Lotus is planning a concept extravaganza for next week's 2010 Paris Auto Show, including a new take on the Esprit supercar, and today we have a glimpse of one of the vehicles that will be gracing the stands of the niche British sports car company. 

Described as the embodiment of Lotus’ new era, the striking Lotus Elite adopts a “modern classic" look and is just the first taste of what’s to come from the company in the future. Yes, that’s right. The Elite is labeled as a “production intent prototype and is scheduled to go on sale in 2014 with a pricetag around £115,000 (approximately $180,000). 

With the Elite, the modern classic attributes are not just concerned with styling. The Elite’s slick retractable hard top and the optional use of hybrid technology with KERS are typical examples of Lotus tailoring technology to deliver perfect performance. 

Like the current Evora, the Elite is a 2+2 grand tourer but is unique in that it features a new front-engine and rear drive platform. Power comes from a 5.0-liter V-8 with an integrated energy recovery system churning out 612 horsepower and 530 pound-feet of torque. Acceleration from 0-62 mph is expected to be around the 3.5 seconds mark while top speed is an estimated 196 mph.

For decades Lotus has stood by the philosophy of its founder, Colin Chapman, of performance though low weight. But in a world where increased sales and growing profits are the most desired end goals, Lotus is abandoning Chapman’s original philosophy and going after the performance/luxury market. 

With the likes of Porsche, Aston Martin and Ferrari in its crosshairs, it’s not surprising that the new Lotus Elite is significantly heavier and more powerful than the company’s current offerings. In fact, with an expected kerb weight of 3,637 pounds, the Elite is very different to Lotus’ usual assortment of light weight track cars but its designers are confident it will still have the ultimate sports car feel--just with a little more comfort and space.