The Often Forgotten Lotus Carlton Was the Ultimate Sleeper Sedan
Those with an interest in classic British sports car might remember the Lotus Carlton as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. This year, the Lotus Carlton turns 30 and as far as we’re concerned, it’s still the same bonkers car that came to be in 1990. We even have a video to support our statement.
It’s been four years since Lotus introduced a brand-new model, but the financially troubled automaker could soon bounce back with a couple of new vehicles besides the Elise R that was spotted testing at the Nurburgring in August 2014. According to Malaysian outlet Utusan, the British sports car manufacturer is aiming to save itself from bankruptcy by entering two previously unexplored markets. Specifically, Lotus is planning to develop an SUV and a D-segment sedan (midsize for the U.S. market).
The new plan was devised Jean-Marc Gales, who took over as Lotus CEO in May 2014, and presented at a Board of Directors meeting chaired by Proton executives in Malaysia. Gales, who has previously worked for Citroen, Daimler, GM and Volkswagen, has been appointed to implement a new brand strategy at Lotus, which suffered a $283 million net loss in 2013, when global sales dropped by 40 percent.
Still hoping to sell more than 4,000 vehicles a year, a plan that went down the drain given last year’s disastrous results, Lotus wants a piece of the ever-growing SUV market and a powerful sedan that would appeal to Asian, and especially Chinese customers.
Click past the jump to learn more about the Lotus’ new vehicle plan
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.