.8 out of 5 and 88% of owners would recommend the Lotus Elise to a friend. The Toyota engines that power modern Lotus cars seem to be pretty bulletproof although issues can appear in the suspension department while the clutch is also prone to untimely wear. Still, there are many who daily drive their Lotuses and, besides the usual pitfalls of daily driving a sports car, have little to complain about.