Lotus moving beyond hardcore sportscars with new Elite
We’re on the final countdown before the Paris Motor Show, and the previews coming from participating manufacturers are appearing rapidly. Perhaps not as rapidly as this next one, though... Lotus is at it again, looking to expand on its Elise, Exige and Evora sports car trio with the all-new Elite. Compared to the current offerings, though, the new car is a little out of left field.
Based on the mid-engined Evora platform, the Elite is much larger, and heavier too, eschewing Colin Chapman’s famous words about ‘adding lightness.’ The Elite will use a 5.0-litre V8 sourced from Lexus that will combine with an optional KERS-style hybrid system to deliver over 600 horsepower. The 0-100 km/h run is expected to be as low as 3.5 seconds, with a top speed of 315 km/h.
It should handle well – the Evora has been recognized by many publications to be a wonderful car to drive quickly. But the Elite is aimed at the more relaxed Ferrari California, and Lotus will offer a folding-metal hardtop version too. Weight is expected to be around 1,650 kg, which is more than 300 kg heavier than the not terribly featherweight Esprit that ended production in 2004.
Expect the Elite to be available to customers around 2014, with a price tag substantially into six digits.