It’s always a little sad when automakers discontinue longtime nameplates, but it’s especially disappointing when it’s iconic and beloved models. Lotus just announced that it killed three of its iconic supercars: the Elise, Exige, and Evora.
Death of the Lotus Elise
The end of production for the Elise, Exige, and Evora is significant, for these supercars “helped transform” Lotus, as detailed by The Drive. The Elise is the oldest of the three models, as it made its debut in 1996. It was an instant success, for supercar fans loved its excellent handling and lightweight chassis. Colin Chapman, the founder of Lotus, had the saying of “Simplify, then add lightness.” With its stripped-out body, the Elise perfectly adhered to this mantra. Also, Tesla utilized the Elise chassis in the original Roadster model.
Discontinuation of the Lotus Exige
The Lotus Exige followed the Elise with a 2000 debut. Compared to the Elise, the Exige is more of a “hard-core, track-focused” supercar. Later, Lotus added a Toyota engine to the Exige, which further elevated the supercar’s performance. Over the years, Lotus offered special edition models of the Exige, along with variants with superchargers and V6 engines. By the time of its discontinuation, the Exige earned a much-deserved reputation for phenomenal performance.
The day the Lotus Evora died
The Lotus Evora debuted in 2009. It forms the final piece of the trifecta of discontinued Lotus supercar models. The Evora combines the lightweight design and high-level performance of other Lotus supercars, but provides greater comfort, making it a good choice for a grand touring car. In the ensuing years, Lotus boosted the speed and acceleration of the Evora. Also, with an emphasis on a more comfortable ride, the Evora attracted a new set of drivers who found the Elise and Exige to be too small and track-focused.
Lotus Emira, Evija, and Type 132 replace the discontinued Elise, Exige, and Evora
Over the past 26 years, Lotus produced 51,738 units of the Elise, Exige, and Evora. While that production total is small in comparison to mainstream automakers, for a tiny automaker like Lotus, that’s a very high number. In the 73-year history of Lotus, the production total for these three supercars account for nearly half of the British automaker’s production total.
With the discontinuation of the Elise, Exige, and Evora, what models will replace them in the Lotus lineup? Lotus now switches the production to the new Emira, which is the automaker’s last gas-powered car. Also, Lotus will soon release the electric Evija hypercar, the most powerful production car in the world.
Additionally, in Spring 2022, Lotus will release the all-electric Type 132, the first SUV ever from the British automaker. The Type 132 could be an important turning point for Lotus, for it marks a shift away from its pure supercar emphasis. Like Porsche with the Cayenne SUV, Lotus likely recognizes the need to produce an SUV so that the company can be financially sustainable.
While Lotus is a tiny automaker, the Elise, Exige, and Evora are beloved by supercar enthusiasts around the world. It’s a sad day for these iconic cars. However, the discontinuation of these models is likely a financial necessity, as Lotus makes a shift toward electric vehicles and its first-ever SUV model.