Lotus Looks At New 2+2
Lotus is exploring the possibility of an Elise-based 2+2 coupe to span the gap between the existing roadster and the forthcoming Esprit replacement. At this early stage the project is being branded as a 'feasibility study' simply to explore whether or not there's a market for a less track-focused Lotus, and there's no guarantee the project will progress any further than this.
Although the idea of a 2+2 in the mould of the classic Elan +2 and the 1980s Excel is under consideration, it's not certain that a potential new model would even have the extra seats, although upgraded equipment levels and hiked standards of everyday refinement would be on the cards regardless of the passenger count. Also up for discussion is the choice of powerplant, the current 189bhp Toyota four-cylinder unit being perhaps a bit too frenetic for the role of tourer.
While understandably reluctant to reveal details of the project, Lotus is, however, keen to emphasise that this feasibility study does not involve the chassis from the next generation Elise; it insists that car is still years away.
Meanwhile, work continues at Hethel on the Versatile Vehicle Architecture (VVA) project that will sire a whole wave of new Lotus models. To save costs and development time, Lotus is developing an extruded aluminium floorpan to which can easily be attached different 'corners' upon which a range of different vehicles can be built up. In time this is where the Elise mk3 will come from, but before then Lotus is likely to launch the Esprit replacement or perhaps even a sub-Esprit coupe.
All future models from Hethel will be 'world cars', in other words engineered for all global markets. This follows the embarrassing situation when the M250 (intended to slot between Elise and Esprit) project had to be mothballed because it wasn't suitable for the US market.
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2005 Lotus Elise, 1993 MR2, 1995 MR2, 125cc Shifter Kart, Toniq (in build), 2018 Origin 7 (waiting), 2018 Origin Noble M (waiting)