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Lotus range at the Paris motor show 2010

Published: 30 September 2010

It’s only a few days since Lotus shocked us with details of the all-new Lotus Elite – a 5.0-litre supercharged V8 GT with a folding hardtop, the engine up front, and all-aluminium construction.

Now, at the 2010 Paris motor show, the Norfolk firm is unveiling four more cars: Elise, Elan, Esprit and Eterne.

Lotus Elise (2015) – change of character for baby roadster

On sale in 2015, the Elise is furthest from production, but we already know it will be a radical shift from today’s car. Yes, it’s still rear-wheel drive, still mid-engined, and the chassis will be based on a development of the VVA architecture that underpins the current Evora. But the body will be a combination of fixed composite body panels and aluminium closures, there’ll be an optional robotised manual gearbox (in fact, the Elise is the only future Lotus to get the option of a manual transmission) and the 2.0-litre four pot engine will be either turbo- or supercharged to 300bhp – good for 4.5sec runs to 62mph. The £34k price tag will put it bang in the Porsche Boxster’s bull’s eye.

Lotus Elan (2013) – the new Evora

Next up the range is the Elan. This is effectively a replacement for today’s Evora – a mid-engined V6 with an optional 2+2 seating layout – and arrives in 2013 priced £75k. That’s a big leap from today’s Evora, hence, no doubt, the decision not to recycle the same name. Going head-to-head with the 911 Carrera S, it will have its work cut out, but a heavily reworked and supercharged version of the Evora’s V6 will yield 400bhp and 450bhp power outputs and a 3.5-3.9sec 0-62mph dash. More impressively, this all-aluminium sports car should be less polluting than the Evora, with a C02 target below 200g/km. An optional KERS hybrid system will also be offered, while the Elan will debut the seven-speed dual-clutch auto that’ll come as standard on all models bar the Elise.

Lotus Esprit (2013) – the supercar Lotus

We’ve been catching the Esprit supercar testing for aeons now, but here’s a first official glimpse, one that confirms our Gallardo-inspired renderings were on the money. The Esprit lands in 2013, will cost around £110k, and marks the production debut of the Lexus ISF-derived 5.0-litre supercharged V8 we first heard about in the forthcoming Elite. With 550bhp (or 620bhp in R tune) it promises to be a riot, and it’s composite body panels and aluminium closures help it to tip the scales at a relatively lithe 1495kg before fluids. Result? 0-62mph in a whisker over 3sec. Watch your back, Ferrari.

Lotus Elite (2014) – the California rival

From here it goes slightly bonkers with the Elite and Eterne. The Elite is a 2+2 folding hard-top (£115k, on sale 2014) with the same 5.0-litre supercharged V8 as the Esprit, but the KERS hybrid system will come as standard, and be a lot different to the ones offered in Hethel’s mid-engined future cars: here the lithium ion battery is in the boot (not mounted low in the transmission tunnel), and there’ll be a fully integrated epicyclic transmission. The constant power flow this creates means entirely seamless gear changes, and a 40% reduction in C02: the target is 215g/km.

Lotus Eterne (2015) – Hethel does a Panamera

The Eterne is essentially the same as the Elite underneath, but it’s a Porsche Panamera rival on top: a four-door, four-seat supercar. You’ll see it in 2015.

And the Lotus supermini?  

Finally, there’s distant murmurings of a Lotus City Car. It may appear in 2014, if it appears at all. Billed as a Smart rival, it would be sold as either a fully electric car, or an electric car with a 1.2-litre, three-cylinder range extender engine to power up the electric motor – not to drive the wheels – when it runs out of juice, just like the Chevy Volt.

>> Read on for the full spec on each of the proposed new cars from Lotus

Lotus Elise

On sale: 2015
Price: £34k (est)
Engine: 2.0-litre 16v four-cylinder turbo or supercharged, 300bhp (350bhp R)
Transmission: Six-speed manual or automated manual, rear-wheel drive
Suspension: Double wishbones all round, continuously variable dampers
Length/width/height in mm: 4000/1850/1250mm
Bodystyles: Coupe and convertible
Performance: Sub 4.5sec 0-62mph, sub-150g/km
Weight/made from: 1095kg dry/composite body sides, aluminium closures

Lotus Elan

On sale: 2013
Price: £75k (est)
Engine: 3956cc 24v supercharged V6, 400bhp (450bhp R), plus optional KERS hybrid system
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, rear-wheel drive
Suspension: Double wishbones all round, continuously variable dampers
Length/width/height in mm: 4450/1900/1280
Bodystyles: Coupe and convertible, plus optional 2+2 seating
Performance 3.5-3.9sec 0-62mph, sub-200g/km
Weight/made from: 1295kg dry/aluminium

Lotus Esprit

On sale: 2013
Price: £110 (est)
Engine: 4969 32v supercharged V8, 550bhp (620bhp R) @ 8000rpm (approx), plus optional KERS system
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, rear-wheel drive
Suspension: Double wishbones all round, continuously variable dampers
Length/width/height in mm: 4550/1950/1250
Bodystyles: Coupe and convertible
Performance: 3.2-3.5sec 0-62mph, 250g/km
Weight/made from: 1495kg dry/carbon fixed panels, aluminium closures

Lotus Elite

On sale: 2014
Price: £115
Engine: 4969 32v supercharged V8, 550bhp (620bhp R) @ 8000rpm (approx), plus standard KERS hybrid system
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox with integrated epicyclic hybrid transmission, rear-wheel drive
Suspension: Double wishbones all round, continuously variable dampers
Length/width/height in mm: 4600/1900/1320
Bodystyles: Folding hardtop 2+2
Performance: 3.5-3.7sec 0-62mph, 215g/km
Weight/made from: 1680kg dry/aluminium (TBC)

Lotus Eterne

On sale: 2015
Price: £120k
Engine: 4969 32v supercharged V8, 550bhp (620bhp R) @ 8000rpm (approx), plus standard KERS hybrid system
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox with integrated epicyclic hybrid transmission, rear-wheel drive
Suspension Double wishbones all round, continuously variable dampers
Length/width/height in mm: 5000/1900/1430mm
Bodystyles: Four-door saloon
Performance: 4sec 0-62mph, 215g/km
Weight/made: from 1850kg dry/aluminium

Lotus City Car Concept

On sale: 2014 (if at all)
Price: £20k
Engine: Either full electric plug-in or plug-in hybrid with 1.2-litre three-cylinder range extender petrol engine
Transmission: Single-speed with six-step simulated manual mode, rear-wheel drive
Suspension: TBC
Length/width/height in mm: 3400/1720/1500
Bodystyles: supermini
Performance: Sub-9.0sec 0-62mph, sub-4.5sec 0-31mph
Weight/made from: TBC

>> It's an extraordinary ambition. Can Lotus pull it off? Or is this the end of the Lotus we know and cherish? Click 'Add your comment' and let us know

By Ben Barry

Contributing editor, sideways merchant, tyre disintegrator

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