Lotus’ owners Proton have recently revealed that they are planning to move the brand upmarket. Their aim is to produce cars to compete with the likes of Porsche and Ferrari, priced between £80 and £110k. Put simply, this does not sound like a good idea to me. Colin Chapman’s original ethos was ‘lightweight and simple’, a theory perfectly demonstrated with the Elise and Exige, both of which could easily embarrass cars twice as powerful and twice as expensive. That’s the whole point of Lotus – leaving a 911 for dead and picturing the owner consoling himself by lowering his electric windows or admiring his carpets. Lotus definitely have a reputation for building small, lightweight cars with clever chassis but Porsche et al are a step too far because of one word – Toyota. You see the plan is to develop these expensive supercars whilst still utilising the engines from Japan’s automotive giant. The best way I can explain my issue with this is as follows:- When I first sat in a DB9, I was so disappointed to recognise switchgear from my wife’s ’96 Escort. Imagine then, having just spent £110k on a supercar and constantly being reminded that the engine was made alongside the engine in a 1 litre Yaris. I’m not saying it would be a bad engine, it would probably be extremely reliable but where’s the excitement in reliability? When you see or hear a Ferrari, the racing heritage goes hand in hand with the sometimes temperamental nature, making it almost a treat to complete a journey. If you want an expensive Toyota, buy a Lexus LFA, that’s laughably expensive.
Please Proton, realise where Lotus’ place in the world is; to give us the most bang for our buck.
By Ben Harrington
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