A teaser image was released last Monday by Lotus, implying the "dawn of a new era" for the small British sports car maker. It's possible that the image simply means the arrival of a new Esprit or an Evora convertible. But it's also possible that Lotus is hinting that it will soon become a true luxury sports car rival to Ferrari.
Lotus' owner Proton had recently revealed a five-year business plan for Lotus' future. Currently, Lotus makes three models, with two (Elise and Exige) being hardcore lightweight track cars. The Evora may be more luxurious but it's still not on the same level as Ferrari.
Lotus has taken on a new motto of "tomorrow's luxury sports car, today," and has gotten rid of Colin Chapman's idea of 'simplify and add lightness.' Lotus will start producing true luxury sports cars by 2015. Prices will range from €100,000 ($123,000) to €130,000 ($159,000) and will be offered with a variety of luxury items.
Lotus has made strides to include an automatic transmission into the Evora, a trend that has been observed on other small sports car makers too.
Upcoming Lotus luxury sports cars will feature advanced technology like a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and active aerodynamics, which are features that are seen on Ferrari's new 458 Italia. Furthermore, the upcoming luxury Lotus models will also have continuously variable dampers for a more luxurious ride.
There are also plans to offer green items such as hybrids and extended-range electric vehicles. Lotus plans to move upmarket to rival Ferrari, Aston Martin, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche's Panamera coupe.
However, Lotus' business plan indicates that it will still keep hardcore models such as the Elise and Exige as integral models in its lineup.