By on August 17, 2018

lotus logo

TTAC Commentator arach writes:

Sajeev,

I need some car buying advice, and I’m not like one of those lame buyers who ask if they should buy a Honda or a Toyota, so you should definitely give me your 30 seconds of direction. (Fine, maybe this isn’t pointless. – SM)   (Read More…)

By on May 9, 2018

Lotus Esprit S1 1977

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?  (Read More…)

By on January 31, 2018

Evora 410

Lotus is an iconic automaker but, unfortunately, it hasn’t been a profitable one for years.* China’s Geely, which purchased a 51-percent stake in the brand last year, hopes to change that by investing “millions” into its production facilities. With the last factory revamp happening in 2009 to prepare for the Evora, that’s welcome news for Lotus. It also means new models are on the way.

Chief executive Jean-Marc Gales, a man who clearly enjoys his company’s cars, recently said that two new performance vehicles will arrive in 2020 — followed by an (apparently mandatory) sport utility vehicle. While we’re not enthralled by Lotus entering into the already bloated premium crossover segment, we’re hoping it’s willing to provide something different. Gales mentioned the model entering development a little over a year ago, saying “no one makes a lightweight, good-handling SUV. It’s a niche, and it looks well positioned.” (Read More…)

By on December 3, 2017

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There has been some gentle complaining among select individuals that Chinese ownership will somehow taint the purity of the Lotus brand — a strange accusation considering the brand was operating under the Malaysia-based Proton Holdings since 1997 long before being bought by Geely Automotive earlier this year.

Sure, it might not be the Lotus of yesterday but the company’s new Chinese overwatch has said it still has big plans for the brand. Based on its handling of London Taxi and Volvo, we haven’t been overly concerned. But we have been hoping the parent company would elaborate on what that might entail.  (Read More…)

By on July 21, 2017

lotus evora gt430

With the Evora getting on in years and Lotus Cars under new ownership thanks to China’s Geely, it’s just a matter of time before the swift little sports coupe is replaced with something fresh and exciting. That means it’s time for the automaker to roll out special editions of its old models. However, it could be argued the company’s low production volume makes every Lotus Evora special — thus making the new GT430 variant extra special, as its assembly tops off at 60 vehicles.

Like the Evora 400 and Sport 410, the GT’s numeric moniker denotes its horsepower rating of 430 claimed units. The manufacturer states the GT430 uses the same Toyota-sourced 3.5-liter supercharged V6, but with vastly improved cooling. While 20 prancing ponies doesn’t sound like a game changer, the upgraded Lotus is about 300 pounds lighter than the Evora 400 and 57 pounds less than the 410 — all due to a svelte suspension and plenty of carbon fiber.  (Read More…)

By on June 26, 2017

2016 Lotus Evora 400

Iconic British sportscar manufacturer Lotus may find a portion of its future production shifted to China under the ownership of its new parent company, Geely. Chinese billionaire and Geely chairman Li Shufu confirmed the possibility of some assembly taking place outside the United Kingdom during a press conference following the signing of the deal.

While this could stir outrage in some traditionalists, the Chinese company hasn’t mucked up things with Volvo yet and appears willing to apply a similar hands-off approach to the management of Lotus Cars.  (Read More…)

By on August 5, 2016

Lotus Evora 400, Image: © 2016 Jack Baruth/The Truth About Cars

If you want to truly understand how the sausage of “automotive journalism” is made, there are two articles that you absolutely must read. The first is fun: it’s by Neal Pollack and it talks about the outrageous excesses of Mercedes PR’s “Pied Piper.” The second is long and occasionally tedious: it’s called “Taking Readers For A Ride” and it was written for American Journalism Review by a fellow named Frank Greve with material assistance from … yours truly.

Most people know by now that the majority of new-car press introductions are absurdly sybaritic affairs, featuring five-star hotels, unlimited room service, outrageous gifts, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Why does Subaru have to introduce the XV Crosstrek in Iceland? The simple answer is that they didn’t … but they knew that the broke-ass journalists who used the trip as a vacation (and, in at least one case, a hookup) would treasure the trip for the rest of their lives.

This sort of thing distorts autowriting to a degree that is borderline insane. But if you listen to the PR people and their apologists in the media, they will tell you that there is just no other way to do it. Wrong answer. It’s possible to do a press intro on the cheap — and it’s also possible to make that intro the best one of all time.

(Read More…)

By on September 24, 2014

1024px-LotusEvora-front

Reports of the demise of Lotus in America have been greatly exaggerated. Lotus will revive the Evora for a 2016 model year run, complete with up-to-spec airbags, while dealers will be held over by whatever remaining inventory is left from the 2014 model year (or earlier).

(Read More…)

By on September 23, 2014

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Back in 2013, Jack Baruth conducted a road test of the Lotus Evora IPS (that’s Lotus speak for automatic), comparing it to the standard bearer of 2+2 sports cars, the Porsche 911. Much to the consternation of the Porsche PR department, Baruth’s verdict was in favor of the Evora:

Even with a less-than-perfect automatic, the Lotus still wins. The 911 PDK is a great two-pedal car, but the Evora IPS is simply a great car, with or without a third pedal.

The Evora died an ignominious death at the hands of regulatory and market forces. Sports cars have never been quicker, more efficient, more reliable or easier to own and operate. The Lotus Evora is a casualty of such progress.

(Read More…)

By on September 27, 2013

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When it was first introduced, what we know today as the Ferrari Dino was a bit of a conundrum. Simultaneously a tribute to Alfredo “Dino” Ferrari, Enzo Ferrari’s beloved deceased son, the first roadgoing midengine car from Ferrari, and an attempt to amortize costs between Ferrari and Fiat, which had bought the sports car maker in 1969, the Dino was also the first non-V12 powered car made by Ferrari and in fact it was not originally sold as a Ferrari. Dino was supposed to be a new marque for six and eight cylinder cars from the company, at a lower price point than Ferrari branded cars. That idea went away after the Dino 308 models, but the notion that the Dino was not quite a Ferrari sort of stuck to the car when it first came out. That the Dino had a DOHC V6 engine, designed by Ferrari to compete in Formula 2 but originally built in a Fiat factory to homologate it and shared with the Fiat Dino, a completely different car with, confusingly, the same name, didn’t help matters. Dinos from Ferrari weren’t cheap, about $13,000-$14,000 when new four decades ago, thousands more than a Porsche 911, and if my memory serves me well, they languished on the dealer lots and then stagnated in price once out of production. In the late 1970s, I’m pretty sure you could get them for used car money. At least at first.

Today Dinos are welcome at any Ferrari meet and it could cost you the price of a new Ferrari California to buy a 1973 Dino 246. Hagerty Insurance’s price guide says that the average price of a 40 year old Dino 246 is $172,000.

I’m not here to talk about the Ferrari Dino, though. (Read More…)

By on April 25, 2012

Despite all the righteous indignation regarding Lotus and their legendary outburst – which I still maintain is a brilliant PR stunt to get their message out and subvert the armchair-racer blogger cartel – it appears that the British sportscar shop has made a real world class sports car under the leadership of Dany Bahar, the supposed Antichrist for “real enthusiasts of the marque”. The kind who may be able to buy an Isuzu Impulse with Handling By Lotus.

(Read More…)

By on March 27, 2012

A year ago, I penned a passionate defense of the new direction that was being taken by Lotus. In the piece, I chastised enthusiasts for their armchair criticism of Lotus management and their resistance to bringing out new vehicle to replace the nearly two decade old Elise (which would hit that mark by the time a replacement rolled around in 2015) and their lack of faith in the stewardship of CEO Dany Bahar, the man who helped Luca di Montezemolo turn Ferrari around. Now it looks like I’ll have to retract those words and admit I was wrong.

(Read More…)

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