“Simplify, then add lightness”. This is the principle that Lotus founder Colin Chapman wanted to be exemplified in the brand’s sports cars. This ethos remains the silver thread running through the modern Lotus sports car lineup. The British sports car manufacturer has a long history of producing elegant, delicate, and exclusive vehicles that are efficient, lightweight, and known for superb handling. Enthusiasts recognize Lotus sports car models for unique design and construction that promotes excellent straight-line acceleration and sharp handing. And, while prices for these beautiful pieces of machinery are quite high, so too is the level of driver engagement that comes from piloting one.
The Lotus Sports Car Range
There are only a handful of models in the range currently, though even the older models that have been discontinued still retain their value and are seen as collector’s items amongst true gearheads. The current lineup in the US comprises only a few models, with a brand new variant in the cards and due for debut in 2022. While they are not all that common on the roads in the USA, you may spot any one of the following, if you’re lucky:
- Evora: Currently the only new Lotus model sold Stateside, the Evora is the first to deviate from the standard platform that’s been in usage since 1995. The Evora 400 was launched in 2017 with a lightweight aluminum body and a large-displacement V6. Outputs are 400 horsepower and 302 lb-ft and a 0-60 mph sprint in only 4.2 seconds. Lotus offered the updated variant in the form of the 2021 Lotus Evora GT. With a lower curb weight, more power, and increased downforce at top speed, the GT produces 416 hp and 317 lb-ft and makes the benchmark sprint in only 3.8 seconds.
- Evija: The first British electric hypercar and the most powerful production road car ever built, the Evija has nearly 2,000 hp and 1,253 lb-ft generated from its two electric motors and 2,000 kW battery. The hypercar can accelerate to 62 mph in under three seconds from off-the-line and reaches a top speed of 200 mph. Thanks to its carbon fiber construction, the Evija weighs in at only 3,703 pounds. Production is set to begin in mid-2021. So how much does the limited-run hypercar cost? A cool $2.2 million after a $311,000 deposit, and only 130 will be made.
- Elise: The Elise was last sold as new in the States a few years ago, but it has been around for more than 25 years and has earned its place in the history books as an icon. The older model Elise featured a carbon fiber body shell, a 1.8-liter supercharged inline-four Toyota-derived engine and six-speed manual gearbox combination. It wasn’t particularly fast, but it offered something special: a traditional rear-wheel-drive setup provided purist handling dynamics.
- Exige: Also ceasing production in the US in 2011, the Exige is an old model worth noting. Featuring the same four-cylinder powertrain as the Elise, the Exige had very few characteristics that made it practical, comfortable, or befitting of the word ‘luxury’ - but that’s all right, since the focus was on power and handling, to begin with.
- Emira: Serving as a successor to the Elise, the Emira debuted recently as the automaker’s final combustion-engined model. It comes with a choice between a 2.0-liter turbo-four courtesy of AMG or a 3.5-liter supercharged V6 as seen in the Exige and Evora. Outputs range from 360 hp to 400 hp, with a 0-62 mph time of under 4.5 seconds in its fastest guise. Top speed is set at 180 mph, but this isn’t just some barebones sports car - the interior boasts a 10.25-inch central touchscreen and 12.3-inch digital driver’s display, and full smartphone integration. It even comes with adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane change assist, and rear cross traffic alert.
New Lotus Models and Prices
||1.8L Inline-4 Gas
||3.5L Supercharged V6
||3.5L V6 Gas
||1.8L Inline-4 Gas
|Lotus Evora 400
||3.5L Supercharged V6 Gas
|Lotus Evora GT
||3.5L Supercharged V6 Gas
What To Consider Before Buying
If you’re looking to wrap your hands around the steering wheel of one of these speed demons, consider visiting the shopping section on the CarBuzz website. There, you can peruse the comprehensive reviews of all the new and used cars for sale in the USA. The comparison tool also allows for effortless side-by-side weighing of competitors and trim levels to give a better idea of where one can get the best value for their money across different brands, nameplates, and models. For now, here are just some of the advantages and disadvantages of the Lotus sports car line.
- Super sporty, gorgeous designs
- Exhilarating acceleration and handling dynamics
- Relatively fuel-efficient for the classification
- Race car-inspired interiors
- Plenty of customization options
- Cabins are cramped and very impractical
- Seats get uncomfortable over long distances
- Safety and reliability concerns due to lack of features
- Not all Lotus models are available in the US
What is the starting price of the Lotus Elise sports car?
While the price of some Lotus cars can be rather daunting, others are far more accessible. Originally released in 2011, the Elise had a starting price of around $50k, but buying one second-hand should drop a few grand off the final figure.
What is the Evora GT’s fuel economy like?
With the automatic transmission in play, the GT should return 17/24/20 mpg city/highway/combined, which is relatively good for a sports car. The manual gearbox performs slightly more efficiently, improving those figures to 17/26/20 mpg on the same cycles. This can help offset the relatively high cost of a Lotus.
What year did the Evija debut?
Lotus introduced the Lotus Evija in 2020, but production is only scheduled to start in the first half of 2021. The newest Lotus is only being produced in limited numbers.