Lotus City Car
Lotus is planning to use rivet-bonded aluminium spaceframes and part-stressed aluminium skins on all five of the sports cars it revealed in Paris.
The move comes as it aims to raise its quality to the standards set by supercar makers Ferrari, Aston Martin and Lamborghini.
The firm’s dramatic revamp was unveiled in Paris, with celebrities such as Mickey Rourke and Naomi Campbell taking the covers off the Elite 2+2, the Esprit supercar, the Eterne saloon, a new mid-engined Elan and a new Elise.
Lotus engineering chief Wolf Zimmerman — a board director at AMG until a month ago — told Autocar that exterior finish and interior quality will improve dramatically as the firm moves upmarket.
Zimmerman also said the new city car concept, shown at Paris alongside the sports cars, will play a vital role in the company’s strategy. This is partly because it must lower its fleet-average CO2 figure, and also because Lotus envisages offering a high-end, urban commuter car along the same lines as the Aston Martin Cygnet.
Lotus faces a challenge in meeting its CO2 target, since its new, bigger, more powerful and heavier range will push its average up compared with today’s range, while the average for virtually every other car maker is falling.
Zimmerman also revealed that although the V6 and V8 engines will be Toyota-sourced, the Elise’s force-fed 2.0-litre engine will come from elsewhere.