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Lotus confirms crossover production plan

Designed as a rival to the Porsche Macan, the five-door crossover will be built in China.

Lotus has confirmed plans to build a sports crossover, which it hopes will quickly become the hottest seller in the lineup.

Speaking to Autocar, Lotus chief executive Jean-Marc Gales suggests the as-yet-unnamed model will be the "world's first lightweight SUV," and will consequently maintain the essence of a "real Lotus" despite its higher ride height. The executive previously promised that a Lotus-badged utility vehicle would be very fast on the track, with "outstanding handling" that will help it reinvent the segment.

A four-door sports car was also under consideration, but the company appears to have dropped immediate plans for another car in favor of a foray into the fast-growing crossover market.

Previous reports suggested the soft-roader would be a two-door model based on the mid-engined Evora coupe, though the latest details point to a five-door configuration. All-wheel-drive is expected to be offered as an upgrade option, and the build will likely be a bit lower and wider than the Macan and the Audi Q5.

The model is expected to be presented as a rival to the Porsche Macan, designed with Chinese tastes in mind. It will be designed at the company's UK design headquarters, but built in China via a joint venture involving China's Goldstar Heavy Industrial.

The company is said to be sticking with the a name that starts with 'E' for the production model, which could arrive on the market in 2019. Gales has been hesitant to confirm a US launch, citing the expense of necessary safety modifications, but the proposal has not been completely ruled out.

Image by Ronan Glon.

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