Everyone's favorite lightweight sports car brand is ready for a comeback
How many times have you heard that Lotus is starting over?
That the famed British sports car manufacturer is going to get its act together, revive the Lotus Esprit as a mid-engined Ferrari-fighter, and give us a new Lotus Elise and Evora that will once and for all put the Porsche 718 Cayman and 911 back in their places? Quite frankly, we've lost track of the number of times we've said it. But this time around, there seems to be a different feeling in the air as Lotus commits to rising from the ashes in phoenix-like fashion, with its silence in recent years being a period of reflection and preparation for what's to come.
They can't collect just merchandise royalties forever.
We all know the Lotus Evija will be first up for the brand - the all-new 1,973-horsepower electric hypercar that's focused on making a statement of intent. That will pave the way for new models, with design inspiration gleaned from the halo car. The entire range will be overhauled, as will Lotus' facilities, right down to the cafeteria at the Hethel HQ in the UK.
The list of things that need to be fixed is a long one, but it starts with a range of new product that will allow it to reach markets in which it has struggled, like in America. The key to this will be the long-rumored Lotus SUV, which considering that parent company Geely has ownership of Volvo, this means the new model may well share a platform with the likes of the excellent Volvo XC60. This will rival the Porsche Macan for performance and exclusivity, while a new Elise will tackle the traditional lightweight sports car end of the spectrum that Lotus is known for. Then there's apparently a new Lotus Esprit in the cards, too, although the new one is believed to be a hybrid that will pair electric power with a Toyota-sourced V6 engine.
But despite the brave expansion, Lotus' ideals will be retained. Speaking to Autoblog, a Lotus engineer claimed "We will stay true to them," with 'them' being a focus on light weight, aerodynamic design, a pliant ride, and above all else, exceptional handling - the hallmark of any great Lotus product. Geoff Dowding, executive sales director for Lotus, went on to talk about an exciting product plan for the U.S. While exact details couldn't be given, it was confirmed that the current American dealer network of 41 dealerships would be expanded, making it easier for gearheads to get behind the wheels of the slew of new products that are coming.
It's all very exciting, and there's a sense that this time around, it's real. All we know is that we hope it is. A brand like Lotus has the history and heritage to deserve a second lease on life.