Assume the Lotus position

Everyone’s favourite sports car maker that isn’t also a hedge fund Lotus have announced five – five! – new models in one hit. You’ll want to make room in your garage for the new Esprit: it’s going to pack a supercharged 5-litre V8 that pumps out 620 horsepower, and it looks very very very nice. (The Elite, due in 2014, could be a winner as well – the same engine as the Esprit, but in a hardtop convertible. One, please.)

In related news, next year’s Formula 1 season will be a tad confusing:

For the 2011 season, a Malaysian team in black and gold livery named Lotus will be joined by a Malaysian team in black and gold livery named Lotus. […]

This morning, Lotus Group has announced that they have acquired Renault F1, which will become Lotus Renault GP for the 2011 Formula One season, racing in Team Lotus’s black and gold livery from the 1970’s. Those of you following Formula One news will recall that Lotus Racing, one of the new teams which competed in the 2010 season, will also be racing in black and gold and will be renamed Team Lotus for 2011.

I like Lotus as much as the next man, and the black and gold Lotus/JPS livery is a racing classic right up there with Ferrari red … but isn’t that too much of a good thing?

And if you want one of those flash new Lotuses in Singapore, you’re going to have to pay up for it. CoE premiums – basically the price you pay to the government to be able to buy a car – have rocketed higher in the latest round of auctions; the certificate for a car less than 1.6 litres now costs $47,000, and for a bigger car than that it’s $65,000(!).

And that’s sent car prices here into orbit. Have a look at Toyota’s Singapore price list – a 1.5-litre Yaris that sells for 12,000 quid (or 14,000 American pesos) costs eighty-five thousand SGD. And then there’s the 100% import tax on cars, over and above the CoE cost – so a 911 starts from SGD 425,000 all inclusive (compared to $92,000 in the States.)

The inescapable conclusion: Singapore hates fun.

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