Lotus: Classic British-Style Speed
Lotus Cars was founded after WWII by Colin Chapman, an automotive engineer who wanted England to have an F1 team which could compete with Italian and German racing groups. Since its inception Lotus has had a dual focus on both racing and street legal cars, doing everything possible to produce the fastest in both. Sticking largely to high-end “hypercars,” Lotus is still considered to be one of the premiere manufacturers of sports cars in the world.
The Lotus car has a somewhat checkered past, since these cars are constructed largely for racing and thus lack the reliability and comfort of general consumer vehicles. However, in recent years, an effort has been made to correct this. The Lotus Elise was released in 1996 to critical acclaim. Comfortable while still being fast and powerful, the Lotus Elise was the result of a careful re-approach to design and engineering to improve reliability and longevity. The Lotus Elise was also later “recycled” by Tesla Motors, where it became the Tesla Roadster, the world’s first electric sports car.
5 remarkable things about Lotus
- It is the 2nd most successful company in terms of F1 racing, second only to Ferrari.
- Lotus Cars is the only auto manufacturer to repeatedly exit and re-enter F1 racing while maintaining a winning record.
- Due to its multiple entries and exits, there are currently multiple “Lotus Cars” teams, each one driving a different Lotus F1 car.
- Lotus Cars also competes in the 24 Hours of LeMans each year.
- Though located in England, they are owned by the Malaysian auto company Proton.
Lotus Famous Models
The successor to the Lotus Elise was the Lotus Exige, a highly tuned and powerful version which recycled much of the interior, layout and engineering in order to capitalize on the successful design. Available with up to 220 horsepower, the Lotus Exige offers a power to weight ratio similar to that of expensive Italian super cars, while costing only about $50,000. Its distinctive rear spoiler and turbocharged engine make the Lotus Exige very popular among street racers, where it is less expensive and more powerful than its German and Japanese competitors.
The Lotus Evora is its first 2+2 Lotus car model in many years, providing a small back seat suitable for children, animals or luggage. Intended to be slightly more practical, the Lotus Evora nonetheless still packs a lot of power, with 276 raging horses sitting under the hood. Capable of reaching 60 mph in under five seconds, the Lotus Evora is almost as quick as the Lotus Exige, while being larger, heavier and containing more cargo space. This makes it more practical as an everyday car, although it is still very popular among street racers because of its speed and handling.