It’s called APX, which stands for Aluminium Performance Crossover. But at Lotus, where the concept car was designed and prepared for the Geneva Show, they talk quietly about a “Jekyll and Hyde” car. With no brand name to identify it as a Lotus, it really takes the split personality concept to extremes. It doesn’t matter which is Jekyll and which Hyde, which is good and which evil; Russell Carr, head of design, speaks simply of “coupé type styling and Mpv practicality”.

The APX is a sportwagon with four drive wheels, a powerful V6 3 litre engine developed by Lotus that delivers 300 bhp, has highly modern, muscular forms with protruding wheels and wings as the fashion of the moment requires, and an interior configuration of five seats plus two. “That third row,” explains Carr, “means that the roof line is rather high, so we have had to resort to expedients with the lines of the side panel to make the car look low and sporty”.

A great deal of attention went into the design of the interior so that the resulting structure would be logical for the driver. The main instrumentation collects the greatest possible amount of information in a blend of digital and analogical that comprises satellite navigation and audio functions. “Cars,” as Carr explains, “are becoming more and more complicated. Those looking for a fast drive have to know where everything is”.

And everything’s got to be pretty: after trying out various colour schemes, Lotus went for steel colour for the externals, and black glossy plastic and grey leather for the interior. “These are colours,” Carr insists, “that best reflect the spirit of the car: sporty and dynamic outside, very comfortable and luxurious inside”

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 159

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