Lotus Project Eagle

Production Cars 16 Jul 2008
Lotus Project Eagle

Lotus has released the first official information on its upcoming model codenamed ‘Project Eagle’. The 2+2 mid-engined sportscar will debut at the next British Motorshow in London and will go on sale in spring 2009.


Making its official global debut at the
British Motorshow in London on July 22nd is the first all-new
car from Lotus since the Elise in 1995, and will be the only mid-engined 2+2 in production.

Lotus Project EagleThe new car, the name for which will be
announced at the British Motorshow, will go on sale in Spring 2009 with a production volume of 2,000 units per year.

Lotus will aslo offer a pure two-seater version, with the space in the rear being allocated to luggage storage.

Other
derivatives are also planned for the future, including a convertible and an ultrahigh
performance
version.

Project Eagle is powered by a Toyota-derived 3.5-litre V6 engine with dual VVT-i (‘intelligent’
variable valve timing) producing 280 hp and features an aluminum
lightweight chassis technology to ensure all-round dynamic
performance, in keeping with the Lotus tradition.

Lotus Project Eagle - Front ModuleA tubular steel frame provides seatbelt anchorage
and acts as a rollover structure.

Main performance figures are a 0-60 mph sprint in less than 5 seconds and a top speed of about 160 mph.

Even in the very early
stages of development testing, Lotus ride and handling engineers report that it
is considerably faster around the demanding Nürburgring circuit than
the Elise and more stable at speed than the Exige.

Design

The sleek lines disguise the car’s 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.

Lotus Project EagleDesigned in-house by Lotus Design, Head of Design, Russell Carr, explains “Project Eagle’s dynamically sculptured form and dramatic proportions
communicate visual drama, speed and agility even when the car is standing
still.

"Sportscars are primarily an emotional rather than a rational purchase and
so the design must seduce with its beauty and distinctive character.

"However,
the modern customer also demands that the product offers real-world usability
as well as exotic imagery. Therefore every element of the car’s exterior and
interior has been carefully designed to create a product that offers comfort and convenience as well as traditional performance car attributes.”

A design language of dynamic lines and fluid surfaces that flow from the ‘Lotus-mouth’ and over the length the cars toned form are unmistakably ‘modern
Lotus’.

They instantly convey a sense of agility and athleticism that is intrinsic
to the car’s driving persona.

On Project Eagle they are complemented by the
distinctive wraparound visor screen but have been subtly tailored to suit the
more sophisticated character of the car, optimise high-speed aerodynamics
and artfully disguise the unique 2+2 layout.

The cab forward proportion
combines with muscular haunches and optimised intake detailing to instantly
inform the viewer that this is a serious mid-engine sportscar.

Elsewhere a
Lotus philosophy for combining function with beauty is evident in the
downforce generating, top exit radiator vent, rear diffuser and rear wing.

Interior

Inside the car the forms echo the exterior with fast moving surfaces that wrap
around the cockpit cosseting the occupants, the contrast colour band that
flows from the instrument cluster and sweeps around the cabin highlights this
theme.

The rear seats of 2+2 versions of Project Eagle are intended for children or
smaller adults on short journeys. To maximise comfort in the rear, there is
foot-room under the seats in front, while both back seats feature ISOFIX
mountings for secure child seat fitment.

“We recognise that ‘touch’ not only assists with driving enjoyment but
also conveys messages about quality and therefore great attention has been
paid to all the areas where the driver interfaces with the car.”
Carr explains.

When unoccupied, the rear seats provide a convenient stowage area for
briefcases and jackets. The boot, which features a fresh air cooling system to reduce the
effect of heat ingress from the engine bay, will accommodate a set of golf
clubs.

Figure hugging adjustable sports seats and flat-bottomed steering wheel
instantly communicate the driving potential of the car.

Modern
aluminium inserts and hi-fi quality, edge-lit switches are
juxtaposed against the traditional contrast stitched leather panels.

The multi-media system developed in partnership with Alpine features
a 7-inches touch-screen providing advanced audio, satellite navigation, Bluetooth
hands-free telephone and iPod® connectivity functions; the screen also serves
as a monitor for Project Eagle’s optional reversing camera.

Lotus Project Eagle - Suspension detailThe satellite
navigation element of the system has a removable hard-drive, allowing you to
programme it from the comfort of your home or use it as a roaming satellite
navigation unit and MP3 player.

About the project

Mike Kimberley, CEO of Group Lotus plc, explains: “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.”

Project Eagle is the first of three new models included in the CEO’s (Mike
Kimberley) five year strategic business plan initiated in October 2006 to
support Lotus’ growth.

(Source: Lotus)

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