A Lotus SUV may still happen later down the line, but for now the British automaker is focusing on what it does best.
British carmaker Lotus intends to expand its current range of lightweights with new variants and updates. It's best known for making sprightly sports cars such as the Elise, Exige and Evora 400, currently the only Lotus sold in the US which gives Porsche a run for its money. You might be surprised to learn, then, that the manufacturer is considering adding an SUV to its portfolio. Rumors of a Lotus SUV first started back in 2015, and it just didn’t sit right with us somehow, even if it does end up becoming “the first lightweight SUV.”
Fear not, however, because Lotus appear to have its priorities in check. In an interview with Car Magazine, Lotus chief executive Jean-Marc Gales confirmed that an SUV is still a possibility, but its focus is still on what it does best: making extremely light and extremely fast sports cars. “We need technical partners, which we are currently looking for,” he said. “We are building a prototype, for testing at the end of this year . But for now we are working flat out on the sports cars.” So what do we have to look forward to from Lotus in 2017? The new Evora Roadster is coming this year, and will retain the agility of its hardtop sibling according to Gales.
“It is so solid structurally,” he said. “An open version will not add weight. The engineers have a clear target – don’t add weight.” Elsewhere, the slimmed-down Evora Sport 410 (yes, that does stand for 410 horsepower) will be going on sale in the US this July with slightly heavier doors and seats than the UK original to comply with side airbag regulations, yet it only weighs 1,325 kg which enables it to hit 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds. Lotus is also “thinking about” releasing a 4-Eleven later this year, which will probably be a less hardcore variant of the bonkers 3-Eleven.
Gales said that the automaker's future priority will be improving aerodynamics and weight reductions, rather than increasing power outputs. Later down the line we will also see the long-awaited next generation Elise due to launch in 2020 with a new chassis to meet homologation regulations, meaning it can finally be sold in the US which is crucial for the company’s future profitability and survival.