Lotus EspritEnlarge Photo
Lotus is probably in the best financial position it’s been in for years, with its debts about to be cleared and production at full capacity. Focus now turns to what’s in-store for the future and one of the bright spots on the horizon is a new-generation of the Esprit.
According to a new report, Lotus has finally given the green light to a new Esprit. It’s no secret that Lotus has set its sights on performance marques like Ferrari, with its new CEO Dany Bahar working on bringing back the company to a level of competing heads-up against the world's greatest supercars.
Bahar is set to announce a new seven-year plan for the company later this year but the guys at Autocar have already divulged some of its key elements from an inside source.
The source revealed that the new Esprit may not carry the original name and that it’s being designed as a halo model for the brand.
Lotus’ previous CEO Mike Kimberley has previously revealed that new Esprit is being developed together with “a very well respected prestige automaker.” Many predicted that BMW would supply one of its V-8 engines for the new Esprit but Lotus' close ties with Toyota, from which it already sources a number of powerplants, could see advanced Lexus engines used instead.
The 552 horsepower V-10 engine, which is set to debut in the 2011 Lexus LFA supercar next year, would likely be reserved for a range-topping Esprit, while a mid-spec model would get the IS-F’s 420 horsepower V-8 and an entry-level model would pick up a 300 horsepower version of the 3.5-liter Toyota-sourced V-6 from the Evora.
To keep costs down and speed up its gestation, the new Esprit will likely share its chassis with the bonded and extruded aluminum unit underpinning the Evora. Rising development costs and changing requirements, however, have reportedly pushed back the original 2010 release date to 2012. The extra time, however, will allow for both coupe and convertible models--Lotus had originally planned to launch a hard-top only--as well as a possible ‘alternative’ model.