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Lotus Eagle (2008)

Published: 24 January 2008

Lotus will launch its first all-new model for 13 years this summer – and this spyshot is the first glimpse of it. Codenamed Eagle, it’s the first 2+2 from Lotus since the Eclat and Excel.

We won’t see the production car until July 2008’s London Motor Show, where the £45,000 sports car will make its world debut. It’s aimed squarely at buyers trading up from their two-seater Elises – buyers in their thirties and forties who’ve got children and more baggage to carry around.

It’s an unusual recipe to have four seats in a mid-engined car; the last one that springs to mind is the Ferrari Mondial. We know the engine is sourced from Toyota and it’s a V6, which means it will have a capacity of 2.5 or 3.0 litres.

The managing director’s view

Lotus boss Mike Kimberley has told CAR that the rear seats accommodate children up to nine years old. ‘The Eagle is a much more comfortable Lotus, one you can drive every day. It’s our answer for people who have owned an Elise but now want to carry small children or golf bags.’

It’s not all sensible, however. That V6 should be good for somewhere between 200 and 300bhp, depending on the state of tune, and it won’t be lugging much weight around, as the Eagle will use the principles of the Lotus variable vehicle architecture with aluminium and plastic construction to keep weight low; insiders hint at electric performance of 0-60mph in around five seconds.

Eagle: the delay

There’s still a bit of a wait for the Eagle. Although it will be shown at the London show, finished cars won’t roll into showrooms until early in 2009.

Will the finished car look like the M250 show car from earlier this decade? That was a stillborn concept for a comfier Lotus, but was ultimately scrapped because it couldn’t be sold globally. Hethel won’t make that mistake again, but the designers seem to have taken some of the styling cues from M250. All will be revealed in July.

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, motoring news magnet