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The Lotus story continues to intrigue with plans to deliver five all new cars over the next five years. After debuting all five concepts at the Paris Auto Show, Lotus then brought its traveling road show to the LA Auto Show. Now the storied British brand is keeping the hype alive by releasing a selection of stunning photographs of its concepts.
There aren’t any new pics of the Eterne 4-door concept (easily the most unrealistic of the group), but Lotus did snap some nice glam shots of the Esprit, the Elan, the second-generation Elise concept, the the flagship Elite.
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.
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 it will use 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 hybrid.
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 under 2,400 lbs. 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.
GALLERY: Lotus New Era
See after the jump for a video of the new Lotus concepts from the LA Auto Show:
Lotus CEO Dany Bahar noted that the current Elise has been on sale for nearly 15 years, and we couldn’t but help wonder if it really needs replacing. In our minds, the Elise could go for another 15 and still look timeless, like the Citroen DS or Acura NSX.
According to Bahar, the current Elise must evolve into something more in line with Lotus’ anticipated customer base. The bare-bones roadster thrills are out, and the new geometric styling regime is in, along with a 320 horsepower 2.0L Toyota four-cylinder engine. A 6 speed manual and a (gasp) paddle shift automatic are available, with the car tipping the scales at 2,409 pounds – light by today’s standards, but nearly 500 lbs more than a current Elise, for the hefty price of $55,000.
If this car will help save Lotus, then so be it, but deep in our hearts, the one true Elise will always be the one that made you trip and fall whenever you tried to enter or exit the car.
Gallery: Lotus Elise Concept