PH Blog: why Lotus-Mansory makes sense

"It's been looming but, as of today - with the heaviest of hearts - Lotus Cars, you are dead to me. Gutted. Angry." This Tweet by our very own Chris Harris echoed the sentiments of a lot of PHers responding to our story yesterday about Lotus's partnership with Mansory.

This may be the rashest thing I've ever said but, humbly, I beg to differ.

The look on Garlick's face when I expressed this thought yesterday was a picture. I don't know if it was horror, disappointment, anger or shock. Maybe all of them. Frankly I feel a mixture of all of the above at myself!

But take a step back and, you know what, I don't think this is quite the death of all things held dear to 'proper' Lotus fans like us.

The case for the prosecution is pretty compelling though. Mansory is, after all, the embodiment of all things ugly in the world of automotive bling. Fine, there are people who want bronze carbon weave in their Veyrons or a gold grille on their bright purple Roller. But, I think it's safe to say, they're not the kind of people many of us want to be associated with.

They're especially not the kind of people a purist brand like Lotus should be associated with, or so the assumption goes. Especially after what Mansory did to the McLaren MP4-12C at Geneva, our man Harris getting some very filthy looks from folk on the stand after loudly expressing exactly what he thought about it on the press day.

And coming on top of Bahar-era Lotus's increasingly desperate attempts to flirt with celebrity, drop the whole 'add lightness' and motorsport heritage thing and generally embrace the uglier side of supercar culture, you can see why the word 'Mansory' could be viewed as the final nail in the coffin.

I went through exactly this thought process a year ago when I heard about the Mansory Evora concept. And then I saw it and I thought "blimey, you know, that doesn't actually look half bad." And it doesn't. Restraint isn't a word you usually associate with Mansory, but the addition of a few carbon bits really gave the Evora some welcome extra presence, while not detracting from the bits we do like.

Let's face it, there are few complaints about the way Lotuses drive. But while we praise the chassis engineering, Jim Clark heritage and steering feel until blue in the face still we still seem quick to dish out the 'smells of glue, stitching on the dash is a bit wonky, will probably break down, built by turnip farmers' stereotypes too.

Put bluntly, as good as Lotus is at making a car that goes and handles like nothing else it's the details that sometimes let the cars down. The kind of details that might make a Lotus-curious Porsche owner run from the showroom and back into the welcoming arms of a new Cayman or 911 before he's even had a chance to drive it and find out what the fuss is about.

Mansory hasn't been called in to change the way the Evora drives. Its expertise is in craftsmanship and quality, even if the way that's expressed isn't exactly to PH tastes. And it's an interesting role reversal that Lotus, whose reputation for chassis work has been called upon by many manufacturers over the years, has turned things on their head by looking for a bit of outside help to bring a bit of polish to the product. After all, it's not like Evoras have exactly been flying out of the showrooms as it is.

Drop the prejudice, forget the Mansory name and Swizz Beatz association for a moment and just look at the car. Yes, in the context of what's been going on at Lotus this tie-up sounds like an utter rejection of brand values we all hold dear. And there remains much of concern.

But you know what? This isn't the most worrying thing that's happened at Hethel in the past few years.


Comments (141) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Stu_00 27 Mar 2012

    If they make money out of the rich to keep Lotus in business then bring it on!

    I agree with the comments but they need to make some big money, and Elise/Exige drivers are not going to do that alone.

    Hopefully after they make the money they will then perfect the V6 Exige and maybe put in a McLaren V8, that could be a nice British combo (Never going to happen...)

  • redsq01 27 Mar 2012

    Given that Mansory appear to have made a decent stab at making the Maclaren exciting as opposed to the blandest supercar on the road then they should have a stab at turning the Evora from a horrible blot on the landscape to a machine worthy of a 60K price tag.

  • Dodgey_Rog 27 Mar 2012

    Wow, nice to read somebody say something positive about Lotus for a change, we're a minority on PH it seems...?

    Nice article.

  • sunsurfer 27 Mar 2012

    Hear hear, I agree absolutely. Anything which sells Loti is good and will lead to the development and continuation of this much loved marque.

    Personal taste is subjective. I think we should be careful of inverted snobbery where anything 'bling' is bad.

    For all the guys at Lotus - keep plugging away and I hope to buy your cars some day.

  • Craiglamuffin 27 Mar 2012

    Interesting to read the other side of the argument.

    It may be simplistic, but for me the addition of Mansory makes the original brand values of purist simplicity null and void... I just can't accept them both. So if I no longer believe the original brand qualities apply, it just leaves these new ones, which I don't like.

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