2017 Lotus Evora 400, 2015 Geneva Motor ShowEnlarge Photo
News about a convertible version of the Evora sports car dates back several years but until now Lotus hasn’t enjoyed the financial and managerial stability to actually go through with the project.
With new CEO Jean-Marc Gales at the helm, Lotus has finally confirmed to Autocar that a convertible version of the latest Evora 400 will soon join the coupe in showrooms. The coupe goes on sale in the United States in December, as a 2017 model and with a starting price of $89,900. The convertible is expected to arrive next summer.
To accelerate development and keep production costs low, the Evora 400 convertible will forgo an automated folding roof in favor of two removable panels that stow away behind the front seats. Such a design would mean the car’s rear seats can remain, and it would also save a great deal of weight and complexity. The two roof panels are said to weigh just 6.6 pounds each.
And because of the design of the Evora 400’s aluminum tub, there will be no loss in structural rigidity with the roof missing, meaning engineers won’t have to increase weight with structural reinforcements. This means performance of the convertible will be comparable to that of the coupe. The Evora 400 sprints from 0-60 mph in just 4.1 seconds and keeps accelerating until it maxes out at 186 mph.
An Evora 400 convertible is seen as crucial to rebuilding the Lotus brand in the neglected U.S. market. Recently, the automaker established a new head office here and expanded its dealer network. Lotus is currently on track to selling 3,000 cars worldwide this year, up from just over 2,000 last year and just 1,200 the year before that.