Thanks to backing from Chinese firm Geely, the new owners of Lotus Cars, a new Esprit is coming by 2020.
Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales recently spilled the beans to Autocar about what’s happening at Lotus in the next couple years. Specifically, there are two new sports cars in the pipeline, as Chinese manufacturer Geely starts to invest in the company. Geely, which also owns Volvo, took control at Lotus last year. To date, Lotus has produced some truly iconic British sports cars, including the Elan, Elise, Exige, Evora and Esprit.
The two new cars, due out in 2020, will succeed iconic nameplates in Lotus’ lineup. The first is a new flagship model, essentially a modern take on the Esprit pictured above. It will sit “above the Evora”, marking it out as the brand’s possible new halo. The other car is likely to be a two-seater, possibly a replacement for the entry-level Elise. Whether that’s true is unclear at the moment, but it makes sense to attack the modernization of the Lotus brand from both ends of the market.
What’s the deal with Lotus?
Lotus is likely a brand you don’t know much about, as they’re not a huge seller in the United States. You occasionally see one on the road, but this new level of investment might change all that. The Norfolk, England-based company currently builds four vehicles in total. There’s the hardcore 3-Eleven two-seater, then moving down the production lineup, there’s the Evora, Exige and Elise. The Evora sits on its own platform, while the others employ a different platform. However, all Lotus cars use an aluminum chassis, some sporting composite and steel subframes.
However, there’s a distinct possibility new versions of these cars could ride on Volvo’s SPA platform. Lotus is in the process of finalizing the design of its first crossover, so it would make sense to move that platform over to the new cars. However, in the short term, at least, the company will continue to use Toyota-sourced engines.
Current halo: Evora GT430 Sport
Lotus’ closest car to the Esprit at the moment is the Evora GT430 Sport. It packs 430 horsepower from its supercharged 3.5-liter V6 and weighs 150 kilograms less than the original, naturally-aspirated Evora S model. It’s built to compete with other purpose-built sports cars like the Porsche 911 GT3.
If Jean-Marc Gales’ claims hold true, a new Esprit – if Lotus keeps the name – should be an even more potent force. As with the other sports car, this one may take on a different identity as Gales notes “the market is now moving a bit more upmarket.”
Stay tuned to TFLcar.com for more updates! Subscribe to The Fast Lane Car and TFLnow on YouTube for more news, views, and real-world reviews. Lotus did bring out a new version of their mid-range Exige as well, the Sport 410: