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Lotus Releases First Details on "Project Eagle" Four-Seat Sports Car
By Jesse Sears
Project Eagle, a code name for the new larger, more powerful Lotus sports car, is coming. Today Lotus released the first image of Project Eagle, for which the official car name will be released July 22. Taking obvious styling cues from the fast, mean and successful Lotus Elise, the Project Eagle 2+2 adds a second row of seating, more creature comforts and significantly more power than the Elise or even Exige track-focused Lotus models, with 276 horsepower coming from a heavily modified Toyota-sourced V6.
Lotus has a mission with Project Eagle, though, beyond just building a larger, faster Lotus Elise. While the Elise has been universally praised by automotive journalists everywhere for its power, stability and unparallelled handling dynamics, in the same breath it is often criticized for being nearly impossible to live with in daily driving. Project Eagle addresses many of these issues, with standard air conditioning, a fully insulated interior, a navigation system and a standard Alpine stereo.
Looks like Lotus is trying to move past the Elise's label as streetable track car for hard-core enthusiasts only, into the mainstream of sports car greatness. Make no mistake, though, Project Eagle, like the Lotus Elise and Exige, is much lighter than its competitors, offering the unique characteristics that come from modest horsepower by super sports car standards coupled with ultra light weight.
The styling fits right at home in showrooms next to the current Elise models, but it is clear that Lotus is going for something a little more luxurious, the Eagle to the Elise's hornet in the styling department. Suffice to say the Eagle, or whatever the name for this promising sports car in the British tradition ends up being called, will be considerably more expensive than the Elise when it hits showrooms. The performance numbers? Lotus marks Project Eagle at a top speed of at least 160 mph, with 0-60 mph coming in less than 5 seconds.
The New Distinctive, Mid-engined,
2+2 Sportscar from Lotus
[Lotus Press Release]
15th July 2008
Eagerly anticipated and making its official global debut at the British Motorshow in London on July 22nd, the first all-new car from Lotus since the iconic Elise in 1995, will enter the sportscar market as the only mid-engined 2+2 in production.
The new car, which is known only by its project name ‘Eagle’, is a more holistic offering than the Elise and Exige models that have been so massively popular with track day enthusiasts. The car, the name for which will be announced at the British Motorshow on 22nd July at an 11:30 press conference, is designed for people who desire exotic sportscar characteristics of stunning design, exclusivity, dramatic proportions and performance. Project Eagle also offers real-world usability and a unique sense of occasion.
Powered by a 3.5-litre V6 producing 280 PS, the new car employs innovative lightweight chassis technology to ensure visceral all-round dynamic performance, in keeping with the great Lotus tradition. Even in the very early stages of development testing, Lotus ride and handling engineers report that it is considerably faster around the famously demanding Nürburgring circuit than the Elise and more stable at speed than the Exige.
Inside, Project Eagle cocoons occupants with a sumptuous leather surfaces juxtaposed with contemporary high-tech features. With driver focused instrumentation the driver sits in cockpit-esque surroundings. A beautifully appointed dash boasts tactile details such as flush-mounted controls that glow with blue LED haloes and a stylised speedometer and rev counter ensuring that controls are both attractive and accessible.
Styled in-house by Lotus Design, the Project Eagle’s sleek, sophisticated and attention-snaring lines brilliantly disguise its ability to accommodate passengers in the rear of the cabin, giving the car the external characteristics of a small, nimble sportscar whilst belying its internal space. As well as being sold in a 2+2 configuration, the car will also be available as a purely two-seater, the space in the rear being allocated to luggage storage. Other derivatives are also planned for the future, including a convertible and an ultrahigh
Deliveries of Project Eagle will begin in Spring 2009, and with only 2000 of the hand crafted cars planned each year, this exclusive and unique car is creating a real stir with celebrity enthusiasts around the world. Hollywood actor and car enthusiast Patrick Dempsey is just one of the high profile collectors who are on the waiting list for a test drive.
Mike Kimberley, CEO of Group Lotus plc, had this to say about the new model: “Project Eagle is the biggest milestone Lotus has achieved since the Elise was born 13 years ago. We are currently working at broadening the appeal of the Lotus brand through an aggressive 5-year model plan of which
this car represents the first exciting step.”
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