Eagerly anticipated and making its official global debut at the British Motorshow in London this weekend, is the first all-new car from Lotus since the iconic Elise was launched in 1995. The new car, which is known only by its project name `Eagle', is a more holistic offering than the Elise and Exige models that have been so massively popular with track day enthusiasts.
The car, the name for which will be announced at the British Motorshow press conference, is designed for people who desire exotic sportscar characteristics of stunning design, exclusivity, dramatic proportions and performance. Project Eagle also offers real-world usability and a unique sense of occasion.
Powered by a 3.5 liter V6 producing 280hp, the new car employs innovative lightweight chassis technology to ensure visceral all-round dynamic performance, in keeping with the great Lotus tradition.
Even in the very early stages of development testing, Lotus ride and handling engineers report that it is considerably faster around the demanding Nrburgring circuit than the Elise and more stable at speed than the Exige.
As the only mid-engined 2+2 in production, the interior of Project Eagle cocoons occupants with a sumptuous leather surfaces juxtaposed with contemporary high-tech features. A beautifully appointed dash boasts tactile details such as flush-mounted controls that glow with blue LED haloes plus a stylized speedometer and rev counter, ensuring the controls are both attractive and accessible.
Styled in-house by Lotus Design, the Project Eagle's sleek and sophisticated lines brilliantly disguise its ability to accommodate passengers in the rear of the cabin, giving the car the external characteristics of a small, nimble sportscar while belying its internal space.
As well as being sold in a 2+2 configuration, the car will also be available as a pure two-seater, the space in the rear being allocated to luggage storage. Other derivatives are also planned for the future, including a convertible and an ultra-high performance version.
Deliveries of Project Eagle will begin in Spring 2009, with only 2000 of the handcrafted cars planned each year.Mike Kimberley, CEO of Group Lotus plc, had this to say about the new model: "Project Eagle is the biggest milestone Lotus has achieved since the Elise was born 13 years ago. We are currently working to broaden the appeal of the Lotus brand through an aggressive five-year model plan and this car represents the first exciting step."
Under the hood, Lotus continues its working relationship with Toyota. For Project Eagle, Lotus has modified Toyota's 3.5 liter V6 with dual VVT-i (`intelligent' variable valve timing) for optimum performance.
At the time of its unveiling, full performance figures for the new Lotus will not have been compiled on a production specification car. However, Lotus has a further six months of development to conduct these tests before Project Eagle is available to the public to drive.
While top speed is of less importance to Lotus than stability at speed, early indications suggest a maximum speed of 160mph; the 0-60mph sprint from standstill is estimated at sub-5sec based on numbers derived from prototype vehicles.
"Don't be the only Euro enthusiast to miss North America's largest automotive convention and party! eurotuner Magazine is awarding one reader an all-access pass to the industry-exclusive SEMA Show in Las Vegas this November. It's free to enter so click here for a chance to win the eurotuner sweepstakes."