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2008-07-17 08:17


Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Lotus
Model Eagle (for now)
Engine 3.5-litre V6
Zero To Hundred sub 5 second
Top Speed 260km/h plus
Lotus is due to unveil its first all new car in 13 years at the British motor show in London next week - featuring V6 Toyota power.

Codenamed project Eagle – mercifully the show debut will coincide with a market related naming change – the new 2+2 fixed roof performance car features naturally aspirated V6 power and an odd level of luxury for a contemporary Lotus.

An Esprit replacement?

Since the Esprit was discontinued in 2004 Lotus has lacked a real 911 class competitor. The Eagle is a way to redress this market imbalance in the Lotus product portfolio.

Aesthetically the Lotus styling tradition of packaging and functionality instead of pure visual drama has rendered the Eagle as a nearly perfectly proportioned mini F430.

Much as it’s chemically bonded Elise and Exige siblings, the Eagle will feature a clever, contemporary aluminium chassis with expertly tuned suspension settings displaying a distinct performance bias.

Although mum on performance figures, Lotus says the new Eagle is, ‘considerably faster around the Nürburgring circuit than the Elise and more stable at speed than the Exige.’

Or a civilised Elise?

Keen to woo customers attracted by its cars redoubtable handling abilities, yet scared off by their utilitarian interior appointments, Lotus is pandering to the enthusiast everyman with the new Eagle. Inside you’ll find two small rear seats – even Lotus admits they are only for children and ‘small’ adults – and a bespoke Bergstrom air-conditioning system.

Alpine provides a sophisticated infotainment solution with their multi-media system featuring a 7-inch 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.

The satellite navigation element of the system has a removable hard-drive, allowing you to program it from home or use it as a roaming satellite navigation unit and MP3 player.

Audio balance is continuously varied by sound enhancement technology. Able to cancel out imbalances in sound caused by different areas of the cabin – window glass, for instance, creating echoes and carpets, which suppress mid-range frequencies – the result is amazingly undistorted sound reproduction wherever you are seated in the Eagle.

Naturally-aspirated Toyota power

Dynamically the Eagle will employ Toyota power – as is the case in both the Elise and Exige – in the form of a 3.5-litre V6; similar to the engine found in the Lexus IS350. Fettled by Lotus and mid-mounted in the Eagle, the dual VVT-i naturally aspirated unit it should improve on the stock Toyota power figures of 225kW and 376Nm.

In the lightweight Eagle chassis performance credentials promise to be epic. Lotus is being opaque considering the specifics, but they say a sub five second 0-100km/h time and 260km/h plus top speed are design parameters.

Keeping the performance in check is a traction and stability control system specially developed by Bosch to ensure as high a performance threshold as possible, in keeping with the dynamic nature of the Eagle.

Production volumes are planned at 2 000 cars a year with the first units to be delivered to customers in early 2009.


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