New Concept Car: Lotus Elite

LOTUS is back – and here are the pictures to prove it. This stunning supercar is the first of an all-new Lotus sports car range, which will seek to put the famous Norfolk-based firm on top of the world again.

Called the Elite, it will make its debut at the Paris Motor Show next week, joined by a host of other new models, including what is thought to be a fresh Esprit.

Resurrecting a famous Lotus badge from the Seventies, the new Elite is, like its predecessor, a four-seater, front-engine, rear-wheel-drive coupé. But that’s where the similarities end.

The new model has a folding hard-top roof and sources power from a 5.0-litre V8 from engine partner Toyota which will be either supercharged or turbocharged. Priced at £115,000, it will target the Ferrari California when it goes on sale in 2014.

The Elite gives us our first glimpse of the maker’s new ‘face’ – a look that will be shared with the rest of the line-up. As you can see, the front end features an oversized central grille, flanked by slim LED headlights and twin lower air intakes.

Incredibly, inspiration has come from the original Seven. “The existing two-dimensional grille [on the Evora and Elise] is not expressive enough. We need more sculpture and dignity, so we looked at the Seven – the way the grille worked with the headlights on the wings,” said chief designer Donato Coco.

The shark-like mouth, dramatic body slashes and aggressive, angular lines combine to produce a striking-looking machine. The Elite is packed with the latest technology, too. It will get a twin-clutch semi-automatic ’box and hybrid drive, featuring electric motors and a front-mounted F1-style Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS), which gives an extra 50bhp when the driver activates a ‘boost’ button on the steering wheel. Although it will weigh 1,650kg, Lotus claims the Elite will be the lightest in its class. Aluminium and carbon fibre, along with the firm’s variable vehicle architecture chassis – complete with double-wishbone suspension – will feature. Together with hybrid technology, the company claims emissions of 215g/km. By comparison, the Ferrari California emits 305g/km.

Under the bonnet, Lotus will completely re-engineer the Toyota unit, adding a supercharger or turbocharger to give it extra thrust. Two tune options will be available – the ‘standard’ car, which produces 542bhp, and a 612bhp ‘R’ version. Lotus claims that the Elite will be able to sprint from 0-60mph in around 3.5 seconds. Expect a top speed of 195mph.

Inside, the newcomer will boast steering wheel gearshifters and a large central ‘human machine interface’ screen through which the car’s functions are controlled.

“There will always be those who say that Lotus should stick to small sports cars,” said Lotus boss Dany Bahar. “But we didn’t take the decision to design the Elite lightly. In the past, the 2+2 market has been very successful for us, and now the Elite raises the benchmark higher still.” For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express


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