Colin Chapman's principles will be applied to new model range

High performance models launched by Lotus will continue to be focused around lightweight construction, along the lines pioneered by company founder Colin Chapman, CEO Dany Bahar has confirmed.

Lotus’ five-year, five model plan is due to commence in 2013, when the new Esprit is launched. It will be unveiled at the Geneva motor show in March, before going on sale in Europe in the late summer.

See pictures of the new Lotus Esprit concept

The base model of the new supercar will be a hybrid, linking an electric motor producing around 100bhp to a Lotus-developed, normally aspirated V8 engine.

However, Bahar confirmed that a faster, hardcore version of each new car will be produced, and that they will be made faster than the standard model through engine and weight-saving measures.

“There will be no hybrid system, the engine will have more power, but the major performance gains will come from losing weight,” said Bahar. “The ‘Racing’ versions of each model will always be pure, driver’s cars. There will be never be anything unnecessary on them, and we will use materials such as carbonfibre.”

Bahar also confirmed that a Lotus-developed, electric or range-extended supermini will go on sale in late 2013, initially as a Proton and then as a Lotus. It will cost from £29,000.

“There’s no point building a car that chases sales from Audi, BMW or MIni,” said Bahar. “We have to do something that’s different, and better. We believe this is it.”

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