Last week, Lotus revealed the Elite, a new grand tourer that the British company plans to launch in 2014. Aside from its appearance, most pundits were expecting Lotus to reveal just one more concept at Paris. Instead, after a decade of endless variants and the launch of the current Evora flagship, Lotus has this week unveiled a further five cars – four of them destined for a market debut over the next four years.
Scheduled to hit the market in 2013, the 1292kg Elan is powered by a 335 kW supercharged 4.0 litre V6 from Toyota, mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. By comparison, the brand’s current flagship model – the Evora – produces 206 kW in standard form, and 257.5 kW in Evora S spec. According to Lotus, the two-seating (with the option for two tiny rear seats) Elan will cover the 0 – 100 km/h sprint in a very super 3.5 seconds, pushing to a top speed of 310 km/h.
The one everyone had been waiting for, the Lotus Esprit. Shown at Paris this week in concept form, the Esprit will be powered by a supercharged version of the Lexus IS F’s 5.0-litre V8 engine. In foregoing the turbocharged boosting of its forebear, the supercharged two-seater 2013 Esprit produces a hefty 462 kW, eclipsing the 311 kW delivered by the naturally-aspirated V8 in its Lexus IS F form. Lotus says the new Esprit will hit 100 km/h in under 3.5 seconds, heading for a top speed of 330 km/h.
The Lotus and Toyota partnership continues with the third-generation Elise, set to replace the ageing Series 2 Elise, launched in 2002. Also previewed in concept form at Paris this week, the new Elise is scheduled for a 2015 debut – at which point the Series 2 Elise will be very old indeed. Weighing in at 1 130 kg, the new Elise is significantly heavier than the current Series 2, which weighs between 860 kg and 910 kg depending on the spec.
The extra weight is due largely to the increased luxury in the cabin. Whether Lotus will launch a bare-bones track-focussed Elise remains to be seen. Despite its extra bulk, power for the new Elise is greatly increased, delivered by a 240 kW turbocharged four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission or an optional paddle-shifted automatic. Lotus says that the new Elise will be available in both hard an softtop form.
Coupe-like sports sedans are the new black, and Lotus has no plans on being left out of the game. The year 2015 is set to be a big one for Lotus, with the Eterne scheduled to join the next generation of the iconic Elise sometime that year. Powered by the same supercharged 5.0-litre V8 as the new Esprit, the Lotus Eterne sports sedan will offer around 462 kW, rocketing to 100 km/h in precisely 4.0 seconds. Available in rear- and all-wheel-drive form, The Eterne will also be offered with a hybrid powertrain (thanks to Lotus’ relationship with Toyota), including a kinetic energy recovery system.
The only one of Lotus’ Paris concepts not officially scheduled for a market launch, the Lotus City Car Concept stands as the British carmaker’s taken on the rapidly-growing supermini segment. The Lotus City Car Concept is powered by a hybrid system that combines a 53 kW electric motor with a range-extending 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol motor – the same used in the Lotus Evora 414E Hybrid concept. Lotus says its City Car Concept will hit 100 km/h in a respectable 9.0 seconds, with a top speed of around 170 km/h. In electric-only mode, the Lotus City Car Concept can travel around 65 km. With the petrol engine in play, driving range is extended to around 480 km.
Revealed last week in the lead-up to the Paris Auto Show, the Lotus Elite is scheduled to debut in 2014. A proper 2+2 grand tourer, the Elite is powered by a modified version of the Lexus IS F’s 5.0-litre V8 (apparently not the supercharged version used in the Esprit), producing 455 kW. Weighing in at 1 650 kg, Lotus says the Elite will cover the 0 – 100km/h sprint in 3.6 seconds, with a top speed of 315 km/h.