Lotus is a small British sports car company that abides by the automotive philosophy of its founder, Colin Chapman, who believed that cars should be as light as possible in order to ensure agile handling dynamics.
Chapman's vision is currently best embodied by the Elise, a tiny, mid-engined sprite of a sports car with razor-sharp responses and a removable targa-top. Thanks to a minimalistic design and fiberglass and aluminum components, the Elise...
checks in at under 2,000 pounds, far less than virtually any other modern cars.
Though increasingly stringent safety regulations have forced Lotus to pull the Elise from the U.S. market, the brand still offers the Evora, which is larger and can seat four but is still quite light.
Though many older Lotus models, especially those fitted with Lucas "prince of darkness" electrical systems, had somewhat spotty reliability records, the company currently sources its engines from Japanese automaker Toyota, which enjoys an excellent reputation for quality.
In the past, Lotus was known as a ground breaking company thanks largely to the astute leadership of Chapman, who pioneered the use of the independent, strut-type rear suspension as well as the monocoque chassis. These features helped to cut excess weight and improve handling.
The company also has a long and successful history in Formula One racing, with seven Constructor's Championships and six Driver's Championships to its credit, as well as experience in the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race.
In 2010, Lotus announced ambitious plans to expand its current lineup with a staggering five new models, the most expensive of which would compete with prestigious offerings from Maserati, Ferrari and Aston Martin.
However, development funding ultimately proved hard to come by, and Lotus' latest owner, Malaysian industrial conglomerate DRB-HICOM, has decided to abandon the earlier expansion strategy. Instead, Lotus will focus on updating and introducing new variants of its existing offerings for the foreseeable future.