Lo­tus gives us high five

Lo­tus takes on Fer­arri, write Paul Gover and James Stan­ford

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

AC­TORS, a model and gui­tarist al­most over­shadow the cars at the biggest event of the 2010 Paris Mo­tor Show. Movie hero Mickey Rourke, su­per­model Naomi Camp­bell, for­mer Queen gui­tarist Brian May and ac­tor Stephen Bald­win help gen­er­ate ex­cite­ment around five stun­ning new mod­els.

Lo­tus is head­ing into a new era, di­rectly con­fronting Fer­rari.

All five mod­els— Elite, Esprit, Elan, Elise and Eterne — are shown at Paris, along with the Evora, but none is a pro­duc­tion car on-sale date es­ti­mates range from three to five years.

The born-again Esprit su­per­car was ru­moured to be first into ac­tion but has been over­taken by the Elite.

Still, the ques­tion of how a tiny com­pany that cur­rently has only a hand­ful of mod­els and a small bud­get will be able to de­velop so many high­per­for­mance mod­els is not an­swered in Paris.

The most en­tic­ing of the cars pre­sented is the Esprit, which is also the most likely to make it into a show­room near you and is due in 2013.

A re­make of the for­mer wedge-shaped clas­sic, the new Esprit will take on Fer­rari with a mouth-wa­ter­ing and mid-mounted 5.0-litre V8, which is pres­sure-charged and even has an op­tional KERS hy­brid as­sis­tance sys­tem. The com­bined power out­put is 456kW.

All the other mod­els pre­sented share the Esprit’s sharp front-end styling and wedge-body de­sign, in­clud­ing the Elan, an­other re­make of a Lo­tus clas­sic. It is a two-seater with a pres­surecharged 4.0-litre V6 that pro­duces 331kW and weighs 1295kg, the same as the Esprit. It’s due at the end of 2013.

The Elite is a grand tourer and has the same en­gine as the Esprit, but it is front-mounted and the car is due in 2014. It has a re­tractable hard­top and weighs 1650kg.

Lo­tus also presents a new light­weight Elise, which is not due for an­other five years, which takes up the same styling cues as the other new con­cepts.

Lo­tus also rolled out the Eterne, a four-door model aimed at the grow­ing four-seat grand tourer mar­ket. This model, also five years away, runs the same V8 as the Esprit and Elite, but is avail­able with an op­tional all-wheel-drive sys­tem.

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