Lotus has unveiled five new models at the 2010 Paris Motor Show. These include redesigned versions of the entry-level Esprit, the mid-range Elan, the Elite grand tourer and the top of the ladder Esprit. The company also showed off a brand-new hybrid four-door supercar known as the Eterne.
The latter will go head to head with the Aston Martin Rapide or the Porsche Panamera. It's a four-door, four-seater grand tourer designed for drivers who want to ferry up to three of their toyboys or mistresses simultaneously in the apex of luxury and at great speed.
In the flesh, it's mesmerisingly beautiful. It doesn't look as long as the otherwise gorgeous Rapide, or anywhere near as platypus-like as the Porsche Panamera. In fact, if Lotus had concealed the rear door handles a little better it would be difficult to tell the car was a four-door at all.
The car, scheduled to go on sale in 2015 for £120,000, could prove faster than its Porsche and Aston Martin rivals. It'll come with a choice of 5-litre V8 petrol and hybrid engine choices, which promise a 4-second 0-60mph time, a 195mph top speed and a Formula 1-style KERS system that unleashes a temporary boost of power harvested from the car's regenerative brakes.
If you haven't got three mates (or you just don't want to share with those those less fortunate than yourself) you'll want to check out the Lotus Elite -- a grand tourer like the Eterne, but with two doors, two front seats and a couple of smaller seats in the rear.
The Elite will use the same 5-litre V8 engine, gearbox and KERS system as the Eterne, but its 1,650kg body is 150kg lighter than its beefy brother. As a result, its 0-60mph time is cut to just 3.7 seconds. Set to go on sale in 2014 for £115,000, it'll also be more eco-friendly than the Eterne. Lotus promises CO2 emissions of 215g/km -- 5g/km less than the Eterne.
The Lotus Elise is the entry-level car in the Lotus lineup. It isn't due until spring 2015, but when it arrives, Lotus says it'll cost a mere £35,000.
If that's the case, you can sign us up now, because we can't think of another car as beautiful in the same price range. Alright, so it only uses a 2-litre, 320PS, four-cylinder engine, and it's a mild hybrid (ie, it uses stop-start technology) but because it weighs a mere 1,095kg, it'll do 0-60mph in a blistering 4.3 seconds and reach 170mph.
Lotus doesn't appear to have skimped on the tech, either. Just behind the steering wheel, the car features three LCD screens that use colour graphics to illustrate the vehicle's speed, show album art and track data, sat-nav maps and various car settings.
Taking the wraps off a new version of its iconic Elan, Lotus described it as the "beating heart" of the new line-up. The car is a 2+2 sports car designed for track and road use. It uses a 4-litre V6 engine that chucks out 450PS, which is good for a 0-60mph sprint of 3.5 seconds and a terminal velocity of 195mph. Lotus says it'll hit showrooms in summer 2013 for around £75,000.
Last but not least, Lotus unveiled its top of the line, all-singing, all-tarmac murdering Esprit. You may remember it from The Spy Who Loved Me (the one Q modified to go underwater) or as the car Richard Gere crawled curbs with in Pretty Woman.
Its maker says it's the "ultimate Lotus", the one buyers should aspire to owning. It has a point, too -- it uses the same bonkers engine as the Eterne and Elite, but it weighs just 1,450kg, so it'll skip from 0-60mph in a spine bending 3.4 seconds and top out at 205mph. Oh, and it'll come with an optional hybrid propulsion system, too, which promises CO2 emissions of just 250g/km. The Esprit will cost around £110,000 when it launches in spring 2013.
We think the new Lotus range is hugely exciting. It's all but impossible to remember the names of each car and its respective merits, and they look rather too similar for our tastes, but we're desperate to put them through their paces to see how they cope against their established rivals.
Click through our photo gallery above for a closer look at each one then let us know what you reckon in the comments below.