Lotus has confirmed that it’s planning a convertible version of the new Evora just weeks after the sports car made its debut at the London motor show.

Marketing men at the British brand foresee an eight-year lifespan for the Evora, which is built alongside the Elise at Hethel in Norfolk.

A convertible version will be launched late in 2011 to boost the Evora’s appeal after three years on the market, and it’s hoped this open-top model will help Lotus maintain its sales target of 2000 units per year.

Like the Elise, the Evora’s body structure is versatile enough for other variants and even other models to be based around it. In fact, the suspension and chassis centre section will be used in the forthcoming V8-engined Esprit replacement, also scheduled for 2011.

In the shorter term, it seems likely that a more powerful version of the naturally aspirated Evora could arrive within two years, developing around 320bhp rather than the standard car’s 280bhp.

A hardcore S version also seems very likely, because the Evora’s 3.5-litre V6 engine has been cleverly packaged to leave room for a supercharger. This would be the range-topping model producing in excess of 400bhp and likely to offer Porsche 911 Turbo-rivalling levels of performance, with an estimated 0-60mph time under four seconds.