A Lotus Evora crossover is in development at Hethel, CAR can reveal.
Yes, you read that right: Lotus is giving the Evora sports car the rough-roader treatment, in the spirit of the Audi TT Offroad concept car.
Why? Because it wants to expand the appeal of its niche sports car in to territories where pumped-up, tougher cars reign supreme. That’s principally China and the US, according to insiders.
The revelation is published in the new January 2015 issue of CAR magazine, out this week. In it we interview Jean-Marc Gales, the ex-Peugeot Citroen boss who was appointed to lead Lotus Cars in May 2014.
Click here for a digital preview of CAR magazine.
Lotus Evora: a crossover and more models to come
The crossover will not be a proper trail-basher; it remains rear-wheel drive, but will benefit from the raised ride height and styling revisions which make soft-roaders popular in some markets, CAR understands.
And as an olive branch to Lotus fans perturbed by the prospect of a quasi-SUV, Hethel will also develop a hardcore sporting model as a follow-up to the 2-Eleven track special.
Geneva 2015: a revamped Evora
First Gales wants to gently relaunch Lotus at the 2015 Geneva motor show with the refreshed Evora. ‘It will be lighter and it will be faster: there’s nothing this side of £100,000 that will beat it on a track - unless it’s another Lotus,’ Gales told CAR.
The new 2015 Evora will benefit from a range of revisions - including, surprisingly, a much narrower and lower sill to make it easier to climb in and out. Such structural changes are not easily effected on a shoestring budget.
It will also be more powerful with charged intercooling and Gales hinted that a convertible Evora is on the cards. ‘We never did a roadster version, which is the easiest thing in the world to do…’
Read the full interview with the boss of Lotus Cars in the January 2015 issue of CAR magazine. Click here for a free sampler.
Another Lotus ute: the Elise Loadlugga
If all this talk of Lotus Streetwise/Allroad mash-ups shocks you, cast your mind back to 2006 when Hethel issued an April Fool's joke with a twist: the Lotus Elise Load Lugga.
An Elise with a flatbed, a tow hook and a pull-to-start cord like your lawnmower. The difference is, the Load Lugga was a joke. The Evora soft-roader is deadly serious...