Lotus shows five new models in Paris
It looks like the folks at Lotus were busy in the lead up to the 2010 Paris Motor Show with the company unveiling no less than five new concept models taking center stage at what was the most crowded press conference at the show. Under Malaysian Proton ownership since 1996, the group seems to be ready to revive the name globally with the five new concepts all set to go into production and be released over the next few years.
The first of the new models to see a release will probably be the most anticipated – a new Esprit that the company is calling “the ultimate Lotus”. Powered by a 5.0-liter engine sourced from Toyota that delivers 620 hp and 720 Nm of torque, the two-seater, mid-engined, rear wheel drive Esprit can accelerate from 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.4 seconds on its way to a top speed of 330 km/h (205 mph). Weighing 1,450 kg (3,197 lbs), the Esprit produces 250 g/km of CO2 when using the optional KERS energy regeneration system that harvests energy lost through braking. It is due to enter production at the end of 2012, with first deliveries set to hit the market at the start of 2013. It will cost around UKP110,000 (approx. US$174,000 at the time of publication).
Second cab off the rank is the Elan – a two seater (optional 2+2), mid-engined, rear wheel drive vehicle that features a 4.0-liter V6 engine producing 450 hp and 465 Nm of torque. On its way to a top speed of 310 km/h the Elan can accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 3.5 seconds and produces 199 g/km of CO2 when using the optional KERS. The vehicle weighs 1,295 kg (2,855 lbs) and will go into production in mid-2013, before hitting the market later that year priced at roughly UKP75,000 (approx. US$118,500).
The Elite is a four-seater grand tourer that features a retractable, folding hardtop that contributes to the vehicle’s 1,650 kg (3,638 lbs) weight. It is powered by the same 5.0-liter engine as the Esprit, but the extra weight sees the car accelerate from 0-100 km/h in a slightly slower 3.7 seconds, with a top speed of 315 km/h (196 mph). Hybrid technology includes a hybrid gearbox with integrated electric motors and KERS, while choosing the hybrid engine option will bring CO2 emissions down to 215 g/km. Slated to start production in early 2014 for a release later that year the Elite will be priced at around UKP115,000 (approx. US$181,650).
Marking a slight departure for Lotus, (while still retaining a name starting with “E”), the Eterne is a front-mid-engined, four-door sedan that also offers the option of a hybrid engine. The petrol engine is the same found in the Esprit and the Elite and with the extra weight – it weights 1,800 kg (3,968 lbs) – the Eterne can only manage 0-100 km/h in 4.0 seconds and a top speed of 315 km/h (196 mph). The Eterne also offers the same hybrid options as the Elite but produces slightly higher CO2 emissions at 220 g/km. Unlike the rear-wheel drive Elite, the Eterne is available in both rear- and all-wheel drive. Lotus say the Eterne will go into production in early 2015 ahead of an early-mid 2015 release date. It will be priced at around UKP120,000 (US$189,550).
Last but not least is the Elise 2015. This two-seater, mid-engined, rear-wheel drive is definitely the baby of the family, coming in at 1,095 kg (2,414 lbs) and powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine – again from Toyota. The engine provides 320 hp and 330 Nm of torque to propel the new Elise from 0-100 km/h in 4.3 seconds on its way to a top speed of 270 km/h. Utilizing start/stop technology the vehicle produces 150 g/km of CO2. It will enter production in early 2015 and should hit the market towards the middle of that year. It is expected to cost around UKP35,000 (approx US$55,000).
Drawing a crowd
There’s no denying that Lotus fans have had their hearts broken a number of times over the years. With the introduction of the four-seater Eterne sedan and the styling of the updated Elise, Esprit, Elan and Elite, Lotus is definitely making a statement, but is it one that Lotus fans will embrace? If the mad crush at the Lotus press conference at the Paris Motor Show is any indication of the interest in the brand, I’m sure the late Lotus founder Colin Chapman would be smiling.