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.
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.