Just months after leaving his position as Ferrari's marketing head, new Lotus CEO Dany Bahar is eying his old employer as a competitive target. According to a new report, Bahar plans to bring Lotus back to a level of competing heads-up against the world's greatest supercar marques, including the Prancing Horse itself.

While Lotus languished over the last decade, its Esprit supercar limping along and eventually falling by the wayside after the business changed hands several times in the 1990s, leaving it with just a tiny output of Toyota-powered sports cars. While still a significant influence in motorsports and grassroots racing, Lotus has failed to keep pace with the retail side of now-giants like Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati.

But that's all about to change, says Bahar. "We believe it's the right time to bring Lotus back to where it was," he told PistonHeads.

Bahar is thought to have a five-year plan to bring the company back up to snuff, starting with the new Evora as th focal point. The exact nature of that plan hasn't been disclosed, but it's sure to revolve around developing a prestigious brand image based on high-performance cars.

Upcoming supercharged and convertible variants of the Evora could be just what the brand needs to raise its profile among a broader audience, as the track-focused and brilliant Elise and Exige that are its current bread-and-butter aren't likely to win many hearts when it comes to creature comforts. With up to 400 horsepower on tap and just 2,976 pounds to hustle around, the supercharged Evora could cut its 0-60 mph times to under four seconds. The standard 276-horsepower Evora manages the dash in under five.

The V-6 powered Evora, on the other hand, is every bit the Grand Tourer, with its 2+2 seating layout not exactly capacious, but better than a strict two-seater, and clad in much more comfortable and luxurious fittings than its smaller brethren.

The U.S.-spec 2010 Lotus  Evora should be on sale here early next year.


Follow Motor Authority on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.