I know it’s been a while since the Paris and LA shows, but now that the news has calmed down from other websites, I’d like to take a moment to show you why Lotus has possibly the best and clearest vision of itself for the foreseeable future.
You see, at Paris, Lotus unveiled 7 new cars. 2 of them were new Evora models, the Evora S and Evora IPS. IPS stands for “Intelligent Precision Shift”. A little hokey, I’ll agree, but it does the job. Now the Evora isn’t going to be a dual-clutch or some kind of special gearbox, it’ll just be a simple automatic gearbox. And while it’s not what the common trend is, it adds no weight to the Evora… So you can shift via the steering wheel mounted paddles, or just flip it into auto-mode. It’s not my cup of tea, but it shows that Lotus is looking ahead to sell a lot more cars than they already do now.
But how are they going to do this? After-all, aren’t they a small mom-and-pop operation out of Great Britain? Well, sort of. But Lotus has been making good headway the past few years, developing the Evora from the ground-up, and supposedly working on a new Esprit around the same time. They even recently introduced a tweak to the Elise that comes in the way of new styling, options, engine specs, etc. And then they headlined a totally new Elise, Elan, Esprit, Elite, Eterne, as well as the two previously mentioned Evora models.
It kind of seems like Lotus has a whole E-obsession. Kind of like my parents did when they named me and my 3 older siblings. We’re all J Lewis. A little annoying when your mother yells out, “Jason, Jodi, Josh, John; damn it, whoever the hell you are, just come over here!”
So when you walk into the showroom just say, “I want to see the Evora, Elite, Elise, Exige, Esprit, Elan, Eterne; whatever that really nice Lotus is, I want to see it.” To which point, they’ll show you all of them at the same time. All we need now is a new Excel, Éclat, Europa and Seven, and Lotus will have reproduced every road going car they’ve ever made.
So by now you’re wondering where I’m going with all of this, right? To be honest, no where in particular. I just wanted an excuse to talk about Lotus.
I’ve just been at the LA Auto Show where Lotus was in big demand. The company’s CEO, CTO (Chief Technical Officer) and Head of Design were all there to promote the concept cars. And while I was there, I got to snag them each to do radio interviews with Bob Long Radio (I am a field producer for his radio shows), and one thing that was asked in abundance by me, Bob and every other journalist at the show, “Why so much weight?” And I think I can answer this in an uncomplicated way, or… maybe I’ll let Lotus CEO Dany Bahar tell you from my latest interview with him:
“The cars we will produce in the future are heavier than the cars we currently produce, that’s a fact, but they will still be lighter than the competition. A lot of people have asked me why the new range will be heavier and there are some very good reasons for that – the main one being that it’s just not possible to produce cars of that size, performance and quality without adding weight – it’s inevitable. I’m aware that a lot of traditional Lotus fans struggle with this and feel that we’re coming away from the core Lotus DNA of performance through light weight, but I can assure them that we’re not, which is why I can say: a Lotus will always be lighter than the competition in its category.”
Lotus really has a tough road ahead of them. I mean, these are trying times for all automakers. Luckily, they’ve got one thing on their side: The Evora has a chassis developed for it that’s easily modified, stretched, whatever, so they have one great setup already that can and will be used for pretty much all the cars they’re working on. The other thing they’ve got going for them is their engines come from Toyota, at which point they modify them the Lotus way. The interiors in each car will be similar enough to each car that they won’t have to outsource that too much.
Lotus has taken the time to evaluate what needs to be done and have gone out and hired a lot of outside guys that have previously worked for Alfa Romeo, BMW, Chrysler, GM, Ferrari, Ford, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz AMG and Rolls-Royce. And not just regular Joes, but former CEOs, executive types, etc. So guys that really, really know the industry of sports cars.
So do I believe Lotus can make it happen? I sure as hell do. They’ve never led us wrong. Would Colin Chapman be proud? Yes and no. He’d be sad to see his company in such dire straights, but I believe he’d respect the fact that it was time to change. After all, his cars went head to head with Ferrari, Aston Martin and Porsche back in the day and have continued to survive the races to this day. The Evora and Evora S, I think, are a sign of what Lotus has up its sleeve…. and it’s a heavy Lotus at 3,046 and 3,168 lbs respectively. Still, not that weighty, though, when you compare it to Porsche’s Cayman S at 2,976 lbs for a manual car, that’s not that bad, as the Evora S has 25 more horsepower.
Unfortunately, though, every car has to get heavier. A BMW M3 weighs 3,704 lbs. And it’s still insanely fast.
My point is, with all of the luxuries, safety features and power that we want in cars, it all adds weight. So think about the next time you’re optioning a car online. Navigation, leather seats, power seats, air conditioning, rear seats, etc., it all adds lots of weight. Lotus will be no exception to this.