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Lotus Elite – Click above for high-res image gallery

As brilliant as its chassis dynamics are, Lotus has been in need of a design revolution for some time now. And now you're looking at it. These are the first images and details released on the much anticipated new Lotus Elite, set to be unveiled in a little over a week from now at the rapidly approaching Paris Motor Show.

You can plainly see from the photos that the Elite marks a styling departure from the language spoken by the likes of the Elise and Evora. This svelte GT's lines represent what recently hired designer Donato Coco has planned for future Lotus vehicles, and comes wrapped around a front/mid-engined 2+2 shape. The show car actually showcases a retractable hardtop – a first for Lotus and a potential shocker to company founder Colin Chapman's ethos of extreme weight savings, the car tipping the scales at 1650 kg (3600 lbs).

Underneath that front hood sits a version of the 5.0-liter V8 from the Lexus IS F, coupled to unique automatic transmission with optional integrated hybrid boost. With a massive 611 horsepower on tap, Lotus estimates 0-62 mph times in a scant 3.6 seconds (give or take) and its 315 km/h (195 mph) top speed should be enough to propel it into the supercar leagues. The car you see here is a conceptual preview of the production model, slated to hit the market in 2014 with an approximate £115,000 ($180k) price tag.

Follow the jump for the full press release, check out the initial images in the gallery below and watch this space for more as we set sail for the Port de Versailles next week.

Lotus Elite concept
  • Lotus Elite concept
  • Lotus Elite concept, front view
  • Lotus Elite Concept
  • Lotus Elite Concept
  • Lotus Elite Concept
  • Lotus Elite Concept
  • Lotus Elite concept
  • Lotus Elite concept, profile
  • Lotus Elite Concept
  • Lotus Elite Concept
  • Lotus Elite concept
  • Lotus Elite concept, head-on view
  • Lotus Elite concept
  • Lotus Elite concept, rear view

[Source: Lotus]
Show full PR text

The Lotus Elite
....enjoy the new British Expression of Exclusivity

Ten days ahead of the official unveil at the Paris Motor Show the sun starts to rise for the dawn of Lotus' new era - the Elite will redefine "modern classic".

So here it is, the Lotus Elite, the first taste of what's to come from Lotus in the future. Look up elegant in the dictionary and you'll find variations on the following 1. dignified grace in appearance, movement, or behaviour, 2. superb taste in design, style and 3. something elegant; the ultimate refinement.

The ground-breaking new Elite is exactly that. It's compact yet chic body is elegance incarnate. It's not only exquisitely elegant, in keeping with Lotus' core values, it's a car of substance incorporating some of the very latest technological innovations Lotus has to offer. The slick retractable hard top version and the optional use of hybrid technology with KERS are typical examples of Lotus tailoring technology to deliver perfect performance.

Dany Bahar, CEO of Group Lotus said: "There's no denying that the Elite is breathtakingly beautiful to look at but it's so much more than that, it's a car that over delivers in all other aspects as well. One could say it's a car of perfect contradictions, it's compact yet spacious, high performing yet low emitting, lightweight yet still reassuringly solid. It's a car that we are exceptionally proud of at Lotus and we truly believe that there is nothing else like it out there both in terms of styling and performance.

"Make no mistake, there's a definite market requirement for the Elite – it's the ultimate sports car feel with comfort and space. There will always be those who believe that Lotus should stick to small sports cars but we didn't take the decision to design something like the Elite lightly, it's based on months of careful research and planning. It's worth noting this sector has been very successful for us in the past and now the Elite raises the benchmark higher still."

Set for release in spring 2014, this is an innovative, exciting GT that will set a new benchmark in design, performance and emissions. And it's not all about sleek lines and stunning bodywork with this particular 2+2, what hides beneath this shark like exterior perfectly does the aesthetics justice. A front-mid positioned 5.0l V8 engine delivering up to 620 PS meaning drivers can expect to go from 0-100 km/h in approximately 3.5 to 3.7 seconds.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think this "new direction" is the wrong direction. Colin Chapman's concept is more valid today than ever before. Everyone else is looking to downsize and make their cars lighter. Lotus has a head start and throws it away with this. I guess McLaren will be carrying the Chapman banner from now on. This car looks like a cross between an RX-8 and a Solara. Where's the Esprit? Oh, I guess they call it an MC4-12C now.
      • 4 Years Ago
      its look like an Ason and a Jag ...but in own Lotus way as always ...another brand have copy what DB9 and XK have look....

      the only BUT its that crapy toyota engine
      • 4 Years Ago
      The world is awash in supercars, many with original coachworks. We don't need another -- at least not at the expense of Lotus, which is loved for its trademark characteristics. If an evolution is needed to attract more buyers, then I'm all for it but this car is a dogleg departure from the Lotus brand, and its appearance is neither arresting nor original.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Now THAT is how you design a car.

      From now on. THAT IS HOW YOU DESIGN A CAR.

      That is a smokin' hot vehicle right there.

      That is the kind of car that could actually replace my SVX, albeit probably sans AWD.

      Please, PLEASE tell me that there is a hot version of the Subaru EZ36 flat 6 engine under that very low hood line, driving a dual-clutch transaxle that sits between the rear tires.

      Subaru and Lotus both work with Toyota. Subaru is supplying Toyota with engines for FT-86, and Toyota supplies engines to Lotus... It could happen.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Just re-read about the V8...

        They could do a lower price point with a 6-cylinder, and make it more affordable. HINT HINT.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's lovely.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I see a lot of Genesis Coupe in the rear. And the dip at the front of the door looks slightly odd though, like a Fisker Karma. It makes it look like the car is kinda bent.

      But I like the styling cues. The taillights are particularly cool.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wow, that is sexy!
      • 4 Years Ago
      This thing is vulgar. Colin Chapman is rolling in his grave.
      • 4 Years Ago
      do want x 1000000
      • 4 Years Ago
      LF-A much?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah it's kind of a cross between a ft86 and some elements of the LFA.

        Lotus is eventually going to run out of model names that start with the letter E
        • 4 Years Ago
        Wait...doesn't this have the same rumoured engine that the new Esprit was supposed to have? Is this actually the new "Esprit?"
        • 4 Years Ago
        Those almond eyes are pure Mazda.
        • 4 Years Ago
        They just recycle them. This is the third time they used it.

        • 4 Years Ago
        No. it looks nothing like the lf-a. if it's the same platform (doubtful, lotus has spent every moment since they evolved their current modular platform extolling it's ability to be scaled for projects like this) then toyota needs to sue ala the fisker/tesla suit because this is about 7,000,000x more resolved.
      • 4 Years Ago
      this body on an IS chassis (with v6 and v8 options) would be a perfect supra replacement. dont get too crazy with the interior and materials, no vert (maybe a later option)... the is starts at 35ish... so can the v6 model... and the v8 can start around 50-55k.... if you really want to justify the price slap some leather and lexus badges on it. itd capitalize on the LF-A
      • 4 Years Ago
      While an interesting design exercise, it is far, far from what I think of as a representative of the core values of Lotus.

      I'm rather disappointed - a 3,600 lb. car with a front-mounted 5 liter V-8? Hmmm... that's not a simple, nimble car in my book. Now I *really* want to find and restore a 1st-generation Elan.

        • 4 Years Ago
        "beyond sophomoric. "

        My apologies, oh Lord and Master. I meant to say, "That's too goddamn heavy for a Lotus, in my book."

        And what do you mean, "you people"?
        • 4 Years Ago
        It'd better sell in that range for what you are saying. Guarantee you it will not.
        • 4 Years Ago

        I never said I wanted another variant of the Elise.

        I would just like to see a front-engined GT from Lotus be a bit lighter, a bit simpler, and a bit less "boy racer". Does a Lotus of any kind really need 611 hp? In my opinion, no.

        Then again, that's my opinion. If I wanted a 2,800 lb. front-engine/rear drive Lotus with a lightweight hand-operated top and a high-revving 3.0 liter V8 with a low-pressure turbo (kicking out about 375 hp/350 lb-ft), then I should just build my own.
        • 4 Years Ago
        How many variants of the Elise can they build?

        A little product variety can be nice.

        And as Grand Touring coupe/convertibles go, the weight isn't THAT bad, especially if it is distributed and balanced well.

        This thing is much sleeker than a Mustang, and the other V8 RWD cars are much heavier than 3600lbs.
        Lexus IS doesn't look half this good, and you have to get the weird-looking -F to get the V8.
        G37 weighs more AND doesn't offer a 5 liter V8, even though Infiniti has one in their catalog.
        Corvette may be lighter, but it isn't a 2+2 folding hard-top Grand Tourer, though.
        S5 V8 weighs more.
        BMW M3 probably weighs as much or more, and isn't anywhere near this sleek.

        Frankly, I think, for what it is, it is likely to do quite well. And I don't mind so much for what it isn't, since Lotus already builds other products for other segments and roles.
        • 4 Years Ago
        yeah, I was quite crest-fallen to see that this is yet another "unobtainium" car.

        180K US $... it is out of reach for most.

        If this were Toyota/Lexus letting Lotus build their IS Coupe, or SC coupe successor, somewhere between 40-70K... I would be psyched. I could buy that used in a few years.

        180K means that not only will the car's mechanical life be almost finished by the time it depreciates enough for me to even look at, the costs for maintenance and support will be unreasonable, and quickly eclipse the cost of buying the vehicle.

        So I think that is the solution. Lotus... Good concept car. Don't produce it. Let Lexus build it as an SC500, under the capitulation that they don't even BREATHE on the styling. They must build it absolutely as shown, NO aesthetic changes allowed. No Lexus design language weirdness. The LF-A stylists are not allowed anywhere near the development of this.

        good looking sheetmetal and SMC-molded shapes are no more or less expensive than ugly ones. Build this design as an affordable car!!!
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