Lotus Design and Technical Prowess Honored Date: 22 October 1996

Contact: Christopher A. Sawyer and Cynthia Claes

Despite fierce competition from the world's largest automakers, British sports car manufacturer Lotus garnered five awards from a trio of international organizations at the 1996 Birmingham Motor Show.

On October 15, the Lotus Elise was honored with three CAR magazine Design & Technology Awards. Jackie Stewart, three-time Formula One World Champion, presented Lotus with the prestigious Readers' Vote for the Best Designed New Car. The Elise also won awards for Most Innovative Production Car and Best Single Innovation. The latter prize singled out the car's lightweight extruded aluminum chassis and metal-matrix composite brakes.

The next day, Lotus was the recipient of two more awards for technical innovation. Autocar presented its Technical Award to the Elise for its innovative extruded aluminum chassis. In addition, jurists for the European Aluminum Automotive Awards voted to give the Elise a medal in its passenger car category.

Though not homologated for sale in the North American market, the Elise will make its US debut at the 1996 Boston Auto Show. Yet it is just the latest example of the depth of design and technical innovation found at Lotus.

A further example of the company's proficiency is found in the 1997 Lotus Esprit V8. Its 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged engine sets new standards in performance and efficiency. The all-aluminum design packs 350 hp and 295 lb. ft. of torque into a package that measures just 23 in. long by 28 in. wide by 24 in. high fully dressed. These dimensions allow this potent motor to fit easily inot a space previously occupied by an in-line four-cylinder.

U.S. enthusiasts have embrassed the 1997 Esprit V8. Fifty of the new Esprit V8s were allocated to Lotus Cars USA (LCU) through December 31, 1996. However, strong demand for the legendary British supercar saw dealers take 67 orders in its first 60 days of availability.