Lotus used to be a company that made cars. Now it’s a car company. Revealing five new vehicles at the 2010 Paris auto show is an unprecedented feat for the people from Norwich. Thing is, they all begin with E and they all look rather similar. But who would complain about a surfeit of sports cars?
Let’s start with the Elan: 4.0-liter engine, supercharged for 450 hp, seven-speed twin-clutch transmission, zero to 60 mph in a breathtaking 3.5 seconds. It’s set for a 2013 release date and could cost $118,500. There might even be a kinda-hybrid in the works, based on the not-exactly-popular Formula One-derived Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS). The traditionalist might be upset to learn that the new Elan has its engine mounted just behind the two front seats, rather than in the nose, like Elans of yore. Ah well.
The Eterne does have an engine up front, a V8 that displaces five liters and makes 620 hp. It also gets some help from KERS. Oh, and it has four doors. In the name of all that’s lightweight, we’re talking about a Lotus hybrid sedan here. With optional all-wheel drive. If everything keeps to plan, the Eterne will go into production in 2015 with an MSRP in the region of $190,000.
One E-word from the Lotus annals is Esprit. There’s going to be a new one, running the same 5.0-liter V8 found in the Lexus IS F sport sedan, but supercharged. In this application, it will be tuned to 620 hp, whip the car from nothing to 60 mph in under 3.5 seconds, and enable a top speed of 205 mph. Like the old Esprit, this iteration also has a mid-mounted engine. But the old one didn’t have the option of KERS or cost $175,000. Expect the new Esprit in 2013.
Back in the day (1958 and 1974), Lotus made the Elite. The first was beautiful, the second was not. This one... well, it depends on the beholder. It’s going to be a damn sight heavier thanks to a folding hardtop. Then again, 611 hp from a mid-mounted 5.0-liter V8 will put a spring in its metaphorical step. The date is set for 2014, the damage is set for $180,000.
Last, there is, for all intents and purposes, the third generation of Elise. In case anyone is confused, the U.S. never had the Mark I. And to get this model, we will have to wait until 2015 and then hand over $55,000. As well as a higher price and greater weight, the Mark III will enjoy more in the way of creature comforts and human access. Forced induction is also in the cards. If the production car ends up looking like this, there shouldn’t be a problem. Lotus purists can always strip the cabin.