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Ever since the Lotus Esprit V8 went out of production in 2004, Lotus has been exclusively using Toyota engines for its cars. While these motors have provided power and reliability, many customers of the brand feel that the company should have its own engines. After all, can you imagine a Ferrari being powered by anything other than their own engines?
Dany Bahar, CEO of Lotus agrees and wishes to develop engines bespoke for its automobiles. Since Lotus is delaying the Elan, the funds earmarked for that car can now be used towards developing new engines.
Bahar said, “This is a big [financial] hit because it’s expensive to do an engine. But because the Elan is not happening now we have got capital expenditure headroom for engine development.”
The work on these new engines has already began, and the first prototype V8 should breathe into life by this July. Power output is expected to be around the 570-hp mark, to compete with the likes of Ferrari.
The push for these new engines came from an internet survey Lotus conducted in which 10,000 people took part. The majority favored Lotus to put their efforts behind their own engines.
The plan is to design a modular V8 which can spawn a four-cylinder engine also for use in the next Elise. However, if that doesn’t work out, they will continue using Toyota engines.
Expect the first of the new breed of Lotus road cars to hit the streets by 2013.
The Lotus Elan has been put on hold indefinitely, reportedly due to the rather obvious fact that the concept was too close to the brand’s current Evora model. Previously, rumors had indicated Lotus was taking a close look at both the Esprit and Elite models, which share many of the same components and have similar style, in order to further separate two two vehicles.
But before the Esprit or Elite are put into production, Lotus will be updating the Evora with some aesthetic changes and new trim levels to align it with the rest of the “Lotus New Era” range. Updates will also be done on the Elise and Exige to make them more user friendly. The production Exige will reportedly be revealed at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.
GALLERY: Lotus Elan Concept
[Source: Top Speed]
Lotus may build their next generation Esprit sports car outside of the United Kingdom after its request for a $50 million loan to build a new factory was rejected by an investment arm of the British government.
The loan was intended for a new factory in the Norfolk area of Britain, which would employ 1200 people and build models like the new Elan and Esprit. Other automakers have been given loans by the government, and Lotus released a statement saying “following this decision Group Lotus is currently exploring all available options including the possibility of submitting an updated bid for round two of the RGF, which is set to close on July 1.”
If a British facility cannot be procured, Lotus may build the new cars as Valmet’s factory in Finland or Magna-Steyr’s plant in Austria, where the Porsche Boxster and Aston Martin Rapide are respectively built.
[Source: Auto Express]
Yesterday Lotus Cars began what the storied British automaker is calling a “New Era” launching an entire lineup of vehicles at one auto show. A total of five new models graced the Lotus stand, including the new Esprit, a second-generation Elise, the flagship Elite and even a 4-door model called Eterne. Details were scarce, but Kevin Smith, head of publications for Lotus Cars USA has shed some light on each of the five models.
Smith says the automaker is confident it will bring all five models to market, based on the same versatile vehicle architecture used for the current Evora and with a funding commitment from Lotus parent company Proton.
First to market will be the Esprit, with an on-sale date set for the Spring of 2013. With a body made entirely of carbon fiber it will be a true exotic, using a supercharged version of the Lexus 5.0-liter V8 making 542-hp in standard trim and a whopping 612-hp in R-spec trim. As Lotus Cars CEO Dany Bahar said at the introduction of the Esprit concept, “The icon is back.”
Following the Esprit will be the Elan, launching in the Fall of 2013 as a coupe, with a convertible model set to follow. As a competitor to the Porsche 911, Smith guarantees it will be a true rival. Using a 4.0-liter version of the Toyota-sourced V6 found in the Evora, the Elan will be 200-lbs lighter. An R-Spec model will also be offered, boasting 450-hp. Both it, and the Elise, will use a combination of aluminum and composite materials to keep weight to a minimum. In addition, Lotus will offer both the Esprit and the Elan as a hybird.
The flagship for the new Lotus will follow six months later in the Spring of 2014, with a standard trim making 612-hp. A hybrid option will be offered and this grand touring exotic comes exclusively with a retractable hardtop.
Spring of 2015 will see the launch of the second-generation Lotus Elise. Gaining size and weight over the current car the new Elise will come in at between 2,300 and 2,400 lbs and Smith promises will be easier to get into than even the new Evora model. Power will come from a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with forced induction (either a turbocharger or supercharger), making a total of 316-hp. That should be enough to deliver a 0-60 mph time of 4.4 seconds. Plus, those in search of a fuel efficient sports car will be able to get it with the new Elise as Lotus also plans to offer a hybrid option. Unlike the rest of the hybrids in the Lotus lineup, the Elise will be a mild hybrid (like the Honda system) and feature start-stop technology. And while Lotus looks to expand and grow as an automaker, it also wants to retain its core customers with the next gen Elise, with Bahar commenting at the Lotus press conference that it would retain its, “cheaky charm.”
Completing the new Lotus lineup is the Eterne 4-door sports sedan. Again, based on the same architecture, its designed as a rival to the likes of the Porsche Panamera and Maserati Quattroporte, but wont hit the market until the Fall of 2015.
In addition to these, Lotus is also considering a city car, but that is very much up-in-the-air at this point says Smith. The goal with the five concepts shown is to expand Lotus production and sell between 7,500 and 8,000 vehicles annually.
Often production models don’t live up to the hype of the concepts, but Smith reassured us that the models on display in Paris are 90 to 95 percent representative of the planned road cars.
The original Lotus Elan was an icon, a two-seat, four-cylinder roadster that weighed 1,400 pounds and was the inspiration for the Mazda Miata. The new one couldn’t be more different.
Styled in the same vein as the new Esprit, the supercharged 4.0L V6 makes 450 horsepower and an optional hybrid system help rocket the Elan to a 193 mph top speed and a mid-3 second 0-60 time.
The 2+2 configuration suggests that this car might replace the Evora, which seats 4, although the $118,500 price tag is quite a bit more than the current Evora’s sticker.
Gallery: Lotus Elan