• Jun 22, 2010
Not the shape of Lotus things to come? – Click above for high-res image gallery

Yesterday Lotus did something rather... odd. The Malasian-owned British sports car maker sent the entire automotive world a high-res picture of Stonehenge and announced it represented the, "Dawn of a new era." We initially interpreted this to mean that the new Lotus Esprit would show up in Paris. We still think we're right about that part, but Lotus might have been letting a little bit more cat out of bag than they intended.

According to a report from Malaysia, Lotus owner Proton has hired a plethora of ex-Ferrari, Porsche and Aston Martin employees (including Frank Tuch, the former Director of Quality Management at Porsche) in hopes of transforming the brand away from Toyota-engined track day novelties (hello, Exige!) into a full-fledged Ferrari, Porsche and Aston Martin fighting luxury, high-performance brand. Of course that entails abandoning Colin Chapman's maxim, "Simplify, then add lightness," in favor of the German mandate to, "Complexify, then add steel." If you think the Italians are any better, realize that every new Ferrari ships with eighteen miles of wiring. But look on the bright side, the new cars (which will have some sort of hybrid-ness cooked in) could draw power from Chapman spinning his grave.

As we speculated yesterday, the new Esprit will need something resembling a V8 engine (at least) to not only fill the shoes of the old, long-loved Esprit, but also to compete with the world's best luxury/performance machers. Luckily for both Lotus and Lotus fans, engine-supplier Toyota has just such a motor in the form of the IS F's 416 horsepower, 371 pound-feet or torque 5.0-liter V8. Of course, if you want to play in the stratosphere with the likes of Ferrari, Porsche and/or Aston Martin these days, you're going to need at least 500 horsepower. But where would Lotus get an engine like that?

According to the report, the Lexus LFA's 552 hp, 9,000 rpm 4.8-liter V10 could be made available for Esprit duty, though it might be slightly detuned. Still, an aluminum and composite V10 is an aluminum and composite V10. While that might sound odd at first blush, Toyota (no doubt) spent a sick amount of yen coming up with the LFA's V10, but they're only building 500 (or so) LFAs. So why not recoup the pricey development costs elsewhere? Like say in a Lotus range-topper? The question then becomes: Does the world want a 500+ horsepower Lotus dolled up with enough electronic whizbangery to compete with Europe's finest? Only time and the marketplace will tell.



[Source: Paul Tan]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 75 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Lotus was associated with Lightness.

      The carpetless interior, close to none creature comforts were all part of the lightness package.

      To add all that luzury they're gonna gain weight and even if they gain twice the power, the virtues of the lost lightness will be felt at every corner.

      I hope Luxury in lotis terms is just some carpet and "optional" creature comforts.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think this is a huge mistake: what the hell is that new idiot ceo doing? The world doesn't need another Ferrari, it needs Lotus, Chapman's Lotus.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @travistb

        I've sat down with CEO's and had long drawn out conversations with them, had lunches and dinners with them. The ones that do meddle with what a core of the company should be tend to ruin whatever company they're at. The ones that have a single focus of their product and service line (and actually attempt to understand operations from the bottom up) tend to do a lot better.

        There are exceptions but for the most part satn is right. Most can be bought for strippers and booze by vendors. And most are ethically dubious at best, caring more about their boat payments rather than the well being of the company and employees. That being said, there are exceptions and I'm so very glad to be working with one of the exceptions in the ceo world.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm not sure what travistb is on about: anyone else?
        • 4 Years Ago
        #19... you are an engineer and bitter about how you don't make enough money... you think you're smarter than the leadership of your company, but you're not... you're 45+ years old and you think young people don't know shit either... you read Dilbert and laugh, but in reality you are more like a Dilbert character than your hated CEO... how's that sound?

        possibility #2... you're a lefty, greeny bitch that abhors everything with money and authority... but prob not else you wouldn't be on this site... back to #1
        • 4 Years Ago
        CEO's are clueless pricks, 99% of them are glorified middle managers with no practical knowledge and get traded between industries like their tiny bit of knowledge can be applied universally to any company.
      • 4 Years Ago
      NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THIS CAN'T HAPPEN!!!!!!!!!!! NEXT THING YOU KNOW PORSCHE WILL MAKE SEDAN!!!!!!!! oops, that already happened
      • 4 Years Ago
      Lotus, If you must have fat, cushi, overweight cars just make a sub-brand within your main one for them like "Lotus L" or "Lotus Big Heavy Butt Edition :-))" or something. Stick to building the no-holds-barred simple and light cars. Otherwise, make the light and nimble cars a sub-brand like the M, F, or AMG's of the world.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Try shrinking it down to 64 x 64 pix.
        • 4 Years Ago
        BTW, anybody here know how to change your avatar? I keep trying to change it but it doesn't work.

        Thanks
      • 4 Years Ago
      Im not really believing it. You don't really use the term "luxury" and Porsche and Ferrari either, while they have their luxury models, they are sports cars before anything, i don't see Lotus making SUV's anytime soon and trying to compete with the 458 and Gallardo is nothing to be ashamed of.

      The thing is, even with a LFA engine they would need to 'add lightness' compared to the competition to keep up as that is down on power compared to the 458. Also i though Toyota wanted to be exclusive with the LFA... but it does make complete sense to me.

      Give us something slightly above Evora size and no larger thanks lotus.
        • 4 Years Ago
        a 458 has just under 600hp and weighs just a touch over 3000lbs. What you mean is they are road cars not track cars.
        • 4 Years Ago
        They are sportscars 30 minutes into their build...

        then the power heated leather seats are added

        and the heavy hard/soft adaptive suspension

        and all the sound dampening material

        and the oversized electronics package

        and the rear seats

        and the full sized spare tire

        and the hardwood trim

        and the luxury carpeting

        and the dual zone climate control with all the fans that involves

        and the oversized engine to pull all that lard at a competitive rate

        and the heavier transmissions to handle the big engine



        so yeah, they're sports cars at heart....with 1500 lbs of fat spread on them
      • 4 Years Ago
      Lotus is probably seeing what Porsche saw 15-20 years ago - that making only sports cars isn't the best way to stay profitable. My take is that something with creature comforts (like a new Esprit) would be released so that Lotus can actually make some money to put into R&D.

      I think Lotus is aiming for three basic model lines:

      Elise/Exige: where everything down to the seat cushions are optional. It would be suicide for Lotus to even think about getting rid of these.

      Evora: Just comfortable enough for people to want to use day to day. Think Cayman/Boxster, not Audi S5. Hi-po versions will chase the Carerra and Carerra S. Build it right and this could be their bread and butter model.

      Esprit: My guess is something like a Gallardo Superleggera with an Aston Martin interior.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Hey look, somebody gets it! It isn't just idiot fanboys with no clue about the realities of business on here.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "But look on the bright side, the new cars could draw power from Chapman spinning his grave."

      LOL... Best thing I've read all week.
      • 4 Years Ago
      All new sports cars are now like that chick you used to know in high school, you know the super hot unavailable girl that every guy in school was after-but then you run into her a few years later and she's had a kid and works at taco bell and got fatter. Still hot but just a lil overweight and never what she used to be in high school. I used to think lotus was kinda like the hot chick after high school who stayed in shape and was still hot. But now it looks like the former.
      • 4 Years Ago
      BTW, that Stealth Exige looks awesome!
      • 4 Years Ago
      die on top or give blowjobs in a back ally to pay for your meth...hmmm, tough choice
      random231
      • 4 Years Ago
      i would like to see lotus keep it simple. with Ferrari and Lamborghini taking out the three pedal set up, and constantly going more complex, a "simple" supercar would probably stand out more, just maybe step up the quality. i also think the v10 would be a mistake, the esprit should be priced around 200k at the highest and i think that motor will cost to much and not offer the power to be competitive. maybe a turbo v8 from the germans or hell a ls9 would be better in my mind. but if you look at the current motor line up it is far from perfect. both are down on power and have much better motors that are in same area price wise.
      • 4 Years Ago
      evolve to luxury? what an ideal tactics to kill the brand in a short time.
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