Lotus Might Source Volvo's Twincharged Engines; Esprit Successor Coming in 2020

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
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lotus might source volvo s twincharged engines esprit successor coming in 2020

For Lotus, life has been good under Geely. The British automaker is finally turning a profit again and now has access to more resources by way of its Chinese parent company. Presently, the brand only offers the light-and-nimble Evora for sale in the United States. But its global fleet isn’t exactly huge, either.

However, the plan calls for Lotus to expand through the introduction of a crossover vehicle, an entirely new sports car, and a rumored successor to the Esprit. The CUV, nearing the final stages of development, should take advantage of the Geely-owned Volvo SPA architecture (which underpins the XC60, among others). Lotus is also expected to adopt powertains from its kindred companies, which could include electrified units from Polestar and Volvo’s twincharged applications.

It’s unlikely the brand will set any horsepower records, which is fine (as that isn’t Lotus’ style), but the new motors should do the trick. Besides, who wouldn’t want to brag that their sports car is turbocharged and supercharged?

Lotus boss Jean-Marc Gales anticipates the flagship coupe will arrive in 2020, according to a report from Autocar. He claims the vehicle will be lighter than the Evora, which sits at 3,179 lbs in its heaviest configuration, and decidedly more lavish. Basically a new Esprit, Gales said the car’s formula is “efficiency, aerodynamics, agility and braking working together in balance.”

Still, defeating the Evora GT430 in terms of performance and plushness will be a difficult task if Lotus also wants to keep the weight down. To best it, the new model should output similar numbers or better. Fortunately, Volvo already has motors that could do the job. The electrified, supercharged, and turbocharged T8 hybrid already makes 400 horsepower wedged inside the XC90. There’s an even burlier four-cylinder hybrid making its way into the Polestar 1, too. Both of these could be engineered to suit Lotus’ needs and deliver a vehicle that’s economical when it needs to be and raucous the rest of the time.

Gales said Lotus would probably adopt powertrains from other divisions within Geely, but intendeds to stick with Toyota-sourced units for the immediate future. The smallest of those is the 1.6-liter 1ZR-FAE residing in the base Elise, whereas the biggest is the 3.5-liter 2GR-FE V6 housed in the center of the aforementioned Evora GT430.

“Crossovers can be hybrid or full electric,” said Gales. “There are some years left for combustion engines in sports cars, but maybe a mild hybrid would work.” The only downside we see with electrification is weight. If Lotus wants to keep its vehicles light, adding a battery pack isn’t the way to go. So, a mild-hybrid system may be as deep as the company is willing to dive into electrification for vehicles that need to keep a trimmer waist.

The CEO did say Lotus is open to using fully electric powertrains once the technology evolves.

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

Consumer advocate tracking industry trends, regulation, and the bitter-sweet nature of modern automotive tech. Research focused and gut driven.

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  • Willyam Willyam on May 10, 2018

    Why can I not stop looking at the porta-potty behind it? Age? Prostate?

    • WildcatMatt WildcatMatt on May 30, 2018

      The funny part about that is there's just enough of the port-a-potty visible that it also looks a little bit like a Police Box.

  • Kyree Kyree on May 10, 2018

    It'll be interesting to see if Lotus also adopts Volvo's electronics architecture. Unless the goal is true anachronism, a la Morgan, any premium car that's expected to sell in volume is going to need a modern electronics stack, and Lotus hasn't got the parentage or self-contained resources to just develop one. Plus, with Volvo, there's precedent. As we know, Aston Martin started Volvo's then-current electronics architecture around 2005 (as both companies were under Ford) with the Vantage, and only just stopped using it with the advent of the DB11 and new Vantage...which have Mercedes-AMG electronics and interfaces.

  • Ernesto Perez There's a line in the movie Armageddon where Bruce Willis says " is this the best idea NASA came up with?". Don't quote me. I'm asking is this the best idea NY came up with? What's next? Charging pedestrians to walk in certain parts of the city? Every year the price for everything gets more expensive and most of the services we pay for gets worse. Obviously more money is not the solution. What we need are better ideas, strategies and inventions. You want to charge drivers in the city - then put tolls on the free bridges like the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. There's always a better way or product. It's just the idiots on top think they know best.
  • Carsofchaos The bike lanes aren't even close to carrying "more than the car lanes replaced". You clearly don't drive in Midtown Manhattan on a daily like I do.
  • Carsofchaos The problem with congestion, dear friends, is not the cars per se. I drive into the city daily and the problem is this:Your average street in the area used to be 4 lanes. Now it is a bus lane, a bike lane (now you're down to two lanes), then you have delivery trucks double parking, along with the Uber and Lyft drivers also double parking. So your 4 lane avenue is now a 1.5 lane avenue. Do you now see the problem? Congestion pricing will fix none of these things....what it WILL do is fund persion plans.
  • FreedMike Many F150s I encounter are autonomously driven...and by that I mean they're driving themselves because the dips**ts at the wheel are paying attention to everything else but the road.
  • Tassos A "small car", TIM????????????This is the GLE. Have you even ever SEEN the huge thing at a dealer's??? NOT even the GLC,and Merc has TWO classes even SMALLER than the C (The A and the B, you guessed it? You must be a GENIUS!).THe E is a "MIDSIZED" crossover, NOT A SMALL ONE BY ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION, oh CLUELESS one.I AM SICK AND TIRED OF THE NONSENSE you post here every god damned day.And I BET you will never even CORRECT your NONSENSE, much less APOLOGIZE for your cluelessness and unprofessionalism.