For the first time since the death of creator Colin Chapman - or did he disappear and has been living in the Bahamas? No, let’s not go there - British sports car manufacturer Lotus Cars is set to announce a profitable year for its road car operation.
Underwriting that black ink is the phenomenal sales success of the Lotus Evora 400 in North America where orders now stretch out to March next year.
So the workforce of 800 employees is now crafting annual production of 2,000 vehicles (up from a low of 1,400 in 2014).
While talk continues of a compact SUV for Lotus, there is no doubt its current financial performance stems from a focus on limited edition versions of current cars rather than the costly development of all-new models.
And to celebrate, Lotus has unveiled a new range-topping Exige billed as the fastest to-date.
Called the Exige Sport 380 (pictured), the newcomer tips the scales at 1,066kgs – 25kgs less than the Exige Sport 350 – and rockets from zero to 100km/h in just 3.7 seconds (faster than the Porsche 911 R).
Lotus enthusiasts will pick the Exige Sport 380’s carbon fibre front splitter, front access panel, rear wing and diffuser – part of an enhanced aero package delivering 60 per-cent more downforce without inducing extra drag.
Other weight savings come from a polycarbonate rear window, carbon race seats, lithium-ion battery, grooved two-piece brake discs and ultra-light forged alloy wheels.
Under the bonnet, output of the Toyota supercharged 3.5-litre V6 engine has been boosted to 280kW/410Nm thanks to a new exhaust system, recalibrated ECU, better fuel pump and revised supercharger pulley.
And the driving experience is improved courtesy of a new open-gate six-speed manual gearbox.
Those keen on track days can opt for a Track Pack with extras which include Nitron adjustable dampers.
Rounding-out the good news, Lotus chief Jean-Marc Gales said: “Not since the Chapman era has the car side of Lotus turned an operating profit. Today we have approximately 800 employees producing over 2000 cars a year, all of which are a much higher quality than before. And we are also now selling top quality cars in the United States, where they seem to understand and connect with our cars nowadays.”
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