Lotus Reveals an Entire Line of New Cars
Known as a small builder of cheeky little sports car, Lotus shocks everyone by unveiling more than a half-dozen new models in Paris.
Lotus has pulled off a feat at the Paris Motor Show that no one could have imagined, and it has done so in the most dramatic style. It revealed not one, not two, not even three, but seven brand-new models.
Even more impressive: They are all show stoppers.
Due in spring 2014, the Elite is a stunning front-engine, rear-drive GT equipped with a 5.0-liter 620-horsepower V8 engine and F1-inspired Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) hybrid technology. It is designed to take on the likes of the Ferrari 599, Aston Martin DBS and Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG.
The sharklike exterior hides 2+2 seating, and there's a folding hardtop. Specs are limited, but Lotus says it'll sprint to 62 mph in around 3.7 seconds. It should be priced at around $181,000.
The Esprit Is Back
Set to go on sale in spring 2013, this is the car Lotus aficionados have been pining for. First, the 2-seat rear driver looks fabulous, thanks to razor-sharp lines and a windscreen that runs right back behind the seats. It'll be armed with a midmounted 5.0-liter V8 engine that will reportedly develop 620 horsepower and is capable of hurling the sexy machine to 62 mph in 3.4 seconds. Top speed? We'll have to wait and see. A kinetic-energy-recovery system, to make the Esprit a hybrid, will be an option. The transmission will be a 7-speed dual-clutch unit. Cost? A cool $173,000.
The new Lotus Elan is a 2-seater or optional 2+2, with a 4.0-liter V6 engine mounted behind the seats. The KERS hybrid system will be an option. The V6 engine will be rated at 450 horsepower and will drive through the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. Launch date is autumn 2013; the price will be around $120,000.
The Elise has been the mainstay of the Lotus line for the past decade and a half, and a new version is set to arrive in spring 2015. The agile, compact sports car will be equipped with a new 2.0-liter 320-horsepower engine that sits behind the seats. It will drive the rear wheels through a 6-speed manual transmission. A dual-clutch unit will be optional. The Elise powertrain will also have a start-stop function to reduce emissions. It will remain the most affordable of the new Lotus range, costing around $55,000.
Panamera-Rivaling Eterne 4-Door
The biggest surprise is the Eterne, a 4-door super saloon developed to take on the Porsche Panamera. Refined, sophisticated and graceful, this is a step of incredible boldness for the automaker. It will seat four people, carry a 5.0-liter 620-horsepower V8 engine under the hood and will be available with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The KERS hybrid system will be an option. Lotus says the Eterne will make the run from zero to 62 mph in 4.0 seconds. It is scheduled to hit the streets in 2015 and cost $189,000.
Evora S and Automatic
Closer to production are two exciting new versions of the Evora: the Evora S, equipped with a supercharged version of the existing 3.5-liter V6 engine; and an all-new automatic version designed specifically for the American market and other crucial markets Lotus is hoping to enter.
With 350 horsepower, the Evora S is a serious step up in performance from the standard 280-horsepower version, and has the looks to back it up, with an aggressive rear diffuser and prominent central exhaust.
A more mature interpretation of the Evora package can be found with the new automatic version, badged Intelligent Precision Shift. IPS is based on a 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
And just to show that it has its feet on the ground, Lotus unveiled the City Car concept. It uses Lotus' own range-extender 1.2-liter 3-cylinder engine coupled to a compact battery pack to give a 37-mile range on electricity, and 311 miles overall.
The City Car is beautiful, with distinctive Lotus eye and mouth and a dramatic glass roof. Sadly, though, it's not slated for production.