The Evora 400 roadster will be nearly identical to its hardtop counterpart from the rocker panels up to the belt line. Above that, it will feature a pair of removable carbon fiber roof panels that will weigh about six and a half pounds each. The panels will be small enough to fit in the Evora’s trunk.
Jean-Marc Gales told Automotive News he expects demand for the open-topped model likely will match that for the coupe, with each expected to sell around 500 a year in the U.S.
“The roadster is the quintessential U.S. car,” he said. “We are betting heavily on Florida and California with it.”
Lotus hopes this is the automaker’s big chance to turn things around in the U.S. Lotus was forced to withdraw its sole model after the 2014 model year for failing to meet U.S. safety regulations requiring smart airbags, which detect when a passenger is buckled in. The 400 is now compliant, and includes other modifications such as an increase in power for the Toyota-sourced 3.5-liter supercharged V-6 engine to 400 hp, up from 345 hp.
Lotus’ biggest year for sales in the U.S. came in 2005, when it sold around 2,000 cars, mainly its entry-level model, the Elise two-seater. Gales declined to say whether he plans to reintroduce that model, which is still sold in other global markets.
Gales said the next model to come to the U.S. will be a “lighter, faster” version of the Evora 400.