To address rumors of a potential takeover by Genii Capital of Group, Lotus chief Dany Bahar further fueled the reports with his statement to Autocar. He said, “When we made the announcement about our involvement in Lotus Renault GP we made it clear that this was the start of a close relationship and this journey continues."
Bahar implies that the owners of the Lotus-supported F1 team may take a bigger role in the firm. Bahar has a five-year plan for Group Lotus to be profitable. As part of this goal, Lotus had entered a sponsorship deal with Genii, the majority owners of the Renault F1 team, in November 2010.
Bahar has the option to buy a majority stake in the team at a later date. But rumors heard at the Japanese Grand Prix hint that Genii Capital boss Gerard Lopez will be taking a senior role in Group Lotus and will be investing in the organization too.
It has yet to be confirmed just how substantial Lopez’s participation would be. It’s also undetermined if Lopez’s planned buy-in is related to the naming rights row presently being discussed by Group Lotus and Team Lotus. Last year, Genii partnered with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone to bid to purchase the Saab marque from GM. However, this joint offer was withdrawn later.
Talking about the new 2011 Lotus Elise, Director of Design at Group Lotus Donato Coco shared that the Lotus Elise has become an icon and the company did not want to complicate the already excellent design. As a result, he continued, the new model has a purer appearance with aerodynamics being improved. It was also given a more modern look in addition to the high quality detailing, he added.
Director of Lotus Product Engineering Paul Newsome meanwhile said that the company has long wanted the Lotus Elise to stay ahead of the pack and for this new version, its efficiency was enhanced without sacrificing its characteristic fun, a quality that has made the Elise reach the status of legendary.
Group Lotus Chief Executive Officer Dany Bahar on the other hand revealed that when the first Elise was introduced 14 years ago, it revolutionized the sports car. Bahar added that the new Elise is not only more environment-friendly but also continues to offer segment-leading performance levels.
There are a number of enhancements and changes implemented on the 2011 Elise. One of this is the innovative Valvematic 1.6-liter engine. In addition to meeting the standards set by EURO 5, it is smaller by 200 cc when compared to the engine in the Elise S model. Power however is the same at 100 kW (136 PS/134 hp) available at 6,800 rpm with top torque coming in at 160 Nm (1118 lb.-ft.) at 4,440 rpm. Fuel economy though is better by as much as 23% at 46 mpg (6.14 liters for every 100 km).
CO2 emissions are lower as well by 13%. As such, while the 2011 Elise is gasoline-powered, it is the only sports car in the world that displays high performance but has the lowest CO2 emission per performance. Paired to this new engine is the manual 6-speed gearbox which offers ratios that are performance-oriented and closed, especially when compared to the 5-speed version. Controlling the engine is the bespoke Lotus T6 engine management system.
Another first for the 2011 Elise is the Cruise Control whose controls are place on the stalk that is at the left side of the steering column. Due to the high performance, the company made sure to fit new cast wheels for the 2011 Elise. Available as an option are the forged wheels which are only at 29.26 per set. This is lighter by 2.14 kg compared to the lightweight case units. Both however, can be in black or silver.