Lotus is putting the finishing touches on its battery-electric Evija hypercar, and will then launch the final models based on the bonded and riveted aluminum platform underpinning its current lineup before switching to a new platform capable of supporting hybrid and electric powertrains.

An early test mule for one of the final models has been spotted. The car was originally due this year but delays mean it will now arrive in 2021, likely as a 2022 model.

2022 Lotus Esprit spiritual successor test mule spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2022 Lotus Esprit spiritual successor test mule spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

It will be a supercar in the same vein as the Esprit, and it will help to fill the wide performance gap between the Evora and Evija. It isn't expected to use the Esprit name, however.

The test mule wears a makeshift Evora body but we can see that the wheel arches front and rear have been extended significantly, pointing to a widened track.

2022 Lotus Esprit spiritual successor test mule spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2022 Lotus Esprit spiritual successor test mule spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

Power is expected to come from the same Toyota-sourced 3.5-liter mill used in the Evora and Exige sports cars, but augmented with a hybrid system (likely a mild-hybrid system). The engine produces 416 horsepower in the latest Evora GT so with electrification we could be looking at something closer to 500 hp.

Lotus came close to launching a modern Esprit early last decade, including rolling out a concept (shown below) at the 2010 Paris International Motor Show and developing a bespoke V-8. The project was axed in 2014 after Lotus made major reforms to prevent financial ruin.

Lotus Esprit concept

Lotus Esprit concept

Lotus is on a very different footing these days thanks to the support of Geely. The Chinese auto giant is committed to rebuilding Lotus' image after decades of malaise by renewing the lineup and taking the brand racing. We also know that future Lotus cars will source engines from fellow Geely brand Volvo.

Before the new supercar arrives, we may see Lotus launch a redesigned Elise based on current Elise running gear. The rumored car could be the last Lotus without any electrification. An SUV is also in the pipeline and possibly a modern Elan, too.