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Lotus has plans: the Elise is going to get a detuned Exige engine (220 BHP without an intercooler), a new Exige SR model will feature launch and traction control systems, California series Elise and Exige models are in the pipeline for the boulevard cruising crowd, and Lotus is also going to inject some luxury into the Europa.

But the big news -- which isn't the Esprit -- is the Lotus Eagle, which will be "a mid-engined four-seater" made of aluminum for the luxury lifestyle set. Lotus CEO Mike Kimberley said there will be seven (count 'em, seven) versions of the car, and in a crow-eating first for Lotus, the car will have paddle shifters. Lotus had previously sworn never to include them on a car, citing purity of the driving experience. But what does the market care for driving purity? (Insert maniacal laugh here.) The Eagle arrives at the end of 2008.

The much anticipated, exceedingly long-awaited Lotus Esprit was sent back for reworking by Kimberley, who said it didn't have enough Lotus heritage in it. In Lotus fashion, the car isn't trying to break any records by being a sub-200 MPH conveyance, but it will be powered by "a very high brand-image engine" and performance will be "exceptional" and "very usable." Lotus: stop dallying -- let's have it.

[Source: Channel 4]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      I really cannot find a positive compliment to offer a fresh Lotus owner. The Elise/Exige is plain, and plain wimpy in appearance. Both cars are underpowered, uncomfortable, unpleasant-sounding, and extremely over-priced. There is no logical reason for one to purchase either one, really...and even the label isn't very significant in the short run.

      Sure, bring in the "Eagle." But it should better be more special than the current clunky set.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Interesting comments. Underpowered? Lotus cars look that way on paper, but they will out run the 996 (Boxster?) in your avatar in everything except top speed. Over priced? Maybe, but the current cars perform at levels with the Z06 and cars 2x or more in price. It's a pure driving experience and that's rare these days. There's value in that, but maybe not for everyone. Go take a drive or a ride in one. You may find it to be better than what your assuming based on magazine articles.
        • 7 Years Ago
        996 911. And the roar is still mind bending!

        My problem with the current Lotus cars is that they really aren't all that people make them out to be. If you qualify a pure driving experience as one in which the car makes you puke after a driving stint in it, then the Elise really does its magic well.

        In the Elise, the sightlines are awful, the aforementioned engine noises are borderline embarrassing, some chap mistook the car for an MR2, and no one would kindly merge out of my lane when travelling behind them. No amount of purity could overcome the Elise's faults in my book.
        • 7 Years Ago
        A Lotus is about as good as its driver. That could explain why you were disappointed. Or some of your disappointment may stem from the lack of a cup holder for your bug gulp. Or the 1 way adjustable drivers seat. Or the lack of a glove box. Or because it's hard to get in and out. Yes, it's hard core... not everyone can handle it.

        I accept mine with all its flaws and love it. No one has mistaken it for anything else, but many don't have a clue what it is. Almost anyone that has played a racing video game knows what it is instantly.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I am a huge fan of Lotus, but to be honest Elise or Exige would be my third or even forth car in the garage if I can afford it.
      I think Carletti made a good point about the Elise and Exige. But I think they are just too hardcore for normal users to drive. Therefore the target customers for Elise/Exige would be those people who are rich and like to drive fast, which reveals the question, "what kind of customers does the Eagle aim at?"
        • 7 Years Ago
        Rich people who have 3 friends who like to drive fast.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Is this mid-engined like a G35 is "mid-engined" or are we talking Elise mid-engined?

      I think this could be a pretty cool car if they keep the Lotus adage of adding lightness. I think a shape and packaging somewhere along the lines of Honda's Dualnote would be pretty cool. Give it 300-hp and have it weigh 2500 lbs and you would have yourself a hell of a sedan. Now the luxury part may be lacking...
      • 7 Years Ago
      Having a "proper" 4 seater is a great way to add to their line-up. More money to their bottom line (whatever that means).

      2500 pounds? No, I see around 3000 to 3200. I mean, the RX-8 is a 4 seater, kinda, but it uses a small rotary engine, not a V8. And its 3000 pounds about.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Oh, yeah, I was thinking the espirit. I imagine Lotus' "sedan" will be like Porsche's "sedan", the back seats are vestigial. If that is so, then perhaps they will use a sixer or even a higher output supercharged 4. I dunno, we'll see.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Was this Eagle supposed to use the V-8? I knew the Espirit would probably use the V-8, but I thought the Eagle would be using a lower displacement engine.

        As for the weight, the 2500 I cited may be pie in the sky, but with the Europa weighing in at 2100 lbs, I wouldnt expect more than a 500lb increase by making a tight, compact sedan.

        I could be wrong though if Lotus decides to cram a whole lot of luxury into the car.