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Thursday, October 7, 2010

First Look: Lotus' New Elite

Lotus further reinvents itself with a 612-HP grand tourer, set to go on sale in 2014.

Lotus Cars is giving us a first look at the Elite — a V8-powered, folding-hardtop grand tourer with an optional hybrid powertrain that Lotus says will go on sale in 2014. TheLotus Elite gets a public debut at this year's Paris Motor Show.
Under the hood of the 2+2 Elite is a 5.0-liter gasoline V8, rated at 612 horsepower and 531 lb-ft of torque driving the rear wheels. The engine has an 8,500-rpm limit and will push the car from 0 to 62 mph in 3.5 seconds to 3.7 seconds, Lotus says. Top speed is 195 mph.
The optional hybrid uses a kinetic-energy-recovery system, similar to the setup used in Formula One racing.
Lotus says the Elite measures 181.1 inches long, 74.8 inches wide and 52 inches tall, and the car weighs 3,638 pounds.
Production of the Lotus Elite will start in early 2014, Lotus says. It put an expected retail price of £115,000, or about $179,000 at current exchange rates, on the car.
In a press release, Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar said: "There's no denying that the Elite is breathtakingly beautiful to look at, but it's so much more than that. It's a car that overdelivers in all other aspects as well. One could say it's a car of perfect contradictions: It's compact yet spacious, high performing yet low emitting, lightweight yet still reassuringly solid. It's a car that we are exceptionally proud of at Lotus and we truly believe that there is nothing else like it out there both in terms of styling and performance.
"Make no mistake, there's a definite market requirement for the Elite — it's the ultimate sports car feel with comfort and space. There will always be those who believe that Lotus should stick to small sports cars, but we didn't take the decision to design something like the Elite lightly. It's based on months of careful research and planning. It's worth noting this sector has been very successful for us in the past, and now the Elite raises the benchmark higher still."