Lotus to produce Roger Becker special edition Elise and Exige

June 22nd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

With the exception of founder Colin Chapman, there is probably no other individual that’s been as influential at Lotus than Roger Becker. Until his retirement earlier this year, Becker spent 44 years at the niche carmaker, including many years pulling the strings as the director of vehicle engineering. Cars like the Elise, Exige and Evora would not have been built the way they were without Becker’s guidance and input.

Coinciding with Becker’s retirement in 2010 is the end of production for the current generation supercharged Elise and Exige for the European market. The premature shut-down of these models is caused by the Toyota four-cylinder engines used no longer meet Euro 5 emissions standards. To celebrate the end of these models, Lotus will close out the run with the Elise SC and Exige S RGB Editions. The Elise gets a 217 horsepower engine while the Exige gets the 257 hp powerplant from the S260.

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Lotus to kill off the Europa

June 1st, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
Lotus has made the call to start winding down production of its Europa model. According to recent reports, Lotus dealers in Europe have already stopped taking orders for the car, which means Europa production will end later this year.

Now that Lotus has the Evora, launched last year, it can put an end to the Elise-based Europa which was always a bridge between the Elise and the Evora and never sold in massive numbers.

The Europa was introduced in 2006 and came with a 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder with 200 bhp (149 kW) and 270 Nm (200 lb-ft) of torque. The top-spec SE came in 2008 and featured 220 bhp with the same amount of torque.

Many believe the Europa was a temporary measure for Lotus, meant to fill a gap in the marketplace before the introduction of the Evora, while stimulating the Elise production line. Whatever the case, the Europa never generated a following from buyers and badge fans and failed to be a significant success.

In-car BMW E36 M3 crash at Assen

December 19th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Crash of the first Race Supersports2 and Sports Division Assen Finalraces. Barenbrug collides with spinning Red Motorsport Lotus Roos/ Schawohl, Oesting can’t avoid collision.

16th to 1st in one lap: Lotus Elise racing

December 19th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Bathurst support race – the Lotus Trophy. Dean Evans at the wheel goes from 16th to 1st in one lap in close racing

Lotus Evora chassis on sale to other automakers

October 30th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Lotus Evora eagle f

Back in the Nineties, after Lotus introduced its original Elise, the company made it known that its new sportscar platform had been designed to be easily adapted to different applications and could accommodate different powertrains. Companies that were interested in the platform and wanted to use their own powertrains were welcome to contract with Lotus for use of the Elise’s underpinnings. Over the years, it spawned race cars, concept cars and the production of the Opel GT, Vauxhall VX220, and the Tesla Roadster.

Now that Lotus finally has its first all-new car in 14 years and several hundred Evoras have already been delivered to customers, the same offer is again on the table. This time around the Lotus Engineering team even have the Evora chassis ready to carry an electric powertrain.

The versatile architecture is made largely from aluminum extrusions which can be trimmed off in different sizes, allowing the chassis to be adjusted for length and width as required. Presently, no company has adopted the Evora’s architecture. However, given Tesla’s success in using the older Elise as a starting point and the more accommodating size of the Evora — it should be even more attractive to future customers.

Hertz now offering Lotus Elise rentals in Italy

July 13th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Hertz Lotus Elise

Any car enthusiast who has visited Italy would have noticed the tight, sinuous roads that wind their way through the countryside and dreamed of unleashing a sportscar on them. But until now the fastest set of wheels available at the airport rental counter was a Fiat Punto. A vehicle unworthy of the roads and the scenic countryside.

Rental car company Hertz has finally done something about this injustice and announced that a posse of Lotus Elise SCs have been added to its Italian fleet. The new Lotuses form part of Hertz Italiana’s Fun Collection, and are all painted bright yellow and feature Hertz-branded interior trim.

Hertz has offered the Corvette ZHZ and Shelby Mustang GT-H in the United States for some time now, but this is the first time such a sports car has been offered for rent in Europe by the company.

You’re dreaming if you think it will be cheap, but the Hertz Elise SCs are a convenient option for renting a proper sportscar to explore the country’s autostradas and narrow B-roads with. The biggest problem is figuring out how to fit two weeks worth of luggage into one.

Lotus Esprit successor may use Lexus power

May 28th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Lotus Evora eagle f

Lotus has very interesting times ahead as the company pushes on with its five-year plan to update its entire model range, including successors to the Elise and Esprit. Lotus has already debuted its new Evora, but rather than sitting still with this car, work on the new Elise and Esprit is already progressing at the company’s UK headquarters.

While the future Elise may be seen as early as 2011, of more interest is the flagship Esprit successor, which recent reports state could come with an optional V10 engine sourced from Lexus. While this is unconfirmed at this stage, Lotus CEO Mike Kimberley has revealed that the new car is being developed with “a very well respected prestige carmaker.”

Most people thought that BMW would supply one of its V8 engines for the new Esprit but Lotus’ close ties with Toyota, from which it already sources engines, could see advanced Lexus motors being used. The 500hp (373kW) V10 engine, which is set to debut in the Lexus LF-A supercar next year, would be a fit for the range-topping model. Other potential powerplants could be the IS-F’s 420hp (312kW) V8 and a 300hp (225kW) version of the 3.5L Toyota V6 from the Evora.

To keep costs down and speed up its development, the new Esprit will likely share its chassis with the aluminum unit underpinning the Evora. Rising development costs and changing requirements, have reportedly pushed back the original 2010 release date to 2012. So stay tuned for more updates on the new Esprit.

16th to 1st in one lap: Lotus Elise one-make racing (+video)

May 25th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

A great onboard view at Bathurst as Dean Evans carves his way through the field in the Lotus Elise support race. It’s the kind of lap you might see if you picked a Ferrari Enzo and chose a race full of Honda Civics in Gran Turismo. Evans brakes late, goes into the corner deep, and it seems like many of the other cars are gun shy, not wanting to break that carbon fibre box at the front of the Elise. Anyhow, it’s an exercise in excellent driving on one of the world’s iconic tracks.

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