Lotus has presented a product plan that involves a drastic expansion of its current range to its owner Proton.
According to the government controlled newspaper Utusan Malaysia, Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales has presented a product plan includes an SUV and a D-segment sedan to the board of Proton.
The Lotus range has never extended beyond roadsters and coupes though, through its engineering consultancy arm, the company has worked on passenger cars of many shapes and sizes. The company has helped to engineer, as well as fine tune the driving setup for, Proton’s range of vehicles.
The last time Lotus actively toyed with the idea of an SUV, it produced the APX concept (above) for the 2006 Geneva auto show. The APX concept SUV featured lightweight aluminium construction and tipped the scales at 1570kg. Featuring all-wheel drive and a 224kW/360Nm 3.0-litre supercharged V6, the APX could reportedly hit 100km/h in 5.4 seconds.
Lotus’ most famous sedan came about when it transformed the pedestrian Vauxhall Carlton sedan into a critics’ favourite. That car replaced the regular Vauxhall Carlton/Opel Omega’s 3.0-litre straight six with a 281kW/568Nm twin-turbo 3.6-litre version of that engine.
Back in 2010, Lotus shocked the motoring world when it unveiled five concept cars at Paris motor show, which it said pointed the way forward to a vastly expanded range. Alongside the other concepts was the Eterne hybrid sedan that featured a 462kW 5.0-litre V8 from Toyota paired to a Formula One-style kinetic energy recovery system (KERS).
Under the company’s then ambitious plans, the Eterne would have been available in both rear- and all-wheel drive. A 0-60mph (96km/h) time of around four seconds and a top speed of 315km/h were targeted.
If Lotus’ latest SUV and sedan plans are green lit, the resultant production cars are expected to be unrelated to the APX and Eterne concepts. It’s unknown what reception Gales’ proposal received from Proton’s board.