Lotus has detailed its product plans for the first time since it became a subsidiary of Chinese manufacturer Geely, announcing it will introduce two new sports cars in 2020 and its first SUV by 2022.
Speaking with the UK’s CAR Magazine, Lotus’s CEO, Jean-Marc Gales, said one of the all-new sports cars will be a replacement for a current model, while the second will be a limited-run track-oriented flagship.
It’s sort of a big deal, as they will be the first all-new models from the British sports car brand since the Evora launched in 2009.
The cheaper of the two sports car models is said to be based on a new version of the company’s current bonded aluminium tub, which Gales maintains is “still a benchmark for lightweight, crash resistance and longevity”.
Above: Lotus Evora GT430
Meanwhile the special-edition flagship vehicle will use a new carbon-fibre tub and take over the role of performance halo from the 3-Eleven, which will end production this year.
“It will be something similar, but much more civilized, because 3-Eleven is pretty raw,” said Gales.
But when asked if this halo car would be long-awaited successor to the iconic Esprit, Lotus’s boss said he “might need a bit more time for that”.
The two sports cars are expected to utilise a lot of technology and suppliers from the Geely portfolio, meaning they could be far more technologically-advanced than the somewhat archaic current models – don’t expect to see Volvo’s massive touchscreen, however.
Above: Lotus Elise 250 Special Edition
Gales promises the new models will also be “absolutely stunning and gorgeous, in terms of design and aerodynamics”, along with being more practical without “corrupting the fundamental character”.
In terms of what will power the new sports cars, Gales wasn’t so forthcoming. There are obvious options across the Geely and Volvo brands, though the lack of V6 options could mean Lotus will stick with the 3.5-litre V6 sourced from Toyota for the time being – for the high-performance models, at least.
In saying that, Gales did confirm neither will be hybrid.
“For sports cars I still always look at the combustion engines or full electric,” he said, “Two powertrains is just weight, it’s inefficient.”
While the sports cars were previewed in good detail, Gales didn’t tell CAR Magazine much about the company’s upcoming SUV, though our guess is that it might be based on either the Volvo XC60 or XC90, and feature a version of the 300kW ‘T8’ plug-in hybrid system.
In the meantime, stay tuned to CarAdvice for all the latest Lotus updates.