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First Look: Lotus Elite

Hybrid muscle aims to move British brand from niche to mainstream.

by on Sep.21, 2010

Lotus enters the hybrid era with the Elite Concept.

The newly-expanded alliance between Toyota and Britain’s Lotus will make its debut at the Paris Motor Show, later this month.  And if all goes according to plan, Lotus CEO Dany Bahar is determined to transform the brand from a niche to a relatively mainstream player.

The Lotus Elite concept will serve as the British marque’s new flagship when it makes the transition from show car to production model in April 2013, the maker says.  Whether it will maintain the high-tech hybrid system remains to be seen, however.

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Paris Preview!

In concept form, the Lotus Elite uses a front-mid-mounted V8 linked to an epicyclic transmission that is linked to a pair of electric motors.  As with the gasoline-electric systems under development by competitors ranging from Porsche to Ferrari, the goal is to boost mileage, to meet future American CAFE standards, drive down CO2 emissions, to comply with tough new European regulations – and provide some added torque for even more aggressive performance.

The Lotus Elite concept initially brings to mind the design language of an Aston-Martin.

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