British sports car manufacturer Lotus is planning to unveil a completely new model at the British motor show in July.
The new car, which has been codenamed 'Project Eagle', is expected to go into production at the end of this year and will go on sale in early 2009.
Lotus engineers have been working on the new model for the past 15 months, and heavily disguised prototypes are currently undergoing tests.
A Lotus insider said: 'When Elise or Exige owners get older and have children, they might have to let go of their pride and joy and not return to Lotus cars until they retire.'
'The idea with this model is to offer those customers a proper sports car but with day-to-day practicality.'
The project has been headed by Russell Carr, the man responsible for the Elise, Exige and second-generation Europa.
The new car will have a completely different platform made of aluminium, and has been designed using Lotus' Versatile Vehicle Architecture (VVA) system.
The system means that Lotus can adjust the size of the platform easily. The technique was revealed by Lotus at the Geneva motor show in 2006, when the company used an MPV shape to demonstrate the system's flexibility.
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