Is Lotus going Cayman hunting?

Lotus, the perennial underperforming British sports car manufacturer, has announced that there is still life in the old marque with the unveiling of the new Evora 400 – the fastest car in the company’s history EVER!

Last year, the Norfolk-based firm shed 240 jobs after it recorded multimillion pound losses, but things seem to be turning around at the Hethel HQ after it launched the Evora 400 at the Geneva Motor Show, where it announced that Lotus is to recruit 150 new employees over the next four months.

Jean-Marc Gales, the CEO of Lotus, said that sales had increased by 60% during the current financial year and the company hoped to become profitable again within the next couple of years. The Evora 400 is being billed as a turnaround car for the boutique car manufacturer and the company is planning a large scale manufacturing operation to build it in sufficient volumes to hit their financial goals.

Professor David Bailey, a car industry expert, was quoted as saying, “They had a crazy expansion plan under the previous chief executive, Dany Bahar, who was trying to turn Lotus into a British Ferrari…and that simply fell apart very quickly.

“The new CEO has turned things around. He’s cut costs dramatically and he’s gone back to the core business, which is making attractive lightweight cars and they are getting a lot of publicity about the Evora 400. They are clearly on the up.”

So what is it about the new Evora 400 that could put the venerable small volume sports car manufacturer back into contention? Lotus claims that whilst the new Evora is based on the outgoing model, two-thirds of the Evora 400 is new, including a new stiffer aluminium chassis, composite body panels and the supercharged 3.5-litre V6 engine that puts out 400hp (geddit?) which is up a very significant 55hp on the outgoing power unit. Performance figures from the manufacturer claim a 0-100kph of just 4.1 seconds and a top speed of 290kph, with a six-second faster lap time around the Lotus test track at Hethel.

When you start to compare the figures against those for the Cayman GT4, it may start to become clear where Lotus will be hunting. The new Porsche Cayman GT4 will cost you in the region of US$128,000 in the US, puts out 385hp, has a 0-100 of 4.2 seconds and tops out at 294kph. Lotus has not announced the pricing for the Evora 400 but the current Evora S sells for US$120,000 in the US of A.

So which would you chose? The little snappy Cayman from Zuffenhausen or the willing little upstart from Norfolk?

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