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Lotus’s new Elite stems from a vow it recently made to build cars that will compete directly with Lamborghini and Ferrari. The rear-wheel-drive Lotus Elite is a 2+2 powered by a 5.0-liter V-8 engine from the Lexus IS F in a front-mid-engine layout for better weight distribution. The engine is connected to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission hiding electric motors and an optional F1 KERS-like system to enhance performance, increase fuel mileage, and provide an on-demand 50-hp boost. The Elite will produce 542 hp in normal trim and up to 612 hp (the same as the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano) in an anticipated R version. Lotus estimates that its new flagship will have a zero-to-62-mph time of 3.7 to 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 196 mph.

As the specs show, the Lotus Elite will be unlike any other Lotus model when it goes on sale in spring of 2014. It will be producing more much more horsepower than the Lotus Elite, Exige, or Evora. It will also weigh more than the other cars as well thanks in part to the concept’s retractable hardtop. The Lotus Elite will tip the scales at 3,638 pounds. That’s 500 more pounds than the base Evora and a whopping 1,600 pounds more than the Exige and Elise cars. It will also become Lotus’s longest model, stretching out 10 more inches than the 2+2 Evora. Although the Lotus Elite may bring new buyers to the brand, will its move away from extremely low-weight automobiles alienate current customers?

The styling of the Elite is a big step away from the characteristics found throughout the current Lotus lineup. Lotus is calling its new design elegant, explaining that it has a dignified design and is of ultimate refinement. Lotus hopes the Elite will impress people with its performance and captivate them with its looks. It will need to in order to compete with other cars priced near $180,000.

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