British automaker Lotus, which has an extensive history in Formula One racing, currently sells three sports cars in the U.S. market, all based on the same principles: light weight, mid-engine placement and rear-wheel drive.
The Elise is a two-seat convertible or roadster, powered by regular or supercharged Toyota four-cylinder engines. The Exige is a hardtop version of the Elise optimized for track driving and offering fewer creature comforts; it comes only with the supercharged engine. The newest addition is the Evora, a hardtop two-door "2+2." The plus-two stands for two small rear seats that combine with more amenities to make the Evora a more likely daily driver than the other Lotus models. The Evora has a 3.5-liter V-6, also from Toyota.
Lotus has been involved in many other automakers' projects, including Tesla's electric Roadster, whose underpinnings are manufactured in Lotus' factory in Great Britain. The Elise's lightweight chassis has been a go-to foundation for many concept and experimental cars, especially those with high-efficiency goals.
Headquartered in Hethel, Norfolk, England, Lotus is wholly owned by Proton, a Malaysian auto manufacturer.
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