Sports car wizard Lotus is to reveal its first truly new model in 12 years, according to reports. Information gained by our sister title Auto Express suggests a model codenamed Type 131 is in the final stages of development.
Interestingly, the lightweight corner fiend won’t replace any of Lotus’ ageing models; the truth is that the likes of the Exige and Elise are too iconic among sports cars, just like the original Land Rover Defender and Jeep Wrangler are among off-roaders. Killing them off would be killing part of the company image.
With Lotus’ CEO having previously outlined plans to consider entry into any new market segments that make financial sense, including crossovers and SUVs, the Type 131 could be the pointy end of a model offensive backed by a very large pot of Geely money. Speaking of money, a target retail price of around £70,000 would put it way north of the obvious mid-engined rivals like the Porsche Cayman and Alpine A110. Lotus says the car will be premium and appropriately low-volume.
It will use a very lightweight platform with no material off the table; a carbon tub like the Alfa Romeo 4C is possible, or a more traditional metal monocoque. A tubular space-frame is unlikely as the company looks for more advanced solutions.
What is confirmed, according to Auto Express, is that the Type 131 won’t use any kind of electrification at first. The firm’s Evija BEV hypercar – delayed due to lost testing time during the COVID-19 pandemic – will still be the first Lotus to be driven by batteries and electric motors.
Electric power will definitely feature in other future Lotus models, though; possibly even new variants of the Type 131 in time. A promise made by the company in 2019 stated that every model it makes will be given a BEV derivative, among other options. Could the Type 131 be the last Lotus with a truly old-school flavour? It just might.