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Lotus reveals first official pics of the new Elite.

Editorial Staff

This is a Lotus. They call it the Elite. And it will be unveiled at the Paris Motor Show next week, just one of a range of models, modifications and tech that Lotus has lined up for its biggest ever international show.

Lotus may build their cars in the middle of a mustard field (as Top Gear famously said) but that makes what they do all the more impressive.

It's a long way from the kit-car beginnings of a company that sold its cars in pieces because customers could avoid purchase tax by bolting them together themselves. These days, there's no way anyone could assemble a Lotus in their shed starting with a box of bits.

Lotus Cars and its sibling Lotus Engineering are consistently at the pointy end of road-car tech. The Elite is no exception: " its a car of substance incorporating some of the very latest technological innovations Lotus has to offer. The slick retractable hard top version and the optional use of hybrid technology with KERS are typical examples of Lotus tailoring technology to deliver perfect performance." That's what the company says. There's no reason to think otherwise.

Dany Bahar, CEO of Group Lotus said: “There’s no denying that the Elite is breathtakingly beautiful to look at but it’s so much more than that, it’s a car that over delivers in all other aspects as well. One could say it’s a car of perfect contradictions, it’s compact yet spacious, high performing yet low emitting, lightweight yet still reassuringly solid. It’s a car that we are exceptionally proud of at Lotus and we truly believe that there is nothing else like it out there both in terms of styling and performance."

Lotus has missed out in the GT class since retiring the Esprit. The already aged design couldn't be economically modified to meet developing crash and emission standards.

The name Elite has been used before: it was a kind of hatchback / semi-estate car in the 1970s. Although having some design cues from the Esprit of the time, it was, by Lotus' standards, something of an ugly duckling.

The new Elite clearly doesn't fall into that category.

It's long (compared to current cars) at more than 4 metres. It's wide at 1.9 metres. But it's low at just 1.32 metres. With an optional petrol / electric / KERS engine, its 5.0 litre V8 will reach 100kph in well under four seconds (in both configurations) and get up to a top speed of 315kph.

It takes Lotus back into supercar territory - in performance and price. The estimated price at launch in spring 2014 will be about GBP115,000 in the UK.

Technically, the pic is a concept car but only minor tweaks are expected prior to production.