2010 Paris Auto ShowJust the Facts:
- 2013 Lotus Elan, slated for a summer 2013 debut, is a closed car powered by a pressure-charged 450-horsepower 4.0-liter V6.
- This is the third-generation car to use the Elan name.
- Like the Esprit, it's optionally available as a hybrid.
PARIS — The 2013 Lotus Elan, unveiled at the 2010 Paris Auto Show, is a sports car, and it's an Elan — but not as we know it.
Those with long memories, or a penchant for landmark classic British sports cars of uncertain reliability, may remember the 1962 fiberglass Lotus Elan, which delivered an extraordinary driving experience and provided much of the inspiration for the 1989 Mazda Miata. Lotus produced a successor to this Elan, also in 1989, whose front-wheel-drive chassis dynamics were amazing, if not as much fun as the original's. Both those cars were about being open-topped, small and nimble.
This third Elan, slated for a summer 2013 debut, is a closed car powered by a pressure-charged 450-horsepower 4.0-liter V6 with a seven-speed transmission, making it a very different animal from its predecessors, a fact that keen Lotus fans — and there are many — may struggle with. They may also regret its near-cookie-cutter resemblance to the new Lotus Esprit and the smaller Elise.
Like the Esprit, it's optionally available as a hybrid, and it's light, too. Its 2,849-pound curb weight allows it a 3.5-second 0-60-mph time and a top speed of 193 mph. Another difference from past Elans (although not the bigger Plus 2) is the provision of two-plus-two seating, which would suggest that the current Evora, also a two-plus-two V6, may not have a particularly long life. The projected price for this Lotus is $118,500.
Edmunds.com says: This new Elan, which is quite different from its namesakes from the 1960s and 1990s, would appear to be a tight fit within a range that includes a pricier, more potent Elise, the new Esprit and today's Evora, unless that model is doomed. And Lotus fans will question its right to use the Elan nameplate without a convertible roof. — Richard Bremner, Correspondent