This is one of the few SUVs that we’d take to the track with pride.
One thing that’s been interesting to watch as SUVs grow in popularity is how automakers that once prided themselves on building one specific body style of car have bent their ways and gone down the not-so-lonely road of building SUVs. For Lotus, which builds its cars under founder Colin Chapman’s philosophy that had engineers should “simplify, then add weight,” it would seem as if an SUV goes against the very nature of its mantra.
It's too late to go back though because Lotus has already taken the plunge, claiming it’ll have an SUV ready soon. Thing is, no one knows quite what that’s supposed to look like. Not like that was bound to remain a fact of life in an age where no information is sacred. Paul Tan, reporting the findings of leaked patent images published onto Chinese auto site PCAuto, now comes to us with these sketches to give us an idea of how Lotus designers have worked the brand’s iconic looks to an SUV body. And we hate to say it, but this thing actually looks pretty good. By keeping a low roof line and a subtle taper towards the front, the SUV actually retains the front end aesthetic of a Lotus coupe.
Ample real estate up front is dedicated to the air intakes—this will use a front engine layout rather than Lotus' typical mid-engine orientation after all—while slim headlights are moved out of the way and onto the fenders, somehow in keeping with the familiar Lotus face. As the eyes move towards the rear, there are plenty of sharp lines that help make the transition from low front end to high rear shoulder more gradual. The rear portion of the passenger compartment doesn’t look too accommodating for taller adults, which proves that aesthetics ruled the decision-making process here. The taper off to the rear mixes the not-so-steep decline of a coupe with a high trunk panel to keep cargo space intact while avoiding the Gen 1 Panamera's bulbous rear.
Alluding to this SUV's sporting prowess is a rear diffuser, a dual exhaust system, and Lotus touches such as the singular round taillights and a fueling port located high on the C-pillar. If this SUV is a true Lotus, we can expect to weigh less than the majority of its competitors, though we’d hope for more luxury than a typical stripped-out track day veteran like the Elise or Exige. There’s been no mention of power plants, drive wheels, or pricing but if Lotus gets each of these right, then its SUV should be a hit. We were once worried about how Lotus’ aesthetic would translate over to a four-door utility vehicle, but thanks to these images it’s plain to see that the designers got their part of the job right.