Lotus CEO Jean Marc Gales revealed that the brand's long-mooted SUV is due to arrive in less than four years, just in time to battle rivals such as the Maserati Levante and Porsche Macan.
The British carmaker will cherry-pick platform modules from its parent company, Geely, with the intention of creating a Levante-sized car that weighing less than two tonnes. “It will go round bends like nothing else in its segment,” said Gales. “If we fail on that, we fail the project.”
Geely-owned Volvo will be a big source of parts for this SUV. The car will likely use elements of the SPA platform. This is the same platform that underpins Volvo's XC90 and XC60, both of which are relatively light SUVs, as a result of the platform’s use of high-strength steel. Although the SPA structure would restrict the car to four-cylinder engines, Gales said the car will be available with a hybrid variant. Volvo’s XC90 Twin Engine hybrid makes 401bhp. An increase on that can be expected, considering Lotus’s skill at extracting power from its Toyota engines.
The SUV will also be using Volvo’s electric architecture and equipment – including its large touchscreen. “I love the new Volvo interiors because they are so simple,” said Gales.” The screen is great.” He, however, rule out the idea of using the same screen in future sports cars, the first of which is expected to arrive in 2020.
Gales also added that the new SUV’s design will be finalised within the next two months. Patent drawings have offered people an early glimpse of how the car could look on completion. The SUV doesn’t need a sports-car-like front-end as seen in the style of the Porsche Cayenne; but Gale said that it does need to be recognisably a Lotus. He also praised the design of the Alfa Romeo Stelvio. “Take away the badge and you would probably say that was an Alfa,” he said.
Lotus is hiring 250 new engineers at its Hethel base to work on the new SUV and the new sports cars. China is likely to be the primary build location for the SUV but Gales didn’t rule out the UK. “I can imagine two places, worldwide, and I’d love one for the UK, but I want to know what happens after Brexit,” he said.
The new SUV is expected to be priced at around £60,000-£70,000 (Rs 54-64 lakh, approx).