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Lotus Evora 400: the prelude to a brighter future?

POSTED BY Vishal Bhaskaran ON 07 March 2015

FACELIFTS are no big deal. Automakers do them all the time, usually halfway into a car’s lifecycle; some aesthetic work here, some extra features there, maybe a new engine or two to keep the car current and competitive.

So why then are we talking about the Evora 400, it may be more powerful — up 55hp to 400hp, hence the name — yet more efficient, and handle better thanks to some chassis tweaking and weight reduction but surely nothing worthy of hogging the headlines?

400hp with 410Nm of torque, 0-100km/h in 4.2 seconds on to a top speed of 300km/h, and laps the Hethel test track SIX seconds faster than it's predecessor. Maybe a little headline-worthy, then.

400hp with 410Nm of torque, 0-100km/h in 4.2 seconds on to a top speed of 300km/h, and laps the Hethel test track SIX seconds faster than it’s predecessor. Maybe a little headline-worthy, then.

The car is one thing, what it represents is quite another. The Evora heralds the dawn of a new product age for Lotus, in the words of current CEO Jean-Marc Gales, “It will be lighter and it will be faster: there’s nothing this side of 100,000 pounds that will beat it on a track. Unless its another Lotus.”

Bold words, but comforting coming from a man who has the Chapman philosophy of “simplify, then add lightness” very close to heart.

With a dedicated laboratory set up devoted entirely to trimming weight and cost, the company is clearly going back to its founding principles; a stark contrast to the outlandish five-product assault former CEO Dany Bahar unveiled at Paris in an attempt to make Lotus the “Ferrari of Britain.”

No thanks, Lotus should remain Lotus.

Gales has an uphill battle ahead of him as the man tasked by Proton, and parent company DRB-Hicom, to pick Lotus up from a mess of financial turmoil, boldly stating “ I believe I can turn Lotus around. Fundamentally. Every Morning, every evening, I don’t ever think anything else.”

Passion-led and with a CV that includes such positions as global sales director at Mercedes-Benz and PSA president, Gales is exactly the sort of leader Lotus needs to come back swinging

Passion-led and with a CV that includes such positions as global sales director at Mercedes-Benz and PSA president, Gales is exactly the sort of leader Lotus needs to come back swinging

The self-proclaimed sports-car enthusiast aims to have positive operational cash flow in the financial year to March 2016, no small feat given that losses were tabulated as 71.1 million pounds in the financial year ending March 2014.

Most of the time, the success (or failure) of a car company can be measured from a myriad of products and over many years, however the Evora 400 must almost single-handedly get the ball rolling with sufficient momentum to spin the kind of development revenue needed for other Lotus cars.

For any more evidence as to the kind of pressure on the sculpted shoulders of the new Evora — and indeed, those of Gales — look no further than the people who stood beside him to unveil this all-important car.

L-R: Lotus chairman Tun Dr Mahathir; Gales; and Proton CEO Datuk Abdul Harith Abdullah.

L-R: Lotus chairman Tun Dr Mahathir; Gales; and Proton CEO Datuk Abdul Harith Abdullah in Geneva

If Lotus succeeds — and this is a very big if given how many times past management has overpromised and under delivered — then there is hope yet for an impassioned fanbase of one of the most historically rich and niche automakers that the Lotuses of yesteryear will return in the form of modern new machines to take to the track.

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