Lotus may be struggling, but it certainly hasn’t given up on producing high-level sports cars in an attempt to regain the edge it once held in that realm. With much of the dead weight cut from the company, Lotus is ready to move forward and we certainly hope to see big things from it, whether it be under the control of DRB-Hicom and Proton or some other company altogether.
The last new models to successfully reach production phase under the Bahar reign were the Evora and Evora S, which debuted for the 2010 model year. Last year, the models were expanded to include an all-new automatic transmission that could be shifted from auto to manual almost instantaneously. For the 2013 model year, Lotus is expanding the lineup again by including this transmission as an option on the Evora S.
Now that it is four years into its production life, is the Evora S still up to the task of taking on some of the best sports cars the world has to offer?
Click past the jump to read all about the 2013 Evora S and find out if it is on the decline or positioned to spearhead a revival of the Lotus brand.
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.
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.
Partnerships and collaborations have become an increasing trend in the auto industry these days, and we need to look no further than the agreement struck up between Lotus and Mansory to know that the trend is on the upward tick.
The British automaker and the Swiss tuner recently announced that the two companies will be working hand-in-hand with each other for a number of future projects.
While details are still slim pickings at this point, the partnership between the two will make Mansory the "official customization studio" of Lotus with the former working hand-in-hand to build and contribute "bodywork, trim, and special finishes" for some of the latter’s vehicle offerings, including the Evora, Exige, and Elise.
According to Wolf Zimmerman, Lotus’ Chief Technical Officer, the partnership between Lotus and Mansory was sealed to further bolster the profiles of both companies, giving the tuner an opportunity to build programs for the automaker, similar to what they did last year when they debuted a program for the Lotus Evora at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show.
"Mansory are leaders in their field, and having worked closely with them on the Evora GTE and the special editions we’ve unveiled recently, we now wish to take the partnership to an official level," he said. "Together, I am confident we will continue to produce outstanding sports cars, with the bespoke qualities that many of our discerning customers look for."
The official timetable for the first tuning program under this new partnership will be unveiled at the 2012 Paris Motor Show this coming September. Be on the look out for that bad boy because something tells us it’s going to wickedly out-of-this-world.
The legend is back! Lotus has unveiled today the new Esprit sports car. Described as the "ultimate Lotus," the new Esprit will go into production at the end of 2012, with first deliveries beginning in late 2013, early 2014. Lotus announced an estimated price of £110,000 ($175,000 at the current rates).
At the unveiling of the Evora S model in San Jose in June 2011, Lotus Cars USA PR boss, Kevin Smith, confirmed that the Esprit supercar would be getting Lotus’ in-house V8 engine and both a manual and a dual-clutch transmission. This V8 engine was originally said to deliver between 550 - 570 HP, but actually achieved 570 HP at around 9000rpm and 398 lb-ft of torque at a bit higher than 3000rpm. Lotus Chief Technical Officer, Wolf Zimmermann, says this engine can reach up to 630 HP at 9,400 rpm and 424 lb-ft of torque between 5,500 and 6,000rpm. The V8 weighs in at about 375 lbs, which is about 176 lbs lighter than the original 5.0L V8 Lotus was going to borrow from Lexus. It will be used for both the Esprit and, as confirmed by Smith, an even more exotic Elite.
"One has to be very careful when taking on the challenge of reinventing such an iconic classic as the Esprit – everyone has an opinion. There’s a fine balance between acknowledging the greatness of the past whilst at the same time rapidly leaping forward to the future and ensuring that this car not only does the name Esprit justice but also the Lotus brand. I think we’ve managed to find the balance and in doing so created a new icon, a car people will find hard to resist."
UPDATE 11/21/2011: Lotus officials has confirmed that the next generation Esprit will be powered by a 4.8 liter V8 engine. This new engine will deliver a total of 570 HP in standard version, but the company will be also offering a higher-tuned variant with an output of 620 HP. (Autoblog)
UPDATE 12/12/2011:New details about the future supercar revealed that the Esprit will, in fact, be offered in two versions. A base model will combine a 100 HP electric motor to a normally aspirated V8 engine and a more powerful version will drop the hybrid system and focus on weight-saving measures. (AutoCar)
UPDATE 10/04/2012: According to Lotus Forums, the Esprit has officially been axed. leaving the Elise, Exige, and Evora as the only standing models on the company’s new era lineup.
Press release after the jump.
2010 Lotus Elise Concept
Sold off to several companies after Colin Chapman’s death in 1982, including General Motors, Lotus ended up under Proton ownership in 1996. Although the British company was still struggling to rebound following two decades of financial hardship, the stability that came with the Proton purchase allowed Lotus to consider redesigning its sports car lineup. Launched in 1996, the Elise was more than 10 years old by 2010 and the company was hoping to offer a redesigned model in 2015. To preview what was supposed to become the Elise Series 4, Lotus introduced the Elise 2015 Concept at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show.
Compared to the then-new Series 3 production Elise launched for 2011, the concept was a radical departure styling wise and had a brand-new engine behind the rear seats. It also showcased technology previously unavailable in a Lotus, such as stop/start. On the other hand, the more modern technology made the Elise Concept significantly heavier than the existing model, which made purists rightfully unhappy about the transformation.
Fortunately for them, but obviously unfortunately for the company, the concept sports car never made it into production as Lotus continued to struggle financially and nearly went bankrupt in 2013. The Elise Series 3 soldiered on until 2016 with minor changes and it’s still waiting to get a makeover, which will most likely happen in 2017. With the concept already six years old as of 2016, it’s safe to assume that Lotus no longer wants to put it in production, but it’s a vehicle that deserves some attention for its polarizing design. Also, it’s a good way to understand how Lotus viewed the sports car market back in 2010.
Continue reading to learn more about the Lotus Elise Concept.
Lotus’ plan of reinventing its brand after years of mediocrity is looking less and less like wishful thinking after the company officially released initial details of their future hybrid supercar, the 2014 Elite.
It’s been widely known that the British sports car maker is aggressively pushing to remake their entire portfolio to cater to a more upper echelon consumer base and if everything goes according to plan, the 2014 Elite should be the first of many aggressively designed sports cars the company is looking to introduce to the market.
Word has it that the Elite will be powered by a 5.0-liter V8 engine that produces around 500-plus horsepower with a 0-60 mph time of around 3.5 seconds and a top speed of just under 200 mph at 196 mph. If these numbers are anywhere close to what the production version of the Elite will be capable of, then you can expect the supercar, with the aggressive backing of the company, to be a player in a market long dominated by the likes of Aston Martin, Audi and Porsche. Even the car’s expected price tag - £115,000 – is right up there with the Porsches of the world.
As for the new – and aggressive – design of the car, the man behind it, designer Donato Coco, left no stones unturned in giving the Elite a more aggressive approach by adding some depth to the car’s front fascia. As somebody who noted the two-dimensional looks of prior Lotus vehicles, Coco’s design of the Elite is about as good as it can get for a brand looking to be edgier and more upscale that what its previous reputation suggests.
Updated 10/13/2010: Lotus revealed today new images of the future Elite sports car. Check them out!
Updated 12/22/2010: Lotus has revealed some new studio photos of the Elite. Check them out in the gallery!
Press Release after the jump
The last model in Lotus’ display at the Paris Auto Show is the Elan, a 2+2 sports car that will go on sale in the autumn of 2013 at a price of £75,000 ($118,000 at the current rates).
The 2013 Elan is powered by a 4.0 liter V6 engine that delivers 450 HP and 465 Nm of torque. The engine will be combined with the new KERS system and will sprint the car from 0 to 60 mph in 3,5 seconds, while top speed will be 192 mph.
"If there was ever a car to make you drive the long way home, it’s the Elan. Perfect for both road and track, the Elan not only ticks all the boxes, it creates new ones too. The Elan will convert people to Lotus, I would challenge people not to become addicted to driving it. It will also go a long way towards dispelling the old misconceptions about this class, that in order to have high performance you must sacrifice usability – those days are gone."
Updated 10/13/2010: Lotus has unveiled today new images of the new Elan concept car. Check them out!
Updated 12/22/2010: Lotus has revealed today new studio photos of the Elan. Check the picture gallery!
UPDATE 01/25/11: If there ever was any doubt about Lotus’ intention to become more upscale to compete with the big boys of the auto industry, this spy video - courtesy of PaulTan and the boys - of the Elan Concept’s instrument panel should hush all those skeptics. Even if its not a full-blown production ready vehicle yet, the Elan’s instrument panel features a large LCD screen flanked on both sides by two smaller components. It’s pretty nifty, if you ask us, one that paints a pretty clear picture as to where Lotus’ heads are at these days. No more small sports cars, people. Lotus is playing with the big boys now. Video after the jump.
Press release after the jump.
Lotus made a step forward at this year’s Paris Auto Show with the unveiling of the company’s first hybrid four door super saloon. Called Eterne, the new model will go on sale in early 2015 and will be priced at £120,000 (around $190,000 at the current rates).
The 2015 Eterne’s powertrain will combine a 5,0 liter V8 engine with a hybrid gearbox with integrated electric motors and KERS. The total output of 620 HP and 720 NM of torque will help the Eterne to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 4 seconds and to hit a top speed of 195 mph.
"The Eterne is sensational to look and as with the rest of the range it also over delivers in all other aspects as well. Similar to the Elite, it’s a car of perfect contradictions, it’s compact yet spacious, high performing yet low emitting, relative lightweight yet still reassuringly solid. We truly believe that there is a market for the Eterne, there is nothing else like it out there both in terms of design, capacity and performance. The biggest difference between the Eterne and it’s class competitors is that it’s not an evolution of an existing two-door model, it’s a deliberate and considered stand-alone creation. It’s the ultimate four door sports car."
Press release after the jump.
Lotus is preparing to wow the Paris Auto Show. The company has already announced two newspecial edition Evoras for the show, but this is not the only surprise Lotus has for Paris. We will not only be seeing these two special editions, but we will also see the new Esprit (which we knew about already) and a new generation Seven. And there’s more; Lotus will also be debuting two groundbreaking hybrids. The only downfall to this avalanche of Lotus models is that none of them will be going on sale until at least a year and a half after the fall show.
The new Seven will be a heavier and more comfort-oriented front-engine, rear-drive, open-topped car. The big news is that this new model will be built in Spain and will be priced at around $100k.
As for the new Esprit, you already know everything there is to know about it. There will be a turbocharged, mid-engine V8 engine and an extensive use of carbon fiber and aluminum.
Another big surprise will be the two hybrid models coming in the form of a four-door hatchback in Porsche Panamera style and a two-door coupe, which could be further developed as a convertible at a later date. The only thing known at the moment is that both of them will be based on the Evora 414E hybrid concept.
Remember that "accidental email" we received earlier this month that announced the Lotus models that would be showing up at the Paris Auto Show? Well, we know one of those models is the Evora S since that was simply stated in the communication, but the second model was just titled the Lotus Auto and didn’t have many details to describe this mysterious vehicle. Now we hear that this second model is the Lotus IPS (Intelligent Precision Shift).
The IPS version of the Evora gives the driver the option of being able to switch from manual paddle shift to automatic drive modes. There is also a Sport mode for that extra oomph and control for the driver.
The Lotus IPS combines an automatic 6-speed gearbox with a Lotus developed transmission control with a 3.5L V6 engine. This combination allows the vehicle to produce 276hp at 6400rpm and 258 lb ft of torque at 4700rpm. The 0-60mph sprint is made in 5.3 seconds and its top speed is limited to 155 mph.
"The Evora IPS is set to broaden the appeal of the Evora and reach out to a slightly different market. We hope it will be popular with established automatic locations such as Asia, the Middle East and the US. It’s been a long time since Lotus created an automatic and we’ve spent a great deal of time refining this one to make sure that it perfectly complements the Evora drive experience."
Updated 01/23/12: Lotus has unveiled a new video presenting chief testing guru Matt Becker putting the Lotus Evora S IPS through its paces at our Hethel test track. The Evora S IPS combines the power of the supercharged S with the versatility of an auto transmission, and in sport mode, it’s a dynamic race bred machine. Enjoy!
Press release after the jump.
Lotus unveiled today the official details on the hottest version of the Evora sports car. The new S version is set to make its world debut at the Paris Motor Show, next to the new Esprit.
The Evora S comes with a sport pack as standard featuring a ‘sport’ button which allows the driver to control throttle response and activate the exhaust by-pass valve. The sport button also raises the instantaneous rev limit and changes the dynamic stability control settings resulting in a total experience change. There are cross-drilled brakes for improved cooling.
The Evora S will be powered by a supercharged Toyota-sourced 3.5-liter V6 engine that will deliver a total of 350bhp and more than 300lb ft of torque. This means a sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 5.0 seconds and a top speed in excess of 172mph. However, it will be pretty hard to identify the Evora S, as it will only get a larger rear diffuser. The car is expected to be priced at £60,000 ($93,000 at the current exchange rates).
Press release after the jump.
A very strange thing happened this morning; Lotus sent a couple of "accidental" emails announcing the debut of two special Evora models at the Paris Motor Show. And after giving details on the two models, they asked the media to kindly "delete the messages" that were sent in error. Yeah, okay, like we actually believe this was an accident. If it was, then that was a giant mistake made by Lotus PR. Their loss, our gain.
The two new models, theEvora S and the Evora Auto "will be on the stand in Paris alongside the new car(s) not yet announced (let’s maintain the mystery for now!)". And the message continues: "We are aiming to send out a press release about the Evora S and Evora Auto during the last week of this month. I’ve driven a prototype of both the Evora S and the Auto and I can tell you both cars are sensational. The S will be ready for media drives almost straight after Paris, in the US this will take place early next year. We have to be careful with the timing as we have so much going on and the impact from Paris will be big. Just for you to know, and please keep this confidential, our test team will be putting both cars through their paces on the Nordschleife at the Nurburgring from tomorrow on for three days, so we should have some good feedback to work with shortly."
So we guess we’ll see Lotus at Nurburgring in the next days, huh? And, uh, nice job Lotus!
It’s official: the new Esprit will make its world debut in September at the Paris Auto Show. Next to it Lotus will also unveil two new front-engined GT cars and a new roadster, all coming in concept versions. The production versions are expected to be unveiled in July 2012. This decision has been made as a result of Lotus’ new strategy to dramatically increase profitability through its new range of more upmarket models, meaning Lotus is serious about competing with models from Porsche and Ferrari.
A while ago, a Lotus insider said the next Esprit would be "the ultimate expression of the brand." We have to remind you that there were rumors stating that the new Esprit would get the same 4.8 Liter V10 from the Lexus LF-A supercar producing 550 HP. There were also rumors saying the entry level will be powered by a 3.5 Liter V6 from the Evora that produces 300 HP. In any case, the next Esprit will sprint from 0 to 60 MPH in about 4 seconds and will be capable of a top speed of around 200 MPH.
Lotus has announced some very good and eyebrow-raising news today: the 2010 Paris Auto Show will mark "The dawn of a new era!" In exactly 100 days starting today the company will "unveil the future evolution of an iconic British brand."
Since the new Esprit is a car that has been a long time coming, we can only hope that the Esprit is exactly what Lotus is talking about with that tagline! And if it is then the Ferrari 458 Italia, Lamborghini Gallardo, and Audi R8 V10 better watch out!
A while ago, a Lotus insider said the next Esprit would be "the ultimate expression of the brand." We also have to remind you that there were rumors stating that the new Esprit would get the same 4.8 Liter V10 from the Lexus LF-A supercar producing 550 HP. There are also rumors saying the entry level will be powered by a 3.5 Liter V6 from the Evora that produces 300 HP. In any case, the next Esprit will sprint from 0 to 60 MPH in about 4 seconds and will be capable of a top speed of around 200 MPH.
Press release after the jump.