Soft-top sports car will follow supercharged variant; here by 2012
7 May 2009

Lotus will convert its new 2+2 Evora into a strict two-seater for its convertible version, due within the next three years.

The Hethel firm is gearing up for the launch of the regular Evora, but it already has plans to extend the range through transmission, engine and roof options by 2012.

Read Steve Cropley's first drive of the Lotus Evora

The first range extension will come with a Lotus-developed paddle-shift transmission, due within the next year. This unit is essential if the Evora is to prove competitive against all variants of its chief rival, the Porsche Cayman.

In two years' time, Lotus is planning to launch supercharged versions of the Evora. At least two different states of tune will be available, but the top-spec model could have more than 350bhp on tap. Lotus is also said to be lining up motorsport-based versions of the car, in a similar fashion to the hardcore Exiges currently on sale.

The drop-top Evora is due by the end of 2012 at the latest. Lotus has been battling hard to include the electric folding roof expected in this area of the market, without compromising on the firm's key values of light weight and chassis rigidity. To help achieve this goal, it will stow the roof away in the space currently used by the Evora's rear seats.

Steve Crijns, the man responsible for the Evora's exterior design, told Autocar, "The open-top will need to have a light roof. It's most likely going to be a soft-top as a hard-top system is very heavy and very complicated; that really doesn't belong in a sports car, and it's not a Lotus way of working.

"It's not going to be easy to fit the roof in," added Crijns. "It will have to go in front of the engine, where the rear seats are now. The rest of the car has been designed with the cabrio in mind; the doors, for instance, are styled so that they can accommodate the system without any changes."

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