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2010 Paris Motor Show: Lotus is on fire!

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Khatir Soltani
Taking just about everyone by surprise, Lotus unveiled a veritable onslaught of cars at the Paris Auto Show today. Five new models, two updated versions of an existing model and a concept car are on display.

Here is the short and sweet breakdown of the five new models, which curiously all seem to share the same design template:

Photo: Matthieu Lambert/

The car Lotus fans have been waiting for, and according to Lotus Group CEO Dany Bahar, the Esprit “is the star of the show”.

A two-seater, mid-engined and rear-drive sports car, the Esprit is powered by a pressure-charged (that means turbo or supercharged) 5.0-litre V8 that develops 611 horsepower and 531 lb-ft of torque, mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox. With a curb weight of 3,200 pounds (1,450 kg), the Esprit can get to 100 km/h in 3.4 seconds and reaches a top speed of 330 km/h (206 mph).

The Esprit should arrive in the spring of 2013 at a cost of about ₤110,000, or CDN$ 180,000.

Photo: Matthieu Lambert/

What used to be a small, two-seater roadster has become a rear-wheel drive, mid-engined coupe that can seat two or four passengers.

The Elan features a pressure-charged 4.0-litre V6 that develops 444 horsepower and 343 lb-ft of torque mixed with a 7-speed dual-clutch tranny. Weighing 1,295 kg or 2,850 lbs, it can reach 100 km/h 3.5 seconds and top out at 310 km/h (194 mph).

This car should arrive in the fall of 2013 at a price of about ₤75,000, or roughly CDN$ 125,000.

Photo: Matthieu Lambert/

A 2+2 seater, mid-engined, RWD sports coupe with a retractable hardtop, the Elite is a somewhat bigger and more spacious model in the Lotus product offering. It uses a 5.0-litre V8 that develops 611 horsepower and 531 lb-ft of torque (same components as the Esprit), but it’s connected to a full hybrid transmission. According to Lotus, it will redefine the term “modern classic.”

The Elite is said to reach 100 km/h in 3.7 seconds and hit 315 km/h (197 mph). Look for the Elite in the spring of 2014 at a price of approximately ₤115,000 or CDN$ 190,000.

Photo: Matthieu Lambert/

An extreme makeover makes the Elise a much-changed car, although it does look a lot like all the others here. It will offer room for 2 and will boast—you guessed it—rear-wheel drive and a mid-engine layout.

Lotus claims big improvements in practicality for the Elise; it will be easier to climb in and get out of, notably. It will continue to serve at the company’s entry-level car, and will be equipped with a pressure-charged 2.0-litre inline-4 that will develop 316 horsepower and 244 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed manual will be standard, while a dual-clutch gearbox will be optional. Start/stop technology will also be included.

The Elise should weigh in at just 1,095 kg or 2,400 lbs, good for 0-100 km/h times of 4.3 seconds and a top end of 270 km/h (169 mph). The new Elise should be ready for the spring of 2015 at a price of about ₤35,000 or CDN$ 60,000.

Photo: Matthieu Lambert/

The first sedan from Lotus, if we excuse the GM-produced Lotus Omega and Lotus Carlton twins of the early ‘90s. The Eterne is a 4-seat, 4-door saloon with a front-mid-engine layout and a choice or rear-wheel or all-wheel drive.

The Eterne will be powered by the Elite’s 611-hp V8 and hybrid transmission combo, and is said to hit 100 km/h in 4.0 seconds. Top speed is a claimed 315 km/h (197 mph). Lotus claims “best in class” performance and efficiency, which means better than the Aston Martin Rapide and Porsche Panamera Turbo, among others.

Lotus’ four-door sports car should arrive in the spring of 2015 at a price of roughly ₤120,000 or CDN$ 200,000.

Also on display in Paris are two new versions of the Evora. The S gets a 345-horsepower version of the Toyota-sourced 3.5-litre V6 along with some suspension tweaks as well as an active exhaust system that changes its sound at the push of a button. The Evora IPS gets the base 276-hp engine and a newly-developed 6-speed automatic with a manual shift mode.

Photo: Matthieu Lambert/

Finally, the Concept City Car is a vehicle created to condense the essence of Lotus into an environmentally-friendly vehicle. The car can be operated in Zero Emissions EV mode or with its flexible-fuel engine.

Khatir Soltani
Khatir Soltani
Automotive expert
  • Over 6 years experience as a car reviewer
  • Over 50 test drives in the last year
  • Involved in discussions with virtually every auto manufacturer in Canada