Exciting new model rolls into production

Carmaker Group Lotus is set to embark on a new chapter after unveiling a new model.

The Lotus Elite is expected to hit the markets in spring 2014, with production beginning earlier that year, and is an attempt by the firm to create a “modern classic”.

But the Norfolk-based firm, which has operations across the globe, including Malaysia, the US and China, has declined to say where production will take place.

At 4.6 metres long and 1.9 metres wide, the Elite represents a move away from the company’s recent focus on smaller vehicles in an attempt to enter the more popular mid-range market.

But Lotus says the model will be lighter than most in its class, weighing in at 1,650kg, in accordance with its emphasis on lightweight technology.

The Elite will accelerate from nought to 100km/h (62 mph) in about 3.5 seconds, with a top speed of 315km/h (196mph), and will cost about �115,000.

As well as a V8, 5-litre petrol engine, the car will also be available in a hybrid version with carbon dioxide emissions of 215g per kilometre.

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The first images of the Elite have been unveiled less than two weeks before the Paris Motor Show, which will see a range of new models made public, including a new version of the award-winning Elise, which was launched last year, boosting jobs at Lotus’s Hethel plant, which employs about 1,200.

Dany Bahar, Group Lotus chief executive, said: “The Elite is a car we are exceptionally proud of and we truly believe that there is nothing else like it both in terms of styling and performance.

“Make no mistake, there’s a definite market requirement for the Elite - it’s the ultimate sports car feel with comfort and space.

“There will always be those who believe that Lotus should stick to small sports cars but we didn’t take the decision to design something like the Elite lightly, it’s based on months of careful research and planning.

“It’s worth noting this sector has been very successful for us in the past and now the Elite raises the benchmark higher still.”