Event>>paris Motor Show 2010 – Part 1

The Paris Motor Show may have long gone, but there was a real sense of optimism at the event, following the long period of uncertainty brought on by the credit crisis.

While I wasn’t at the event, the designers I have spoken to say there was a new sense of adrenaline and get up and go as companies realize they have to deliver ‘now’ as the market is recovering. Concepts were in abundance, as they are quicker to produce than a production car. Many people write off concepts, but they do indicate future trends and production car using extreme form and detail.

All eyes were on the Lotus stand at the show. Lotus is a complicated company!  Lotus Group, owns Lotus Cars, which is separate to Lotus Racing Formula One team and Team Lotus.

Lotus Group is owned by Proton and has recently brought in a number of figureheads from other companies such as Ferrari. To showcase this new erato for Lotus, new Design Director, Donato Coco showed five concepts indicating future direction and model ranges. Despite skepticism, Lotus say all will go into production!

Gone are the lightweight, almost ‘kit-car’ style build and fitment. Inits place, high-end cars, clearly focused on the likes of Porsche and Ferrari. The weight has shot up as well, much to the dismay of traditional Lotus buyers….. .

…But here lies the problem. In its current form, Lotus isn’t profitable so a change in direction is needed.

After many false starts and cancelled projects, the Esprit name returns with this concept.

Not scheduled to reach production until 2013, this concept looks close to production and showcases Lotus new design language with its angular form, reversed rake front end and thin, angled front and rear lights. The front end graphic is a little generic and as far away from Lotus as you could possibly imagine.

I do like the character lines and creases around the car, particularly around the side engine air intakes which feed the Toyota sourced 5.0 V8 powerplant.The rear is dramatic with exposed carbon fibre, blending into the diffuser. Great contrast with the White paintwork. The Esprit is the best design of the five concepts.

The Lotus Elan is closest in form to its 1990’s predecessor. Sharing the same design language as the Esprit, the form on the side has some influence from the Peter Stevens Elan with its tall sides and taper.

Lotus plan to have the Elan in production within two years and is powered by a 450hp 4.0 Litre Supercharged V6. This and the Esprit work for me.

The Elite concept is a front-mid engine four seater grand-tourer and has a folding hardtop. These are hard to engineer and heavy, hence the +3000lb weight.

As a Lotus fan, I’m struggling to get my head around a 3000lb Lotus!!  This rear view, recently released by Lotus does remind me of a mid-nineties Alfa Romeo Spyder!

Production is scheduled for 2014.

This is the new Lotus Elise. A huge departure from the current Elise.

This new generation car would be powered by 320hp Turbocharged Toyota 2.0 Litre engine.  Most visible is a shift up market into true Porsche territory. The black area on the top of the rear fenders and rear end is unusual.

Following Aston Martin and Porsche, Lotus final concept is a four sedan. The Eterne has an optional hybrid powerplant. The common design language at the front morphs into softer, more elegant form along the side.

Lotus say all these concepts will be produced, but I would expect this model to be most at risk. Very new territory for Lotus and this concept still looked like it was in its early stages.

So, what do Speedhunters think?

Do you like the new Styling and direction at Lotus?  What would Colin Chapman Say to a 3500lb Lotus?

Personally, I like the Esprit and Elan, but I’m concerned heritage and legacy is being left behind. The styling looks as if it could have come from Honda or Toyota. Launching five new cars in the next five years is very aggressive for such a small company.

Elswhere, Renault showed off their new DeZir concept, which is the first Renault for Design chief, Laurens van Den Acker.  The dutch designer was previously Head of Global design at Mazda. The brief was to design a ‘sensual’ car with soft, voluptuous forms.

The chrome ‘blade’ does remind people of the Audi R8, but this concept is more than that. From a design point of view, this car is very well resolved. A real breath of fresh air and the exterior looks quite close to production ready. I love how the LED’s are integrated into the design front and rear.

Expect the front end to transfer to production cars in a more diluted state.

Inside, the De Zir is very different! Real pie-in-the-sky concept! Interesting centre console.

Jaguar surprised many with their C-X75 concept. With hints of the XJ220 and the iconic XJ-13 and E-type, this shows the future design language for Jaguar coupes. The XF and new XJ have been well received and the CX-75 shows off a similar squared off grille.

The Jaguar has some very well developed form with soft elegant surfacing, as a Jaguar should. This does seem to be a trend, as the industry moves away from sharp forms. Note the Renault.

Under the skin, the concept uses a pair of 96 horsepower turbines, sinning at 80,000rpm!  This feeds Electric Motors for an estimated 780hp!!!!

Not all cars have soft and elegant form

The Audi Quattro Concept celebrates original Sport Quattro from the mid-1980’s and has a very aggressive front end. Derived from a A5 coupe, still evident in side view, the front has a more extreme version of the Audi grille with tall outer air intakes, similar to their earlier E-tron concept.

The character line running from front to rear lights rises over the wheels to hint at the original  Quattro blister arches. The relatively short wheelbase also reminds us of the Quattro Sport which was developed for Rallying. I find the rear disappointing.

Audi also showed a model of the concept with retro Audi Sport graphics and Sport S2 bodykit. A homage to the past…or a hint at the future?

The new A1 at the show, also showed off retro Audi Sport colours…..

Lamborghini have been long associated with sharp, angular form and their latest concept the ‘Sesto Elemento’ is no exception. The car is instantly recognizable as a Lamborghini with its deep chin spoiler, angled front end and rear form and relatively flat front windscreen.

In side elevation, the concept lacks the clean lines of the Gallardo and Murcielargo and is closer to the Reventon.  It is a very ‘cab-forward’ design.

Some very nice details at the rear and on the engine cover.

Will the Murcielargo replacement look like this? Do you like it?

The Kia Pop is the typical concept you see at Motor Show! Look closely and it is some cool features. I like the integration of the LED lights at the rear and the asymmetric rear screen.  The interior is very minimalist and reminds me of a modern day Bond-Bug (Younger Speedhunters will have to Google that!).  I wonder if Kia might put something like this in Production. This is how the Soul started out.

In my next post, we will look at some of the production cars including the next generation Ford Focus ST and a trio of new WRC machines.

– Andy Blackmore

Images: Newspress, Lotus, Audi, Renault, Kia



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feckin ugly cars... probly cost like 500,000 each


I was j'habte Paris.

I was looking for SPEEDHUNTERS everywhere but nothing.

Quite the show.


kia poop ?


dont like the new diection of lotus


I kind of like the new lotus direction. It's smart the direction their going because if they want to be profitable this is probably the only way. But it's just my opinion.


Lotus, if you can even call it that now, is dead to me.


loving the new direction for lotus

the elise specs still claim it will be very light

just tipping the 1000kg so not that much heavier

i hope they are successful

the new lamborghini is pretty exciting


i relise this queston would have been asked before on other forums, conversations etc but why do companys never make there end product like the concepts they produce? 95% of the time they look far superior! fair enough the crazy interiors normally used in concepts but why not the shape or look of the car?


The Elise front end looks mean! dont like the narrow coupe department, thats the ugliest part on a Zonda. and Espirit looks ok same with that Elan. Gonna look good when they are done. They should evolve what they have design wise as the current cars looks so good. Chapman would not agreed.

I audi rear end does look like a hatchback and i too find it disappointing. that S2 variant looks SICK tho..

the "cab-forward' design." is the sporty look that never fails for MR. lotus has it now and pretty much all legends has it in the supersport segment.


Awesome cars. Love the Audi Quattro Concept S2 BodyKit, could you please post more pics.



I thought the Elan was designed to be a cheap affordable car? I've got nothing against the Elite, Espirt, Elise, Eterne and even the City Car, but to me the Elan seems to defeat the point. I hope the Evora stays as a entry level sportscar. Lotus could develop it to try and beat the MX-5.

Still if Lotus wants to be up there with the big guys then the best way of doing it is by being unique and showing what makes Lotus, Louts.


Awesome! Just awesome!


Lotus.. taking the elise into the supercar realm - good idea for a well known and established brand.. Auidi doing big things too - some clever ideas.


I've always loved lotus just because they fit into that super-light niche. If I were looking for an aston-martin like car, I would get an aston. If I were looking for a Porsche, I would get a Porsche. I can see why they are necessary, but the only Lotuses that will ever appeal to me are the Elise and Exige.

Also, that lambo looks intensely cool, except for the back end. That still needs some work.


I'd like to meet the author photos ...


All are horrible :(


i agree with u Mr Blackmore.

I also think that Lotus is very bold to launch 5 new cars in such a competitive market. It's a pity that nowadays a lot of brands lose (or leave aside ) their identities to do Porsche-look-and-drive-alikes.

first Nissan with its R35GTR, Z, now lotus with the evora and those upcoming sportscars.

Let Porsche build Porsches and for Lotus, keep making brand identity-friendly cars. I don't mind a 458 aiming esprit as long as it weighs less than 1350kg and and there's no manetino on the steering wheel.

What is a real shame is to lose the elise/exige lightweight concept, as it's the essence of Lotus, it's Chapmann's Will and it'll be replaced by some +1000kg thing THAT IS NO ELISE.


that elise looks amazing... atleast the rearend does. lotus should keep the previous front end


excellent post. You obviously understand design.

Lotus is taking a big risk. The Esprit looks good. Poor Colin Chapman, he would spin in his grave....

The Renault and Jaguar are stunning.

I love the Kia. Imagine if it went into production


I am really NOT feeling the new Lotus cars at all. I'm sure Colin Chapman is rolling in his grave right now. Could they stray any farther from what a Lotus should be?!


By the time these cars go into productiion theyre all gonna end up looking like Prius's or something because of regulations


IM really digging those new lotus cars. future looks good though.


A heavy Lotus? Five of them? They'll either only be bought by posers (albeit wealthy ones), or it'll be the end of Lotus. Either of which would be sad in their own way.


old school > new school

these cars are getting to crazy with their designs


Roustnvega – Concepts help drive future development technically, materials and also styling direction. It also allows the designers and engineers to be creative (you would lose creativity if you just designed door handles every day of the week….). Concepts are also used to test the waters with the public, to get reaction, marketing etc and sometimes prepare for a big change in direction in the marketplace.


Concepts are also very quick to produce. Some can be built in a few months, whereas a production car can be 3-5 years development. You want to test and explore on concepts, not on Production. Sometimes concepts will go into production, but they are often watered down. EG: Chevy Volt, Kia Soul, Porsche Boxster. Some cars like the original Nissan Cube, Kia Soul, Original Audi TT went into production quickly after with few changes.


Hugo Silva – only image we have access to


Elddim – Most of the images are from a Car Press site, a few from manufacturers.


Digging the Elite, Elan and the Pop!

BTW, those Lotus actually look nice, a nice change for once.


the new direstion of lotus is quite good, but at least give us one light weight model. that's what they are good in right?


LOVE the Elise, Love the Espirit, Love the Jag, Love the Audi Quattro. HATE the Lambo, hate the Eterne, oh, and that last bit about the Kia.


Audi QUATTRO revival - WIN!


I have 2 cars which I love, and aim to own in the future.

One would be the MX5 NA, and the other would be the first generation Lotus Elise.

Seeing the new Elise seems to put me off the idea of owning an Elise, first generation or not :(


Buncha haters over here


An absolute travesty for Lotus. Seriously, hiring the fired designer Donato Coco from Ferrari who obviously has Lambos and Toyotas on his brain has destroyed the brand. The generic (possibly russian) student "angry" design language does nothing to communicate the essence of what Chapman accomplished. Such a shame...but I do agree they need to up the ante somewhat and lanuching 6 concepts *including the little electric city car* is a great thing to do, but not like this guys!!!! I feel a "Save Lotus" campaign coming on!


Is there only one guy designing cars nowadays? Just about every concept car in the last 4 or 5 years has looked like a variation of the same design!


In lightweight composites we trust...

The lotus lineup looks good,

will open up their market,

is chop full of technology,

and look to be good movers.

Only thing they have to do is KEEP THE WEIGHT DOWN.

Look Im expecting all these cars to weight more that their predictors

but with that said their is alot of new technology out there using carbon composite and other materials that are strong lightweight and becoming cheaper to make.

if they make a 200hp na Elise thats in the 2200-2400lb range along with a chart topping 300hp Exige version they will be fine.

If the Espirit and Elan can stay sub 3000lbs with 400 and 500hp they will be fine.

and as for their luxo Etern and Elite I dont think anyone in the market for those types will be looking at weight.

While the company spirit is dying in many ways, I believe they will still be able to Keep Chapmans Principals alive in the form of some of their platforms...

Abandoning your base is marketing suicide...


firstly, new audi is a good direction imo, think it looks angry as hell, and the race concept was off its lips.

secondly, a very different direction for lotus, but as you noted, they are not currently profitable, and in order to make the lightweight, agile and wickedly fast cars we all know and love, they must first have some bread winning cars that enable them to make the cars they want to, and not have to depend on these making a profit.

IMO whatever lotus needs to do to stay in the game is par for the course, because if they cease to produce cars then the automotive world has lost a truly significant member.

Toyota engines all round too. cant go wrong !!! :)




wow..some crazy concepts...me likey

hey andy did Pagani show the new Zonda 750??


The only concepts i like on this post are the Lotus'.They are all great looking cars, deliver what they promise and still have the Lotus genes in there with it although the larger model is a bit different, its good to see Lotus expanding and getting out of the box they've stuck themselves in for so long.


ha, if its not a silvia , drifting or anything with "hellaflush" wheels then you idiots hate it.

Just stick to the stupid wheel offsets and watching cars powerslide. losers.


Love the Sesto Elemento !. Any chance of some pics of the Lime green Lambo ?.


Love 'em all except for the renault and kia... obviously.


whatever happened to gradual changes? its working for lotus, whatever they are doing. everybody, excluding Audi... just is going the wrong direction with their designs..


they all look the same wtf


Lotus' look pretty good, as long as the Elise is a featherweight, then I think their gonna do just fine. The Audi and the Jaguar are awesome too, but that Lambo sucks. It looks like a Gallardo designed by a elementary kid.


jeesus that lambo is nuts.


i like the new direction of lotus! but is it me but do they all look the same but some are small and some are larger?!

oh and the new lambo looks like a deformed donkey...i dont like it..!


I'm not a big fan of Audi or modern cars, but the quattro concept looks cool!!!


Upside-down bathtubs and clay filled balloons. Sigh.


oooooo, im loving all of this. makes me wonder what super car ima get one of these days


oooooo, im loving all of this. makes me wonder what super car ima get one of these days


It's the 80's all over again. That is a bad thing in my opinion, no more sleak curvey designs, its all angular boxes for the next decade. I'll stick to my 240Z thanks.


I love the new direction Lotus is going in. I'm not crazy about their cabrio or sedan but the Esprit is a very cool car.


nice coverage, desktop of lambo + girl would be nice :)


spelling mistake... its murcielago not murcilaRgo


Agree with David, Lotus is far away from its brand identity and essence...

The Elan's design is cool but it's just not an Elan anymore, would have loved to see them revive a small roadster like the one in the 70's that would have been in the MX-5 range...


I agree about the new Lotus designs, the Esprit and Elan are beautiful, but i think the risks they'd be taking with the other three are too great, and the look of the Elise concept simply doesn't fit. Let's not even discuss the names.


I actually quite like the Audi's rear end, it's a little awkward but also very unique. In a very backwards way from your take on the situation, Andy, I actually dislike the *front* of that concept, it's just too 2005. Audi may have pioneered some new lines and details (LED light bar, anyone?), but it's beginning to look dated. Basically everything from the beginning of the greenhouse and back is much to my liking. I'd have to see the back of the S2-kitted one, but the front looks silly.


As for the Lamborghini... Ohhhhhh poor, poor Lambo. I vomited a bit in my mouth when i saw this thing on Jon Sibal's blog a couple of months ago, and i still don't like it. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it really is making me upset to look at it haha.. maybe it's the engine cover and the liberal use of red accents. I really hope they do not intend to produce this, or if they do that it be the Gallardo's replacement and not the Murcielago. Sure that lineage has had some fairly crazy-looking cars in the past (LP500, anyone?), but they had a certain unity of design to them... it feels like this Sesto Elemento is disjointed and at odds with itself. Lose the crazy engine cover and the deep gashes in the front bonnet and maybe they'd have something.