We've got the first scoop shots of Hethel's new £45k GT
8 November 2007

You’re looking at the first pictures of Lotus’ new £45,000 GT model. Codenamed ‘Eagle’, the four-seat mid-sized coupe is the company’s most important model since the original Elise, and our spies caught it out in the open for the first time earlier this week.Don’t be deceived by the familiar styling. This Eagle test mule is wearing old Esprit body panels to disguise its origin. Powered by a mid-mounted Toyota V6 thought to be developing around 300bhp, the car’s body structure is based on a stretched version of the Elise’s aluminium monocoque, with an extra row of seats squeezed into the rear.Company boss Mike Kimberley has brought production of the new car forward because he feels this new coupe is vital to Lotus’ rejuvenation. Sales will begin early in 2009, when the ‘Eagle’ will cost a Porsche Cayman S-rivalling £45,000 to £48,000. The Eagle will be available with a semi automatic paddle-shift gearbox – something that Lotus had previously ruled out offering on any of its cars. “That’s what buyers want in the US and Japan,” says Kimberley. Eventually there’ll be seven versions of the Eagle, including a convertible, and it’s widely believed that the new model will make the unpopular Europa obselete in Britain. The Europa may then be hived-off to a Chinese manufacturer. After the Eagle is launched, Lotus will focus on its lower-volume, range-crowning supercar, a successor for the Esprit, due in 2010. While details on the Eagle’s looks remain a closely guarded secret, hence the old Esprit-bodied mule, inside sources suggest it may share similar styling with the M250 concept we saw back in 2000. Concerns have been raised over how Lotus will package a mid-engined 2+2 layout while maintaining sleek and elegant proportions. The M250 was originally canned after being deemed too expensive to engineer in this way.

Will Powell

Join the debate

Comments
1

8 November 2007

The registry check out as a 2004 Lotus Esprit, with a 4.4L displacement. The Esprit never had anything that big, and there is no Toyota V6 that is that big. There is a GM unit which matches those numbers, as well as a BMW V8, which was the rumored powerplant for the Esprit successor before Mike Kimberly called it a tractor engine.

The registry numbers don't coincide with any other Lotus test car seen yet. Other than the info gotten at the Hethel anniversary weekend, there isn't much to show this as the Project Eagle at all.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK