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Lotus Esprit

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About Lotus Esprit


The Lotus Esprit (es-pree) is a sports car that was built by Lotus in the United Kingdom between 1976 and 2004, as well as a future release in 2013. The silver Italdesign concept that eventually became the Esprit was unveiled at the Turin Motor Show in 1972 as a concept car, and was a development of a stretched Lotus Europa chassis. It was among the first of designer Giorgetto Giugiaro's polygonal "folded paper" designs. Originally, the name Kiwi was proposed, but in keeping with the Lotus tradition of having all car model names start with the letter "E", the name became Esprit.

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Lotus to layoff a quarter of its workforce

Thu, 18 Sep 2014 13:28:00 EST

Lotus has issued a press release to day, wherein it indicates that a "need to both reshape its organisation and to reduce costs" may result in the loss of "up to 325" jobs. That's a fairly significant number of layoffs for any company, but considering that Lotus currently employs 1,215 people (per the company's bio in the same release), it could mean a full 25-percent of the automaker's workers could soon be sharpening their resumes.
CEO Jean-Marc Gales says in the statement that Lotus has "worked very hard to avoid the need to make this proposal," but admits that it is now "essential" to the future of the company. The chief indicates that post-restructuring, he expects Lotus to be a "leaner" and "more competitive" organization, one which - and we can all see a little silver lining here - is focused on "producing class-leading sports cars and innovative engineering."
The 325-job number appears to be soft at this point, with the statement indicating that some negotiation about which and how many posts will be cut is yet to come. Further, the company may "redeploy" some employees, and may even recruit new blood for "key roles," all with an eye toward running the strongest possible team going forward. Though, we imagine that the recruitment bit won't fly well for those employees getting the sack.

Lotus confirms new Elise S Cup

Tue, 09 Sep 2014 08:45:00 EST

Head on over to the Lotus website, and though the Elise isn't offered in the United States anymore, buyers in other markets can choose between numerous models: there's the base Elise, the Elise Club Racer, the Elise S and the Elise S Club Racer, and that's before even getting into the even more extreme Exige that's also based on the Elise. Track-day enthusiasts can also go for the full-on Elise S Cup R, but now the British sportscar manufacturer has confirmed a new variant.
Called the Elise S Cup, it slots in between the CR and the Cup R as an extreme performance model that can actually be driven to the track and back home on public roads. The S designation tells us it packs the 1.8-liter supercharged four that already produces 217 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque in the existing Elise S, Elise S CR and Elise S Cup R, but as we saw when Lotus was testing the new variant around the Nürburgring, the Elise S Cup packs some key upgrades.
It's got an aero kit - including front splitter, winglets, side skirts, rear diffuser and rear wing - that's more aggressive than other road-going models (though apparently less extreme than the track-focused S Cup R), helping to generate 145 lbs of downforce at 100 mph and 275 lbs at top speed and besting the Elise S around the Lotus test track by an impressive three seconds.

eBay Find of the Day: 2000 Lotus 340R, claimed only street-legal example in US

Wed, 03 Sep 2014 19:01:00 EST

These days most of the news out of Lotus comes when it releases a lighter or faster version of the Elise, Exige or Evora. However, the stripped-out, Elise-based 340R might already show the logical conclusion of that concept, despite coming out in 2000. Now, one of the 340 made is up for auction on eBay Motors, and the seller in Fort Lauderdale, FL, claims that it's the only street-legal example available in the US.
Lotus founder Colin Chapman always had an obsession with making his vehicles as light as possible, and the 340R adhered to that adage about as closely as a street car could in 2000. These minimalist roadsters eschewed opening doors, windows and a roof in the pursuit of cutting the fat off the brand's hardly portly Elise. The company's engineers also trimmed away the fenders to give their creation a semi-open wheel design that looked as wild when new as today. For the interior, they installed two racing buckets, and the most of the rest was left in bare metal, including the pedals. All of the changes reportedly brought the 340R down to around 1,545 pounds.
Power comes from a 1.8-liter four-cylinder with a five-speed manual gearbox. The 340R is available with 177 horsepower or a tuned 187-hp version from that mill, but the seller doesn't specify which one this is. It's still a pretty fresh car, though, with just 3,577 miles claimed on the odometer.

Lotus said to be planning new sedan, crossover [w/poll]

Thu, 21 Aug 2014 11:00:00 EST

Lotus has been in limbo in recent years. After former CEO Dany Bahar revealed his plans to build six new models, its parent company was sold, Bahar was sacked, his plans were canceled and a new CEO was hired in the form of former Peugeot chief Jean-Marc Gales. The industry has been waiting ever since to find out what Gales would do with the storied marque, and now we seem to have some indication.
Reports coming in from Malaysia indicate that Jean-Marc presented to the board of parent company Proton a plan for Lotus to build a new sedan and crossover. Though details are scarce, and may seem downright blasphemous for an automaker that built is reputation on lightweight sports cars, it would not be the first time that the House that Colin Built has toyed with either idea.
The company presented the APX crossover concept at the 2006 Geneva Motor Show, and the Eterne sedan concept as part of Bahar's far-reaching plans at the 2010 Paris Motor Show. The new plans may use these concepts as starting points or could go another direction entirely.

Lotus spotted testing more extreme Elise on the Nordschleife

Tue, 19 Aug 2014 11:28:00 EST

If we had a nickel for every version of the Elise that Lotus has rolled out over the years, we might actually have enough spare change to buy one ourselves. And we're not even talking about the entire separate models (like the Exige and Europa) that Lotus has based on the Elise's platform or the other automakers' cars (like the Tesla Roadster and Hennessey Venom GT) that have used the same. And now Lotus appears to be testing another one.
Spotted lapping the Nürburgring, what we're looking at here appears to be the track-bound Elise S Cup R, but our intrepid paparazzi by the side of the track tell us it's missing the switches for the battery isolator and fire extinguisher. In their place, this Elise is wearing an even bigger rear wing as part of an altogether rather aggressive aero kit - not to mention a rockin' matte red wrap.
All of these telltales make us think Lotus has something extreme in the works, and we could find out what exactly it is as early as the Paris Motor Show in October, so stay tuned and watch this space.

The Stig bungees a Lotus F1 car in Durban

Mon, 18 Aug 2014 12:33:00 EST

Remember a couple of months ago when a mischievous Stig broke into the Lotus racing headquarters in Enstone and made off with an F1 car? Well, now we know where he went with it.
In this humorous clip from Top Gear, the tamed racing driver in the white suit disembarks with Pastor Maldonado's Lotus-Renault E22 (not the E21 he took from the team's headquarters, eagle-eye viewers might notice) in Durban, South Africa, and takes it to Moses Mabhida Stadium for the Top Gear Festival. After having some fun on a dirt bike, a chrome Mustang drift car and a few other curiosities, he hooks it up to a bungee cord and jumps off a tower behind the wheel.
Now we're not quite convinced they actually did this and that it wasn't all CGI, but it's still worth a watch and a laugh.

Lotus Exige V6 Cup takes extreme to the extreme

Mon, 14 Jul 2014 14:58:00 EST

What separates a road car from a race car? You're looking at it. It's the Lotus Exige V6 Cup, a model based on what is already one of the most hardcore performance machines on the road, albeit upgraded to an even harder-core spec. It's a good 130 pounds lighter than the Exige S (a vehicle which didn't have much flab to trim in the first place) and can hit 60 in under four seconds. With the notably exception of certain versions of the Porsche 911, there aren't a lot of six-cylinder cars that can claim that kind of performance.
In fact, the Exige V6 Cup is so close to race spec that it's already eligible for a number of racing series. Just bolt in the removable FIA-certified roll cage, maybe swap on some slick tires and you're good to go. Then you can drive it home again when you're done, just like in sports car racing's heyday. But don't take our word for it: the team over at XCar took the V6 Cup to the UK's Goodwood circuit to see how it compared to the Exige S it recently drove, and you can view the stirring results in the video below.

Lotus drops Renault for Mercedes F1 engines

Tue, 08 Jul 2014 08:57:00 EST

With only three manufacturers supplying engines in Formula One this season, the teams have been fairly evenly split: Ferrari, Sauber and Marussia use Ferrari engines; Mercedes, McLaren, Williams and Force India run on Mercedes power; Red Bull, Toro Rosso, Lotus and Caterham employ Renault power units. But one important team is reportedly preparing to ditch Renault and switch to Mercedes for next year.
That team is Lotus, an outfit which has fallen off its pace the past few seasons but which has still been a vital partner for Renault. That's because until a few seasons ago, the team based in Enstone, UK, was owned by Renault and bore the company's name. The operation was founded in 1981 as Toleman, was rechristened Benetton in 1986, bought by Renault 2000, taking the company's name in 2002, sold to its current owners Genii Capital 2009 and adopting the black and gold Lotus livery in 2011. As Benetton, it ran Ford engines until switching to Renault in 1995, sticking with the French outfit ever since, but that decades-long partnership - which meandered through Renault ownership and back out again - is now apparently drawing to a close.
The departure of Lotus as a customer team ought to allow Renault to focus instead on its increasing ties with Red Bull, which has taken the Enstone team's place as Renault's principal team. It could prove a smart move for the Lotus team as well, as the Mercedes engines have been outperforming the Renault units this season by an order of magnitude: not only is Mercedes far outpacing Red Bull at the top of the standings, but each of Mercedes' customer teams is performing better than Renault's clients.

Lotus recalls 2008-2011 Elise, Exige and 2011 Evora over fire fear

Mon, 07 Jul 2014 15:33:00 EST

Lotus is recalling 860 vehicles after discovering that the oil cooler hose could detach from its fitting. Should the hose separate, it could spray oil on one of the lightweight car's tires, giving new meaning to the phrase "sudden loss of grip." The other case is, believe or not, more dire, as the spraying oil could hit the engine and ignite. Of course, neither situation is desirable, hence the recall.
The vast majority of the affected vehicles (780 of the 860) are the 2008 to 2011 Elise and Exige, built between November 2007 and July 2011. Another 80 Evora S coupes from 2011, manufactured between September 2010 and September 2011, are also included in the recall.
All repairs will, naturally, be completed free of charge. In the Elise/Exige's case, that means replacing the hose fittings, while the affected Evoras will get a new hose assembly.

Elise Time Attack could be most extreme Lotus yet

Mon, 07 Jul 2014 09:29:00 EST

The Lotus Elise has given birth to some seriously fast and varied machinery. Aside from Lotus' own models like the Exige, 2-Eleven, 340R and Europa, electric vehicles like the Tesla Roadster, not to mention the never-released Dodge Circuit and Detroit Electric SP:01, are all based on the Elise's platform. As were/are the Melkus RS 2000, the Opel Speedster/Vauxhall VX220 and the Hennessey Venom GT. But this could be the most extreme use of the lightweight chassis yet.
This Series 1 Elise has been built by one performance-obsessed Brit with a single purpose: to compete in the UK's Time Attack championship. For those unfamiliar, Time Attack is something like a rally or a hillclimb event, only it takes place on a racing circuit. Each vehicle goes out on the track by itself and sets the best time it can, without needing to worry about other competitors until the finish line is crossed and it's the next racer's turn. That's what drove Lee to modify his Lotus so thoroughly, with more wings, diffusers, flaps and carbon fiber than a Boeing factory. Check it out in the video below.