2015 Lotus Elise Concept

2015 Lotus Elise Concept

2010 Paris Auto Show

2010 Paris Auto Show

Just the Facts:
  • Lotus unveils the concept model for its future 2015 Elise.
  • The new Elise will offer a 320-horsepower forced-induction 2.0-liter four-cylinder.
  • Price of this new top-end Elise is projected to be near $55,000.

PARIS — This is the all-new Lotus Elise, the company's concept portrayal of the future 2015 production model, a car the company describes as a "grown-up" Elise. And it's certainly that, with a 320-horsepower forced-induction 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, substantially more powerful than the current Elise.

That might suggest a significant shift upmarket from today's diminutive lightweight two-seater, but this is the most potent powertrain — less powerful, more affordable engines will also be offered, all of them Toyota units suitably modified by Lotus. Stop-start is standard, along with six-speed manual transmission, and a dual-clutch paddle-shift auto is being added as an option.

Low weight remains a key feature of the car, although it has broken the 1-metric-ton barrier with its 2,409-pound curb weight. The price of this new 320-hp Elise is projected at $55,000 — around $15,800 more than today's entry-level Elise — although less expensive versions are expected.

Lotus is stressing the relative ease of entering and exiting the future Elise, the current model being notorious for demanding muscle-mashing acrobatic maneuvers to get into and out of. It looks very much like a smaller version of the automaker's new Esprit from a front three-quarters angle, with its inverted trapezoidal grille, flanking air intakes and hooped roof line.

The interior is a vastly more sophisticated design than the current car provides, but it retains the same spare quality. The most dramatic feature is a longitudinal spar floating over the center console, which carries the gearchange, ventilation outlets and minor switchgear including ESP settings.

Carbon fiber is used extensively throughout the cabin. The pod-shaped instrument binnacle contains graphic rendering of race circuits for track-day use, with readouts for lap times. The instruments include a digital speedometer and an analog tach, while a Ferrari-style LED progressive gearshift change-up display appears at the top of the wheel rim. The concept features cameras instead of door mirrors, but these are unlikely to make production.

Lotus is claiming a 4.3-second sprint time to 62 mph for this high-end version of the new Elise, which revs to 7,800 rpm. No top speed was provided. According to Lotus CEO Dany Bahar, "The Elise 2015 will also be class-leading in terms of performance and efficiency, but it will do more than that — it will take the Elise model to the forefront of its class across the board."

This Elise is one of no fewer than five new models revealed by Lotus at the Paris show in a product offensive almost certainly unprecedented in the sports-car world. Although Lotus has new management and fresh funding, it faces a mighty challenge bringing all these models to market. It will be aided by its recently strengthened relationship with Toyota as an engine supplier, but it will face considerable challenges bringing all this new range to market at the required quality level.

Edmunds.com says: The new Elise is critical to Lotus' fresh strategy as the model with the strongest connection to the current range and the company's existing owner body. — Richard Bremner, Correspondent

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