Lotus ended years of speculation by announcing it will begin rejuvenating its range when it releases a new model in 2021. Known as the Type 131 internally, its arrival will mark the end of the Elise, the Exige and the Evora.
Although the three aforementioned models are showing their age, putting them out to pasture at about the same time is a surprising move because they're currently the only cars in the company's lineup. Saying that the Type 131 will have big shoes to fill is an understatement; it will blaze the path that a full family of new cars will follow.
Official details about the 131 are few and far between, but an earlier report sketches the outline of a driver-friendly sports car powered by a mid-mounted engine. While it won't stray far from the lightness and the nimbleness that Lotus is famous for, it will be equipped with more tech than even the Evora, which offers a more comprehensive list of features than the track-inspired Exige and the back-to-the-basics Elise. Insiders have claimed that the 131 will be built on a new modular platform, and that it will not use any kind of electrification.
Lotus released an image that shows the Evija (an electric, 2,000-horsepower halo car strictly limited to 130 units globally) next to three enigmatic cars hidden by a cover; one is presumably the 131. Another might be the battery-powered model that it's developing jointly with Renault-owned Alpine. As for the third, your guess is as good as ours. We know that the British firm is developing a Volvo-based SUV, but it's not pictured in the lineup.
News of a new Lotus model will bring joy to enthusiasts and economists alike. The company is investing over 100 million British pounds (about $136 million) into its Hethel, England, facility, and it will hire about 250 employees to bring the 131 to the market. Most of the recruits will work in engineering and manufacturing.
Lotus noted that it hopes to start building prototypes of the Type 131 — an internal designation that will likely not appear on the production model — in 2021. We don't know if deliveries will also begin this year, or if they are scheduled to start a little later. Regardless, it will be worth the wait. Lotus told Autoblog that all of its future cars will be engineered for global markets, and that its intention is to sell the Type 131 in North America.
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