Lotus Cars is taking the wraps off the Elite -- a V8-powered, folding-hardtop grand tourer with an optional hybrid powertrain. Lotus says the car will go on sale in 2014. The Elite gets a public debut at the Paris auto show later this month.
Production of the Lotus Elite will start in early 2014 with an expected retail price of 115,000 pounds, or about $179,000.
UK-based Lotus is known for building small sports cars aimed at enthusiasts, but the company plans to broaden its lineup to compete against Ferrari, Aston Martin and Porsche.
Lotus CEO Dany Bahar, a former Ferrari sales chief, aims to boost worldwide sales to 8,000 in 2015 from about 2,500 cars last year.
Bahar said there is a market requirement for a Lotus model with a sports car feel as well as comfort and space.
"There will always be those who believe that Lotus should stick to small sports cars, but we didn't take the decision to design something like the Elite lightly," Bahar said in a press release.
"It's based on months of careful research and planning. It's worth noting this sector has been very successful for us in the past, and now the Elite raises the benchmark higher still.”
Under the hood of the 2+2 Elite is a 5.0-liter gasoline V-8, rated at 612 hp.
The engine has an 8,500-rpm limit and will push the car from 0 to 62 mph in 3.5 seconds to 3.7 seconds (0-100kph in 3.5 to 3.7 seconds). Top speed is 195 mph (315 kph).
The optional hybrid uses a kinetic-energy-recovery system, similar to the setup used in Formula One racing.
The Elite weights 1,650kg and has CO2 emissions of 215 grams per kilometer.