It will have something the Elise, Exige, and Evora do not.
Lotus only sells a single model in the United States, the Evora. The Elise and Exige no longer meet US crash regulations and there aren't any other models in the lineup beyond that. Lotus has been rumored to be working on several new models including an SUV, a hardcore sports car, and even a revived Esprit but the details have been minimal so far.
According to Autocar, the first new model from Lotus will arrive next year as part of a five-year plan from parent company Geely. This new model won't be based on a new platform but rather on a heavily revised current platform (likely the Evora's).
"There's this one car, then the new platform," Lotus Cars CEO Phil Popham explained. This new model will act as a bridge between the existing Lotus models and the next-generation Elise, Exige, and Evora, which we won't see for another three to four years. Popham says the goal for this new model is to keep Lotus's legendary handling characteristics while adding in more practicality, which is currently lacking on cars like the Evora.
In the future, Lotus will begin to integrate electrification into its model lineup but "The focus, for now, is on replacing the products we've got today – the sports cars," Popham said. "In a long time, Lotus has not had sight of what is required. You need a longterm plan, a product plan and a business plan locked down with investment. We have that plan locked in."
Geely would eventually like to see Lotus morph into a rival for Porsche, using the same strategy that made the German automaker so successful. Just as Porsche has managed to translate driving feel into its SUV models, Lotus knows "Our DNA of driving dynamics, performance and lack of weight means different things in different segments, but we'll be renowned for them in the segments we're in," he said.
We will likely see a more expansive lineup from Lotus in the future, which should include more practical models like an SUV. The future seems bright for the UK automaker and we look forward to seeing how it all plays out.