After Lotus’s new Australian distributor slashed prices in August, the brand is looking to fight back with strong sales in 2012. Lotus expects the launch of new automatic Evora and Elise variants to boost the brand’s total sales from approximately 70 in 2011 to well over 100 in the New Year. The all-new range of next-generation Lotus sports car (including the new Elise, Elite, Eterne and Elan) won’t start arriving until 2013, and while Lotus Australia plans to bring the whole family Down Under, 2012 will be a year focused on building the business and strengthening the dealer network.
Vehicle type: Sports car. Timing: Q1
Lotus Australia’s flagship sports car benefits from the new IPS (intelligent precision shift) six-speed automatic transmission option early in 2012. Lotus expects the paddle-shift S to become the most popular model in the local Evora line-up. Powering the Evora S IPS is a supercharged 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine with 257kW of power and 400Nm of torque. The sprint from 0-100km/h takes just 4.8 seconds, and the car will go on to reach a top speed of 277km/h. Local prices haven’t been confirmed, but expect the IPS option to add around $5000, making the Evora S IPS approximately $145,000.
Vehicle type: Sports car. Timing: Q2
A few months after the launch of the automatic Evora S, Lotus will add a semi-automatic transmission option to the entry-level Elise. The Serial Precision Shift (SPS) robotised manual gearbox allows drivers to shift between automatic and paddle-shift drive modes. The SPS transmission will be optional on the Elise 1.6 model, which is powered by a 100kW/160Nm four-cylinder engine. Expect the Lotus Elise SPS to cost around $70,000.
Vehicle type: Sports car. Timing: Q4
Landing in Australia just before the end of 2012 is the Exige V6. Unveiled at September’s Frankfurt Motor Show, the Exige V6 adopts the supercharged 257kW/400Nm 3.5-litre engine from the Evora. With a total weight of just 1080kg, the show car was capable of launching from 0-100km/h in just 3.8 seconds, and had a top speed of around 270km/h. While the styling of the production car will be tamed slightly, expect the Exige V6 to be a standout in the local line-up, with a unique front-end, aggressive diffuser and large rear spoiler. Prices will be confirmed closer to the local launch, but expect to pay a hefty premium over the $79,990 Exige S.