Future Lotus lineup unveiled in Paris

  • 01-Dec-2010 04:15 EST

The four-door Eterne signals a new direction for Lotus. Options include hybrid drive and all-wheel-drive capabilities; a full hybrid transmission features integrated electric motors, as well as the KERS technology.

Not content with launching one, or even two, models at the 2010 Paris Motor Show, Lotus arrived in the French capital with six new vehicles—and later brought five of them to the 2010 LA Auto Show for their first North American viewing.

The Proton-owned, U.K.-headquartered marque took the wraps off the Elise, Eterne, Elan, Esprit, Elite, and, at Paris, a city car concept, which is being developed with its parent company. Furthermore, the company announced that the entirety of the new lineup will benefit from hybrid technology.

While Lotus was giving little away about the engineering of the new models, it remains convinced that all of them will become production reality at some stage or another. Planning for the longer term, the entry-level model, the Elise, is not due for launch until 2015. The two-seater is powered by a 2.0-L engine that delivers 320 bhp (239 kW) and a 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) time of 4.5 s. Mid-engined and driven through the rear wheels, the new Elise will give “a proper introduction to the Lotus driving experience,” according to Dany Bahar, Group Lotus’ CEO.

Attracting plenty of attention was the Lotus with four doors—the Eterne. Bahar said that the Eterne GT stands out against the competition because it is not a development of an existing two-door model but rather more of a stand-alone creation.

“We truly believe that there is a market for the Eterne; there is nothing else like it out there both in terms of design, capacity, and performance,” believes the CEO. “It’s the ultimate four-door sports car.”

The Eterne’s 5.0-L V8—derived from the Lexus IS-F unit—puts out 620 bhp (462 kW), while options include hybrid drive and all-wheel-drive capabilities. A full hybrid transmission features integrated electric motors, as well as the KERS (kinetic energy recovery system) technology, which debuted in the 2009 Formula One season’s racing cars. Drivers can expect a top speed of 315 km/h (196 mph) and a 0-100 km/h time of just 4 s.

Using the same V8, another GT that will grace the Lotus lineup from early 2014 is the Elite. Two fewer doors cut 150 kg (330 lb) from the overall weight, compared with the four-door Eterne, and help the car reach 100 km/h from a standstill in 3.7 s. Bahar’s one-word description of the Elite is “elegant,” and design highlights include a retractable hardtop.

The two-seat Elan is also available in a 2+2 layout as an option. This high-performance Lotus is powered by a 4.0-L V6 with 450 bhp (336 kW). That performance in a vehicle tipping the scales at just 1295 kg (2855 lb) puts it close to supercar status. Lotus describes the Elan as “the beating heart of the new lineup." The company maintains that, while high performance is the main prerequisite, innovations will ensure the sports car maintains an element of usability, too.

With its Paris-show City Car Concept, Lotus is looking to rival Smart, using its hybrid and range-extender technological know-how to good effect. The Lotus Engineering-designed and -integrated series-hybrid drivetrain works with a single-speed transmission. The car has a 1.2-L, three-cylinder range-extender engine with an electric-only range of up to 60 km (37 mi), further enhancing the company’s goal of sustainable transportation.

The concept, weighing under 1400 kg (3090 lb), is expected to offer in the region of 240 N·m (177 lb·ft) of torque and a 0-100 km/h time of 9 s.

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