New Lotus Elite revealed

An unlikely rival for the Ferrari California as Lotus reveals its new take on the Elite

While the roles of the new Elise, Elan and Esprit are clear with the new Lotus hierarchy, the Elite seems to have slightly shakier foundations. Leaving aside the car's undoubted good looks and technical highlights, engineering a coupe-cabrio is surely going to give Lotus a few sleepless nights. We can only assume an outside supplier will be heavily involved.

What's not in doubt is that the chassis will be stiff enough to cope. Although this will be the first time Lotus has developed a bonded aluminium chassis with the engine in the front and the Elite will weigh 1680kg, the bonded monocoque frame is highly regarded.

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Using the same engine as the Esprit, the Elite, which is due to arrive in 2014, will offer either 542bhp or 612bhp  from its supercharged 5.0-litre V8, enabling it to complete 0-60mph in 3.7sec or 3.5sec. 

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Unlike the mid-engined cars, the Elite (and Eterne) will be offered with a hybrid transmission that sends an extra 50bhp to the front wheels. In order for this to work, these two models will use an epicyclic hybrid gearbox. Emissions for the £115,000 convertible should be as low as 215g/km.

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