HETHEL, England - Lotus is pushing ahead with its aluminum development program after the success of the Elise roadster.
The Elise features an epoxy-bonded extruded aluminum spaceframe chassis weighing only 65kg, together with an all-aluminum engine. It also has a number of other key aluminum components including suspension uprights, side intrusion beams and pedals, alloy wheels, and aluminum brake discs.
Lotus is currently assessing reactions to the M250, the model with which it hopes to extend Elise-style construction techniques into the mid-range sports market. The M250 was shown at September's Frankfurt motor show as an exterior styling concept and at October's London motor show as a fully-trimmed prototype.
A production decision will be made shortly. If the go-ahead is given, as expected, the M250 will go on sale during the first half of 2001.
The M250 uses an exceptionally stiff next-generation bonded extruded aluminium chassis of modular construction, with some composite elements. The M250's target weight of under 1,000kg (Elise weighs 675kg) will help acheive performance figures of 0-100 kph in under 5 seconds and 0-160 kph in under 11 seconds.
It will have an electronically limited maximum speed of 250 kph.