CEO Phil Popham, a former Jaguar-Land Rover and Sunseeker yacht executive, said the car will not usher in a new platform in an interview with told Autocar published Friday. The next Elise, Exige, and Evora have that honor. Instead, this sports car will ride on a heavily updated Lotus architecture that will focus on practicality and ergonomics. Most importantly, it will be the first new car from Lotus under Chinese owner Geely. A Toyota engine should also power the sports car as that partnership continues unchanged for now. Popham added it will drive like a Lotus and focus on lightweight materials.
Clive Chapman’s 2018 Lotus Evora GT410 Sport
Popham made it clear that Geely has high hopes (and likely expectations) as it sinks “billions” of dollars into the brand.
Geely’s real influence on Lotus likely won’t become clear until next decade when new models arrive on a new platform, and the CEO said the new sports car will be somewhat of stepping stone. He said there’s this new sports car, then everything else will arrive on a new architecture that is just now under development. Popham said to not expect new cars based on it for about three or four years after work on the platform has been completed. He provided no timeframe for the architecture, but he suggested it may not be bonded aluminum if engineers find a better option.
Looking further into the future, Popham added he could see Lotus expanding into a number of segments. He used Porsche as a guiding example. The German luxury marque sells SUVs and a hatchback sedan now alongside its high-performance sports cars. SUVs are the most likely start for Lotus, though. A low-production electric hypercar has also been rumored. The company hasn’t confirmed or denied such a car‘s existence so far.
Lotus 3-Eleven 430
Speaking of electrification, eventually all Lotus models will incorporate it. Popham admitted no decision has been made on what kind of system the cars will use, and the current focus is on renewing the brand’s core sports cars first and foremost. Crucially, the CEO doesn’t want to raise the price of entry much higher than current Lotus models.