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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
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 mold of the classic Elan +2 and the 1980's 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 everday refinement would be in the cards regardless of the passenger count. Also up for discussion is the choice of powerplant, the current 189bhp Toyota 4-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 emphasize that this feasibility study does not involve the chassis from the next generation Elise; it insists that car car is years away.
Meanwhile work continues at Hethel on the Versatile Vehicle Architecture (VVA) project that will sire a whole new wave of Lotus models. To save costs and development time, Lotus is developing an extruded aluminum floorpan to which can easily be attached different 'corners' upon which a range of different vehicles can be built up from. 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 U.S. market. (As reported on the EVO website).
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