New Lotus Cars Abandon Tradition But Stay On Brand
For generations, Lotus has been all about microscopic sports cars that prioritize handling and engagement above all else. So much so that the founder Colin Chapman’s quote, “Simplify, then add lightness” has become something of a meme. But new Lotus cars don’t look anything like the Elise and Evora we know and love. Does that mean the end of the Lotus brand as we know it? Not so fast.
The new Lotus car has four doors and world-beating handling
Making a heavy car that handles well isn’t impossible. The Porsche Macan has been the crossover of choice for discerning drivers over the past decade. And models like the BMW M5 and Mercedes-AMG GT prove that weight doesn’t have to make for a lumbering drive.
But those brands have offered a variety of luxurious GT cars for generations. Lotus has exclusively focused on rocket-powered roller skates since the Elan. For modern cars, the Elise, Exige, and Evora are all ultra-compact coupes with the handling of a go-kart.
A four-door GT car? Not exactly the forte of modern Lotus. As such, the Lotus Emeya arrives as a bit of a wild card from the British automaker. But this new Lotus car offers a 2.7-second sprint to 60 mph thanks to a two-speed transmission and 905-horsepower electric powertrain. So quickness isn’t in doubt. As for the weight and handling, active aerodynamics and torque vectoring create the kind of nimble handling Lotus is famous for.
It may not be as engaging or visceral as an Evora. It would be all but impossible given the serenity of an electric powertrain. But Lotus hasn’t abandoned tradition in light of electrification. Instead, it found a new way to make a corner-carving sports car, even with four doors and a two-ton curb weight.
Can a Lotus SUV live up to the Lotus ethic?
Even more sacrilegious to longtime Lotus lovers is the Eletre. A four-door GT car is one thing, but an electric crossover? That’s about as big a departure from the Lotus Elise experience as you could imagine. But new Lotus cars have to keep up with a changing landscape, and an EV crossover is, for better or worse, the vehicle du jour these days.
It’s a paradigm shift, for sure, but the Eletre doesn’t completely abandon the Lotus ethic. Electronic dampers and torque vectoring provide a competent handling platform for this beefy electric crossover. The one thing you won’t find is engagement.
Instead, the Eletre comes with sound deadening for an isolated experience. The steering, however, is typically Lotus. An electrically assisted hydraulic system offers better feedback than most modern sports cars (Looking at you, BMW) while keeping things light and direct enough to be predictable.
New Lotus cars usher in a new era
There’s no denying that the legendary Lotus ethic is likely gone for good. With the Chinese automotive conglomerate, Geely, buying in, Lotus is no longer a group of engineers in a shed putting out just enough sports cars to keep the CNC machines running.
Lotus is headed mainstream, and that means cars like the Elise and Evora are going the way of the dodo. It seems, though, that some of that DNA is sticking around. And if any brand can make an engaging EV, it’s Lotus.