Scheduled arrival: next year.
Lotus was saved from the near brink of extinction (again) almost two years ago by Chinese automaker Geely following its 51 percent stake purchase and with it, full control of Lotus. Almost immediately Geely got to work by providing Lotus the money it needed not only to keep the lights on but also to design, engineer, and develop new sports cars and supercars. The ultra-limited and all-electric Lotus Evija hypercar is perhaps the finest example so far.
According to Autocar, more is about to happen. Sometime in the first half of next year, Lotus will debut its first series-production model in 12 years. That's right, the last all-new model was the Lotus Evora. This all-new Lotus will not only be state-of-the-art, but it will directly target Ferrari. At the moment, its name has not been announced (or even decided), but it will be an everyday super sports car built on an all-new architecture that will replace the quarter-century-old Elise/Exige platform. This new platform will also serve as the basis for a number of new Lotus sports cars.
Power is expected to come from a V6 powertrain related to the current Toyota-sourced engine. But here's where things get interesting: Lotus is adding its own all-new hybrid system. Because Lotus shares a parent company with Volvo and Polestar, a fair amount of that hybrid system's tech is derived from them. This V6 hybrid powertrain could even produce as much as 500 horsepower, though we don't know yet whether the V6 will be naturally aspirated or turbocharged. The issue of lightness is, of course, a Lotus tradition.
"Simplify and add lightness," as Lotus founder Colin Chapman famously believed. Hybrid systems and their lithium-ion batteries are not exactly the ideal example of lightweight, so this means Lotus engineers are facing the challenge to shave weight wherever and however possible. Expect an abundant use of lightweight build materials such as carbon fiber, titanium, and aluminum.
Design-wise, sources claim the unnamed new Lotus will more closely resemble a shrunken Evija rather than draw inspiration from the iconic Esprit. Also don't expect a 2+2 seating layout but rather a two-seater with plenty of storage space. Above all, the new Lotus will retain the brand's tradition of driving dynamics excellence.
Lotus is also busy developing an SUV and we expect to see its debut in the near future. Product expansion is key for Lotus because it currently only sells about 1,500 cars per year. The currently underway Hethel factory expansion will allow for up to 5,000 cars annually. So, will this new model be a reborn Lotus Esprit or will a different name be chosen? We'll have our answer in about a year.