Volvo engines could eventually replace Toyota units too

Lotus boss Jean-Marc Gales has confirmed the company is working on two new sports cars, including a new hero model available by 2020.

Speaking to Autocar, Gales said the new star car will reside "in an upper segment, above the Evora", meaning it will inevitably be compared to the Esprit, which ceased production in 2004.

Despite being pitched further upmarket than anything in the current model range, Gales insists the new model will stay true to the company's ethos of creating lightweight, aerodynamic cars focused on handling.

Like the Evora, Elise and Exige below it, the new sports car will use an extruded, bonded and riveted aluminium chassis.

The Lotus boss was less forthcoming about the second sports car in the works. Although it will likely be a two-seat vehicle, this new car may be more expensive and more fully equipped than today's Elise as Giles sees "the market is now moving a bit more upmarket".

Lotus is also working on its first crossover, which will use the SPA platform developed by Volvo. An earlier report suggested the Lotus SUV will go on sale around 2022.

Gales said Lotus will eventually use engines from the Geely empire, but for the immediate future the sports car maker will be sticking with Toyota-sourced units. Currently Lotus uses 1.6- and 1.8-litre four-cylinder engines, and a 3.5-litre V6 from the Japanese giant.

Geely, which owns Volvo outright, bought a 51 per cent stake in Lotus in September last year, along with a 49 per cent share in Proton.