Lotus has recently delighted fans by revealing plans for a dramatic expansion of its range of sports cars.
The British-based firm's range currently consists of four models; the Elise and its more furious, stripped out alter ego the Exige, the Evora and a track-day special called the 2-Eleven.
However, moves are afoot to revive three model names from Lotus's past in stunning all-new form; the Esprit, Elan and Elite. These will be joined by a car bearing a model name completely new to the firm, the Eterne, and finally in 2015 there will be an all-new Elise.
All these 'future cars' feature on the company's website, but rumours persist that they aren't the only novel developments in the pipeline.
The sixth of the firm's new models will perhaps be the most shocking of all for fans of the marque known primarily for lightweight, well-handling sports cars. Rumours are that Lotus is also developing a mould-breaking city car in a joint project with parent company Proton.
First of the new range to hit the roads will be the revived Esprit, due in 2013. According to the firm, this will be the 'ultimate Lotus'; a mid-engined two-seater designed to mix it with the new supercar elite, such as the Ferrari 458 Italia and new Mclaren MP4-12C, as well as Audi's storming R8 V10.
Power will come from an all-new supercharged V8 engine developed in-house by Lotus, with the possibility of an enhanced tie-up with Toyota leading to a V10 equipped range-topper. A later, entry-level model may be offered with the option of the Evora's V6 motor.
Next to roll out of the design studio will be the Esprit's 'little brother', an everyday sports car to rival the Porsche 911 and Aston Martin Vantage. Lotus expects the Elan to be their most popular model. Powered by a supercharged 4.0 litre V6 developed from the unit used in the latest Evora S, extensive use of aluminium will keep the car's weight down and '2+2' seating will be an option.
The following year will see the company launch the Elite; a front engined, four-seater GT car to take on the Ferrari FF and Aston Martin Virage. Featuring a Ferrari California style folding hard-top roof, use of the same 5.0 litre V8 as the Esprit indicates that it may out-power rivals as well as undercut them significantly on price.
The Elise has been the core of Lotus's range since the mid 1990s, but 2015 will herald an all-new design. The new car will feature a more luxurious interior that will be easier to live with every day and be powered by a 2.0 litre Toyota engine up-rated by Lotus engineers. However, prices will remain similar to those for the current car.
So far, so Lotus. But it's the firm's next steps that will see it break away from traditional thinking. In 2015, Lotus plans to launch the Eterne; a four-door luxury flagship model to match the Aston Martin Rapide, Porsche Panamera and Maserati Quattroporte. Four door supercars are taking off in popularity as car-makers eye Far East tastes for big sporty models, and it's that trend that's inspired this completely new concept for the company.
Finally, Lotus's sixth new model will be its boldest move yet; a premium city car to rival the Aston Martin Cygnet. Developed with parent company Proton and based on the Malaysian firm's EMAS concept, the new baby Lotus will take the sports car maker into completely uncharted territory.
Featuring trademark sporty design cues, the new supermini will be available as a full, all-electric version or as a hybrid utilising Lotus's 1.2 litre 'range extender' petrol engine offering a potential 100 mpg fuel economy.
Promising a 35 mile range on electric power alone and 200 miles if the range extender engine is employed, the car's purpose - as with Aston Martin - will be to lower the firm's emissions across its newly widened car range in order to comply with the latest European Union regulations.
All Lotus's new sports cars feature a very angular, Lamborghini Reventon style corporate face and will also be equipped with the latest in motor technology such as hybrid drive, semi-automatic gearboxes and an F1-style KERS system to deliver a temporary power boost on command. Various uprated engine tuning options are also likely to be made available, marketed as 'S' models