Followed by an SUV in 2021 or 2022.
It's taken a while, but Lotus is finally back on track thanks to an infusion of Chinese money from new owner Geely. That money is being put to very good use. Car Magazine reports Lotus will launch two new sports cars in 2020, followed by its first-ever SUV in 2021 or 2022. But it’s the sports cars that interest us most. The first one, according to Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales, will serve as a replacement for one of the existing models, so either the Exige or Evora. The second sports car will be a limited production hardcore track-focused model, but still street-legal.
It’ll slot above the Evora in terms of power and performance. The Exige/Evora successor will be the cheaper of the two and Gales told Car Magazine it’ll still be “a benchmark for lightweight, crash resistance and longevity.” It’ll feature an updated version of the company’s highly regarded aluminum tub. As for the hardcore sports car, it’ll instead utilize a new carbon fiber tub and will be considered the Lotus flagship due to the 3-11 ending production later this year. Gales described it as “something in that (3-11) mold. It will be something similar, but much more civilized, because 3-11 is pretty raw.” And no, it will not be a new Esprit, although Gales hinted that car could be in the pipeline.
Previously, Gales claimed an Elise replacement will be ready to go in 2020 and since the current Elise and Exige share many components, this could still be the case. However, don’t expect this new car to be relatively inexpensive like the Elise. “Sport-car sales volumes are notoriously low, investment is notoriously high so you need to do your investment well. So it's not an easy task, but the juicy markets seem to be a bit more upmarket,” Gales said. It’s also possible the current Elise will continue beyond 2020 because, as Gales pointed out, the Caterham is 60 years old and it’s still going strong. But whatever arrives in 2020, Gales promised both will feature stunning design and brilliant performance and aerodynamics.
Thanks to Geely, both will receive upgraded technology such as a “state-of-the-art” electrical architecture instead of the current electrical wiring harnesses. And then there’s the SUV, which longtime Lotus fans may not be the most thrilled about. Gales didn’t say much about it, only that Lotus is about to go on a hiring spree in order to handle the upcoming increased production.