The current Lotus Elise (pictured above) may have received a refresh for 2010, but it hasn't gotten a full redesign since 2001. And it hasn't been available here in the US since 2011. Thankfully, Lotus is working on a new Elise for 2020 that it claims will meet US safety regulations with almost no weight gain over the European model. And by 2022, the entire Lotus lineup will be brand new.
In , Lotus CEO Jean Marc Gales again promised that the new Elise will be ready by 2020 and will weigh less than 2200 lbs. And once the Elise launches, a new Exige won't be far behind. Gales also said both cars will only gain negligible weight to make sure their crash structures meets U.S. regulations.
"We will make the Elise and Exige US-compliant, as we did for the Evora," Gales told Autocar. "The Evora has an 8kg [18 lb.] weight penalty for the US. With the Elise and Exige, the target is the same again. Crash tests are very important."
A new Evora will then join the lineup a few years later, most likely by 2022. And we may even see a new addition—a Lotus-branded SUV.
When the new cars do launch, they'll most likely be built on a shared modular platform to reduce costs. "Using big modules that are the same on all cars, such as the harnesses, lighting, infotainment and HVAC, would be a big step forward," Gales told Autocar. "We don't do that at present. In the future, we will do that across all three sports car lines."
But because Lotus sells so many different versions of its sports cars, a new platform has to be able to handle a wide range of power outputs. "The platform on which the future products are based will need to span 140-150 horsepower to 450 horsepower, so it needs to be a very good and solid platform and we know it," said Gales. It's likely that Lotus will continue to use Toyota-derived engines across its lineup, though the current 3.5-liter supercharged V6 could shrink to 3.0-liters and swap its blower for a turbocharger.
A 450-horsepower Lotus that's legal in the U.S.? Sounds just about perfect to us. Until then, we'll gladly settle for the brilliant Evora 410.