New Lotus unveiled!

Time 8:14 am, July 16, 2008

project_eagle_front_3qtrs_o.jpgTHIS is the new Lotus – the world’s only mid-engined 2+2, which will be officially unveiled at the British Motor Show.

‘Project Eagle’ is the first all-new Lotus in over a decade, and will be powered by a 3.5-litre V6 engine.

Producing 276bhp, Lotus reckons the Toyota-sourced engine will give a 160mph top speed, and a 60mph run in less than 5 seconds. Not to mention a fast time around the Nurburgring – where the lightweight, aluminium-and-composites car is right now undergoing extensive development.

Stability control is, fortunately, standard: not only is a convertible planned for the future, but Lotus also speaks of a ‘high performance version’.

The first of three all-new models coming with in the next five years, the in-house-designed new Lotus looks pretty good to our eyes, with crisp lines, a cab-forward stance and cool fighter jet-style glass area. Visually, it’s a Lotus, but a grown up one, helping it appeal more to Cayman buyers who want a bit of edge.

With wings and ground-effect venturis, aerodynamics have also clearly been a major consideration in the design.

We’ve yet to see the cabin, but Lotus tells us it will use flowing, fast-moving surfaces, high tactility and a ‘unique, British handcrafted ambience that is unique in this price segment’.

It will also have, courtesy of Alpine, hi-tech sat nav and ICE. A removable hard drive means you can program the sat nav from your living room, there’s Bluetooth, iPod and a reversing camera available… the car even features ‘noise-cancelling’ sound enhancement.

This counters the echoes from window glass and compensates for the noise absorbed by carpets.

As for accommodation, the 2+2 layout means children will be fine in the back, says Lotus: the seats even have ISOFIX fittings. The boot will swallow golf clubs and is air-cooled, to reduce heat soak from the engine.

Deliveries will start next spring, with a view to producing 2000 a year. Prices have yet to be announced (but expect them to be Cayman-level, we reckon: circa £40k). And the official name? You’ll need to wait until the day of the Motor Show to discover that…

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