Only a week ago we reported that Lotus was planning a turbocharged version of its new in-house developed V-8 engine for a high-performance ‘R’ version of its upcoming 2013 Esprit supercar, and now we have details that a ‘Superleggera’ flagship model is also planned.
This super-light model is destined to be one of Britain’s fastest production cars, which won’t be easy given competitors like the McLaren MP4-12C, Noble M600 and Bentley Continental Supersports.
The latest information was revealed by Lotus’ chief technical officer Wolf Zimmermann, a former Mercedes-Benz AMG engineer, who spoke recently with AutoExpress.
The hardcore Esprit, which may simply be called an Esprit R, will feature a turbocharged version of Lotus’ new 4.8-liter V-8, developing a peak output of 612 horsepower at 9,000 rpm--some 50 horsepower more than the naturally aspirated version of the engine.
The range-topping model will also get a unique aluminum body, which will not only be lighter than the standard model’s body but stronger as well. Combined with the uprated powerplant, this lighter body should ensure the special Esprit rockets to 60 mph from rest in under 3.0 seconds and reaches a top speed in excess of 212 mph.
Describing the car, Zimmermann said it won’t be like the aforementioned McLaren MP4-12C. “It will be cooler--there will be more emotion,” he boasted.
One way Lotus is going about this is by offering a special electro-hydraulic power-steering system designed to give the driver as much feel as possible.
Finally, the biggest tidbit revealed was that this lighter and more hardcore Esprit will be just one of a handful of variants that will also include the standard coupe, an open-top roadster and a Targa model complete with a glass roof like the one on last year's Esprit concept car pictured above.