It’s been over a decade, but it looks like we might finally get a new one Lotus before the release of 2021. The company is putting the finishing touches on its next and last gasoline sports car, set to debut this summer, before production ramps up in 2022. An exciting time, indeed.
On the other hand, every Lotus currently on sale will be discontinued this year. Say goodbye to Elise, Exige and Evora – a trio that have carried the British automaker far longer than expected or deserved. The news was confirmed in a press release today.
The Evora entered production in 2009 and is notably the only current Lotus model that you can still legally buy in the United States. The Elise, of course, has been around for much longer. The “3 Series” Elise – the latest – saw the light of day in 2010. Although under the slightly reshaped skin, the 3 Series is actually just the second generation of Elise dating back to 2001. Hell, she even appeared some Opel and Vauxhall variants I totally forgot until now.
Note that Lotus’s inability to switch from Elise, Exige and Evora is not due to lack of effort. At that time, the manufacturer presented itself at the 2010 Paris Motor Show with five proposals for new performance cars. and a very little Lotus supermini nicknamed Ethos (or “City Car” if you look at the license plate).
At the time, Lotus was under Proton’s leadership and none of that vision for the brand’s future came to fruition. Then-CEO Dany Bahar was ousted two years later, apparently due to misuse of company funds, and Proton was swallowed up by Malaysian manufacturing conglomerate DRB-Hicom.
Nothing really started to change until 2017, when Geely acquired a controlling stake in Lotus. The 2,000-horsepower Evija hypercar was the first next-era Lotus product to break down – you see it to the right in the dark photo above – and these three armored cars will reportedly replace the ones leaving this year. According to the press release:
To pay homage to the future family of performance cars, Lotus released an image that hints at the next generation of products that will follow Elise, Exige and Evora, which entered their final year of production in 2021.
Under one of those covers is presumably this new pure internal combustion model, which is expected to start at around $ 75,000. Lotus CEO Phil Popham said this vehicle “will really put a lot of emphasis on user-friendliness” and that it was designed so that owners “can live with it on a daily basis”.
Then there is the car mentioned in this version, codenamed Type 131. It appears to be different from the aforementioned $ 75,000 Lotus; Coach seems to think that the Type 131 is the spiritual successor to the Spirit, which will be powered by a V6 hybrid powertrain and start at a “price set in the low six figures”, placing it above the Evora in the hierarchical order. Also, don’t forget that long-rumored SUV that wasn’t included in that family photoshoot.
Geely has grown Lotus significantly over the past four years to meet these challenges. The British manufacturer reports that 670 employees have joined its ranks since taking over a new business and plans to add 250 more people in the coming years. If there has been a time for Lotus to change, it is now.