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Bee

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Posts posted by Bee

  1. Nicely put!   :thumbsup:  I do think a great many Lotus fans weren't so much excited by Dany's overall vision as by the prospect of a Lotus finally making serious £££! Given the cars Lotus have offered to us on a shoestring budget, I can only start to imagine what we might have if they had Porsche-like funds at their disposal! Heck, if they had had a quarter of Porsche-like funds at their disposal!

     

    I, for one, wouldn't mind seeing a less pure, populist model (Porsche Boxster rival, perhaps - Elise based, few inches wider, with easier access/egress and a cool, new interior) if it earned the kind of cash flow Lotus so desperately need in order to fulfil their potential with new models.

     

    I truly hope the slivers of information and vague hints from DRB regarding new technologies and a new model, along with the recruitment drive, are going to lead to cars that the press don't define as, 'Amazing handling, but ...'

     

    Personally, I don't mind that the engines come from elsewhere, so long as they are good; a great many Elise/Exige/Evora owners don't mind the Japanese origins of their extremely reliable engines. Transmissions? Erm ...

     

    Now, if only DRB would actually inform their potential customers as to what they hope to do, there 'could' be real cause for optimism ... As a lifelong Lotus fan, my fingers are permanently crossed!

  2. The more I see of the Exige Roadster, the more I like it. I wonder whether Lotus would trim the dash in matching leather if you were willing to splash a little extra. I appreciate they decided they couldn't do it as standard option but even so ... It looked so good on the show car!

     

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    Still a gorgeous car, regardless - I'd probably sell body parts for one!

  3. Martin, I don't think I've seen your yellow Evora - I will keep an eye out for it, though!

     

    I agree that a Top Trumps approach to cars isn't a great way to make choices but the fact remains that seeing a dedicated sports car 'whupped' by a small BMW saloon and a Porsche rival did very little for the Evora's reputation; Clarkson's subsequent 'Bit depressing if you've just brought a Lotus Evora' comment didn't help much, either. Lotus fans/enthusiasts know better but for potential buyers, especially those looking towards getting a Lotus for the first time ... Well, that was a PR disaster. If the Evora comes up in motoring discussions with friends, inevitably someone refers to that Top Gear segment, such is the influence and popularity of the show.

     

    I should have said: 'LCD instrument cluster'; the term, 'digital dash' does, admittedly, make it sound like something from the 80's with graphics by Ceefax! I was thinking more along the lines of the configurable one from the new Stingray, or the nice stuff seen in Jaguars, Range Rovers, Volvos and Mercedes. I'm not saying that Lotus Evoras need LCD dashes; I was just meaning that if they want to really revamp the car in order to attract new customers, something innovative and interesting in the interior would be a big help. It would also draw potential new customers to the fact that the interior now looks so much better than the launch editions!

     

    Personally, I adore Evoras but getting new sales isn't going to be about preaching to the converted, it's going to be about attracting new people to the brand.

  4. I've only ever seen one Evora on the road and - whilst I do appreciate the current owners' glee at the rarity value/good residuals it brings for them, personally - I do not see that as a good thing! I see Elises on a weekly basis, I see an Esprit on the roads at least two or three times a year, and I've seen an Excel this year and last. Unless something drastic happens to Evora sales, how many of them do you think we'll see in 15-20 years? I think some drastic updates are the only way to go: serious front-end re-style; more oomph (people STILL bring up its poor performance against the much cheaper BMW 1M and Porsche Cayman in that Top Gear straight line race); and, something attention-grabbing for the interior such as a digital dashboard. The Evora is in a far more competitive market than the Elise, and its competitors update regularly; It needs a serious revamp!

  5. I never knew about the Swindon Engines version! Does anyone know of one that was done? GTE body kit, Swindon Engines 500hp lump, assorted suspension tweaks and a remodelled interior - Lotus were charging £120,000 for a GTE; I wonder whether it's possible to build your own up for less/similar money!  lol

  6. Always heard people saying it would be easy to develop the Toyota lump in order to develop more power but KOMO-TEC seemed to take a long time to get just another 45hp out of it and Lotus themselves apparently struggled with the abandoned GTE (I'm assuming they were using the same engine?) It's probably just the volumes they have been sold in but I am surprised no-one's managed to seriously upgrade an Evora, a real shame because the GTE development car received a lot of praise through the press who had a go. I'd have dearly loved to hear what a 450-500hp Evora was like!

  7. It's a bit scary that a car company who have decent backing and are universally acclaimed as being the world's 'coolest brand' isn't turning a profit! I think it just has to be accepted that sports/specialist car companies cannot even start to make it, these days, without significant backing/assistance from a wealthy parent company. I'm sure the AMG engines will make a huge difference, however; it should hugely reduce the cost of putting new as opposed to mildly updated models out there. It really makes me wonder where Lotus's next generation of engines will hail from, I'm 'really' hoping that Proton/DRB's Honda link-up might lead to something exciting ... 

  8. Lotus seems to have got an image of a car that offers uncompromising, track-focused cars, which completely ignores the Evora and most pre-Elise cars.

     

    I just don't get it when people insist Lotus cars 'must' be stripped down, hard-core, track-focussed racers; It's just not how I remember Lotus cars as I was growing up ...

     

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    Okay, some of those are considerably before my time but I still don't see why a lightweight Lotus sports car can't enjoy a bit of luxury and bling to complement its exciting oomph and deft handling! A personal choice, I realise, but I for one would rather be sat, here ...

     

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    - than here ...

     

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    Ideally, of course, there would be models/options to suit a variety of tastes!

  9. The problem with pitching a new Esprit against the Ferrari 458 and McLaren 12c is that they are both exceptionally accomplished cars so a new Esprit would have to be of a similar standard but probably significantly cheaper in order to sell. From the point of view of an independent and unbiased buyer, why take the chance otherwise when you don't yet know the reliability ect.? I would hope that a number of customers would buy into the Esprit name and its relative exclusivity but as to how many customers - I think that's difficult to predict. It's a considerable leap forward for Lotus in terms of all-round quality, too, to match McLaren and Ferrari cabins, for instance, although I 'assume' design studies ect. were made in the Bahar era.

     

    I'm certainly not saying Lotus couldn't make a car that sat above the standards set by the aforementioned Ferrari/McLaren pair but that's got to be a hell of an ask! If it failed to significantly outperform that pair on whatever track the automotive journalists took it to, it would be instantly derided as being poor value in comparison. The interior, again, would have to be something pretty special - certainly a complete departure from anything they've produced before!

     

    As it is, a new Esprit in the £110-140,000 bracket will be in direct competition with what seems to be an exceptional new Porsche 911 turbo S and McLaren's forthcoming P13. Autocar recently tested the new 911 in a sprint with a 12C which the Porsche won (0-60mph in 2.9 seconds); it's also lapped the 'ring' in 7.27 on its standard tyres.

     

    I actually really support a new Esprit; I think they need a halo product and I'm sure Lotus are up to the challenge if appropriately backed, financially. However, I think the technical challenges involved, whether it's pitched at £140,000, £170,000 or £200,000, are prodigious to say the least given that the Lotus guys are up against companies who are already experienced at producing cars in those price brackets and have much deeper pockets.

     

    Oh well, a new model by 2015, we'll just have to wait and see ...

  10. I never realised how much brand perception is affected by age until pretty recently. I work in education and was chatting with a large group of ex-pupils, now aged 20-23 at a 21st birthday party I'd been invited along to. The conversation came around to cars and it was enlightening to hear their views! Skoda was the butt of so many jokes for previous generations that even now, after quite some years of giving us good cars, it still faces a serious image issue for those of us of a 'certain age'. That bunch, however, have grown up without the prejudice and see Skodas as cut-price Volkswagen machinery at a cheaper price. They saw them as a cheap way to own a fast, good quality car!

     

    BMW's and Audis had a mixed image amongst them - BMW's were seen as executive cars owned by smarmy people; Audis faired a little better, primarily due to the sportier models. Mercedes were universally denounced as being for old/boring people!

     

    Similarly, the idea that French cars were bound to be unreliable just isn't there for the younger generation. This seemed primarily to be down to the perceived 'coolness' of small Citroens; they all thought they were the best small cars you could own.

     

    Sadly, when I was asked what car I was intending to get next and I said a Lotus Elise, only one of them even knew what model I was talking about. About half of them knew that Lotus were British and made sports cars but that was about as far as it went. One of the girls remembered that there was a Lotus in Pretty Woman. I can't lie, I was dismayed at their 'awareness' concerning my favourite brand! Lotus are going to struggle to get the next generation of customers aspiring to own their cars when they don't even know who they are anymore!

  11. Recently, I've seen a few articles about the next generation of Mazda's MX-5, a car originally conceived to emulate the the wind-in-your-hair thrills of the classic British sports car, and more specifically, the Lotus Elan.

     

    On sale next year, Mazda are claiming to have kept the weight under 1,000Kg (they were originally aiming for 800Kg) and the range will include engines delivering around 130-200 bhp. A new short throw 'snappier' 6-speed gearbox is promised as well as a likely paddle shift option.

     

    Crucially, a sub £20,000 price tag is expected for the base model.

     

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    This has really got me wondering what kind of car a new Elise should actually be!

     

    Around £19,000 at launch in 1996, the Bank of England's inflation calculator indicates that equivalent 2012 price would be around £30,000, and, to be fair, a quick trip to PistonHeads classifieds shows that for £25-28,000, I can buy a 2013 1.6l Elise, (6 seconds to 60mph and 45mpg); a 2013 Elise S can be had for around £36-41,000 and I'm sure there are 'deals' to be done. The current Elise isn't cheap but it is arguably reasonably good value given that its cons (interior, access and practicality) are weighed up against what is often described as legendary handling and pure driving pleasure! It's a 17y.o. design so a degree of allowance is made for the cons.

     

    The thing is, though, is a new iteration of the Elise based upon an update of the existing model realistic anymore? Without addressing the interior and practicality, how would it stack up against the new Mazda (and let's not forget, an equivalent Alfa Romeo roadster) or the current Porsche Boxster with which it will be inevitably compared? I'm sure people would be willing to pay more for a new Elise that had the current issues adequately addressed but could such a car be developed and delivered at similar to current price points?

     

    The new Exige S has pretty much the same handicaps and has been widely applauded (although admittedly panned for said handicaps) because it offers such terrific pace and performance. The Exige Roadster, however, already offers consumers a sportier, more upmarket 'Elise' variant so I cannot see how a new Elise could be taken in that direction.

     

    I love the Elise - in fact, it might just be my favourite car of all time - but I do wonder whether the current car might be as far as it goes. If an entirely new model (or very thorough remodelling of the current car) is developed, what kind of car do you think it should be?

     

  12. I've got to say that I'm glad that the silver 'Esprit' pictured above (and below) never made it past the design phase; to me, it looks like someone grafted a fat Evora frontage onto my old Ford Cougar. It screams 'design from the 1980's'! On the whole, I've loved Coco's designs, especially the Elite and Elan, but his re-imagination of the Esprit hasn't grabbed me like his other designs did. My favourite modern Lotus design has been the Evora GTE which is now sadly consigned to history ...

     

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