Lotus' 5-year reboot updates Elise, goes upmarket

Lotus Elise
The new Elise loses its curves and gets down to business. Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Current Lotus models the Elise, Exige, and Evora look nothing like the company's cars from a decade ago. And five years from now, Lotus' cars won't look anything like the current line-up.

Under chief designer Donato Coco, formerly of Ferrari, the Lotus is launching an ambitious plan of not only changing the styling of its cars, but reaching into new segments populated by the likes of Lamborghini and Aston Martin.

Lotus showed off five new concepts at the 2010 Paris Motor Show, all vehicles with full production intent behind them. These models include three sports cars and two larger tourers. The Elise will see a radical update, the Evora will get a replacement, and historic names such as Elan and Esprit return.

The cars will continue to use engines sourced from Toyota, ranging from a turbo or supercharged 2-liter four cylinder to a supercharged V-8, this latter engine similar to that used in the Lexus IS-F.

Lotus will also introduce a seven speed dual clutch automated manual transmission, along with optional hybrid systems for some of the cars.

Here is Lotus' schedule for its new line-up:

  • Esprit, supercar competitor: Spring 2013
  • Elan, Evora replacement: Autumn 2013
  • Elite, grand tourer: Spring 2014
  • Elise, entry level update: Spring 2015
  • Eterne, executive car: Spring 2015
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Car Tech
About the author

Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET. Prior to the Car Tech beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine. He's also the author of "Vaporware," a novel that's available as a Nook e-book.

 

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