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 |  Dec 26 2010, 3:37 PM

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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

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See after the jump for a video of the new Lotus concepts from the LA Auto Show:

Continue Reading…

 |  Oct 01 2010, 5:29 AM

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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.

 |  Oct 01 2010, 4:29 AM

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Matching the Ferrari 599 in output, Lotus has just officially debuted its first supercar, the Elite, at the Paris Auto Show. With a total of 612-hp and 531 ft-lbs of torque from a custom 5.0-liter V8 engine, there’s far more to the Elite than just a name and some numbers.

This stunning grand touring exotic is based on a version of the Lotus Evora platform and features a retractable hardtop and will be able to be ordered with an optional KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) that can store energy from braking and translate it into added boost

“Make no mistake, there’s a definite market requirement for the Elite,” said Lotus CEO Dany Bahar, “it’s the ultimate sports car feel with comfort and space. There will always be those who believe that Lotus should stick to small sports cars but we didn’t take the decision to design something like the Elite lightly, it’s based on months of careful research and planning. It’s worth noting this sector has been very successful for us in the past and now the Elite raises the benchmark higher still.”

Those interested in owning the new Lotus supercar will have to be patient, however, as Lotus promises it won’t be for sale until the Spring of 2014.

Alongside the Elite, Lotus also unveiled four additional models that are set to create a new era for the iconic sports car maker. Included in the list are new Esprit, the Elan, a 4-door model named the Eterne and finally the second-generation Lotus Elise that’s set to debut in 2014.

Gallery: Lotus Elite

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 |  Sep 28 2010, 11:15 AM

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Lotus is set to shake up the sports car industry at the Paris Auto Show on Thursday when it unveils numerous new vehicles and concepts, while announcing new industry partnerships and racing programs.

From Indy Car to the Lotus Cup, much of the details have already been discussed, but Lotus has just announced two new exciting motorsports programs. The first is a Lotus LMP2 car that will first compete in 2011 before preparing for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2012. It’s not year clear how Lotus will be involved in the project as most automakers competing in LMP2 use a recognized chassis and their own engine. The only problem is, Lotus gets many of its engines from Toyota.  Current LMP2 rules allow for a maximum of 3.4-liters and 8-cylinders for custom engines, or 4.0-liters for homologated production car engines, while forced induction motors are only allowed to be 2.0-liters and a maximum of six-cylinders. Where this leaves Lotus is anyone’s guess.

In addition to LMP2, Lotus will also build a GT2 race car, “based on one of our eagerly anticipated future road cars, set to be unveiled at the Paris Motor Show.” This could mean the new Elite, some other model, or even just the Evora S (which hasn’t technically received its auto show debut). After all, Lotus U.S.A. head Arnie Johnson has already confirmed with AutoGuide that the Evora can be delivered in anywhere from GT4 to GT2 trim, with a GT2 version sporting a Cosworth-tuned engine with 470-hp.

Also planned to help Lotus promote its racing and street programs are a new test track next to the Lotus factory in Hethel, while the British sports car brand will also launch the Lotus Driving Academy at its headquarters, followed by facilities and programs in the UAE and in Eastern Europe. Further expansion of the program will see Driving Academy’s set up in the U.S., Japan, Moscow, Malaysia and then a second U.S. facility.

AutoGuide will bring you full coverage of the big announcements and unveilings at the Paris Auto Show Lotus press conference on Thursday, September 30th.

Official release after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  Sep 27 2010, 5:32 PM

Raise your hand if you didn’t expect to see this surface on the Internet this quickly. Yeah, we thought so. No one has even seen the Lotus Elite in person, but the official photos released to the media were more than enough to get the creative juices of a few folks flowing. One of those folks just so happens to be an artist by the name of Jack Darton.

Darton has created his vision of a Lotus Elite Track Version sporting a wicked carbon fiber front diffuser and minimally designed canards. The hood receives a vent for additional cooling along with the rear quarter panels. Along with subtle black and carbon fiber accents, Darton outfits the Elite with a sportier set of side mirrors relocated slightly higher than Lotus’ version.

To finish it off are a sportier set of jet black Lotus wheels.

Stay tuned for AutoGuide.com’s coverage of the Paris Auto Show and the official unveiling on the Lotus Elite this Thursday, September 30th.

[Source: TopSpeed]

 |  Sep 20 2010, 9:11 AM

Lotus has just revealed what it claims is just the start of a “new era” for the historic British sports car maker; a 612-hp supercar dubbed the Elite. Output comes from a 5.0-liter V8 (likely sourced from the Lexus IS-F), but rather than that car’s 400+ horsepower number, the Elite makes an incredible 612-hp at 531 ft-lbs of torque.

Lotus will officially take the wraps off its new flagship model at the Paris Auto Show on September 30th, where it will also showcase several other new models.

This 2+2 seater (based on a modified version of the Evora platform) will also be available with a KERS-style hybrid system that allows for added boosts of electric power. That power will be stored in a battery pack and created by converting the heat from braking into energy.

Also of note, Lotus will offer the car with a retractable hardtop.

“Make no mistake, there’s a definite market requirement for the Elite,” said Lotus CEO Dany Bahar, “it’s the ultimate sports car feel with comfort and space. There will always be those who believe that Lotus should stick to small sports cars but we didn’t take the decision to design something like the Elite lightly, it’s based on months of careful research and planning. It’s worth noting this sector has been very successful for us in the past and now the Elite raises the benchmark higher still.”

Those interested in owning the new Lotus supercar will have to be patient, however, as Lotus promises it won’t be for sale until the Spring of 2014.

GALLERY: Lotus Elite

Official release after the jump:

Continue Reading…