PARIS — Think of it as a statement of intent, says Lotus of its Eterne luxury four-seater GT hybrid, which bears quite a resemblance to Aston Martin’s four-door Rapide. That intent is planning for a launch in spring 2015. The Eterne debuted today at the 2010 Paris Auto Show.
The Eterne would be Lotus’ first four-door sedan if it makes the showroom, powered by the same Toyota-sourced 620-horsepower 5.0-liter V8 employed by the new Esprit. A hybrid drive system is optional, comprising electric motors and a Formula-1-style KERS energy recuperation system. The Eterne will be offered in both rear- and all-wheel-drive forms with a full hybrid transmission that’s good for 196 mph and a 0-60-mph time of 4.0 seconds. It’s projected to cost $190,000.
The lack of a B-pillar and the somewhat generic styling of this car indicate that the launch of a four-door Lotus is more of an ambition than a reality at this stage, although Lotus CEO Dany Bahar says: “We truly believe that there is a market for the Eterne. There is nothing else like it out there in terms of design, capacity and performance.”
A glance at the Rapide, not to mention Maserati’s Quattroporte and the Porsche Panamera, would suggest that the Eterne is hardly unique, although none of these is yet a hybrid. Bahar reckons that “the Eterne is sensational to look at, and as with the rest of the range, it also overdelivers in all other aspects as well. Similar to the Elite, it’s a car of perfect contradictions — it’s compact yet spacious, high-performing yet low-emitting, relatively lightweight yet still reassuringly solid.”
Whether Lotus’ ambitions for this four-door are as solid remains to be seen.