Next-gen Lotus Elise and Esprit on track for 2012 launch

The next Esprit is expected to be built around an Evora chassis but with a V8 powerplant

The next Esprit is expected to be built around an Evora chassis but with a V8 powerplant

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For Lotus fans, the next few years should prove to be very interesting times as the company pushes ahead with its five-year-plan to update its model lineup, including successors to the Elise and Esprit. The company has already unveiled its new Evora 2+2 car, but rather than sitting still with this car, it will be preparing a number of variants of this model, as well as new models.

A future Lotus Elise could be seen as early as 2011 according to anonymous insiders at Lotus who spoke with Autocar. This next-generation Elise will likely bring forward a number of current components into future models, rather than share its chassis with the Evora.

While the lithe Elise may not be suited to the Evora's chassis, the next-generation Esprit will likely be built on this platform but with a V8 engine providing power. While currently engineers are predicting a 2012 launch date for the new Esprit, whether or not the car gets built at all depends on whether sales of the Evora are successful.

Additionally, the new Evora convertible should be arriving at a similar timeline to the new Esprit, which should allow the company some wiggling room to decide which product will be released first - for instance, if the economy is still stagnating in a few years time, the company may choose to focus on the cheaper Evora convertible rather than the Esprit supercar.

All in all, Lotus is experiencing a renaissance of sorts with this raft of new models, and well-established rivals such as Porsche may just have to give the niche British sports carmaker a little more credit in the future.
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