Hang in there, Lotus fans. New CEO Jean-Marc Gales knows things have been tough for you lately, but he says some pretty badass things are in the pipeline. Things like a dramatically revised Lotus Evora for 2016 and what he claims will be the fastest track cars around.
That's the thrust of an optimistic (to put it kindly) interview Gales gave to Car and Driver. He's tasked with bringing the famed sports car company back from the brink, and it clearly won't be easy, what with their heavy layoffs and having to drop the Evora from the U.S. market in 2015 for safety regulation reasons.
But Gales says that Lotus is sticking with the Evora, Elise and Exige for the next few years, with the plan being to evolve the models they have rather than come up with new ones. He likens this evolution to what Porsche has done with the 911.
And when the Evora comes back in 2016, it won't just be the same car with new, regulation-meeting smart airbags. Instead it will be significantly revised:
"We are staying with the existing Evora but making it better," Gales says. "We made it better by making it faster; secondly, there were practical things that were on the list of improvements, like making it easier to get in and out of the car. Thirdly, we have an interior that looks different to the current interior, that has been changed in most parts."
[...] "The major trends in car design are aluminum, lightweight, and efficiency," Gales said. "The Evora has a lot of life left in it, and we are actively thinking about getting derivatives from that platform—body derivatives, variants that we can do, models that will come to the market in the next two to three years."
C&D seems to think that could mean an Evora Roadster, which would fill the roofless gap in their lineup. And as he's said previously, Gales once again confirmed that Lotus will stick with Toyota engines, but they'll probably be tuned for even more power than their current 350 horsepower maximums:
Gales is happy to go on record saying that future Lotus models will be able to match brawnier rivals. "There will be nothing faster on-track than these cars—and nothing more fun."
Big talk. I really hope the cars can live up to it. It kind of has to, because getting more investment from parent company Proton means this strategy has to work, and meet their goal of selling 3,000 cars globally each year.
Check out the full interview at Car and Driver for more, including some juicy tidbits on the concepts from the failed Dany Bahar era five years ago.