Simplify, then add lightness - This famous quote was said by Colin Chapman, founder of Lotus. Ever since the foundation of the brand, Lotus was known for specialising in making lightweight cars for better cornering instead of muscle cars for straight line speed. The entry level version of the Lotus Elise S1 for example had just 120hp, however with excellent handling and an acceleration of 5.8 seconds from 0-60 it certainly was the perfect driver‘s car. However after the end of production of the Elise, Exige and Evora, Lotus does not intend making the same kind of cars that made them so special.
LOTUS‘ CURRENT STATE
The recently shown replacement for the three cars, the Emira, weighs 1,405kg. For comparison, the Elise S1 weighs just 700, so just the half. Instead of a 1.8 litre Inline-4 it has a powerful supercharged 3.5 litre V6. It should not wonder anyone that the feedback was rather sceptic from many people. But not just the Emira was controversial, the Evija even much more. Electric cars a getting more and more popular, however they do not match the philosophy of Lotus. The British car maker used to make lightweight cars and due to the batteries of an EV, that is not achievable. As a result it weighs 1,680kg. That is 140% heavier than the Elise S1! And not just that was unusual for a Lotus, but when we look at the amount of horsepower, we immediately see that this car‘s purpose is to be ridiculously fast on a straight line (2000hp).
THE FUTURE OF LOTUS
If you hoped now for an update that Lotus has just announced a new lightweight sports car, then you will be disappointed. What Lotus is actually planning is the Lotus Type 132 SUV, Type 133 Gran Coupe and Type 134 Crossover-SUV. That sounds more like a plan from Mercedes rather than from Lotus. The reason for this radical change of products is Lotus‘ current owner Geely. The Chinese manufacturer wants to convert Lotus from a sports car brand into a performance brand. Which means that you can expect Lotus to become like Porsche. However there might be some interesting news, because the currently planned Lotus Type 135 might be the successor to the Elise. This car should be released by 2026 and is already in development. However it will be different, since it definitely will be electric. There are rumours that Lotus works together with Toyota on that project. Not too long ago Toyota and Lexus have shown 15 new electric car concepts which all are going to make it into production. One of these cars looks very similar to the old Toyota MR2‘s. The rumour says that the new Lotus Elise and Toyota MR2 will be rebadged versions of one another, or at least, have many things in common.
A familiar look with a modern twist - Is this the new Toyota MR2 and Lotus Elise?
Lotus is not anymore what it once was. The company wants to focus now on more high-tech sports cars and family cars, rather than on simple and lightweight sports cars. With SUV‘s in their future lineup, Lotus shows that they want to grow, however is that the right way? I think that Lotus is losing its own face. It is not anymore the same brand that Colin Chapman founded, and it most definitely does not intend to change back to its former ideals in the future. Well, I guess we have to just wait for now.
What do you think about Lotus‘ future? Let me know in the comments!
Would you prefer a new EV Lotus or this Lotus Exige S1? Let me know in the comments!