The legend is back! Lotus has unveiled today the new Esprit sports car. Described as the "ultimate Lotus," the new Esprit will go into production at the end of 2012, with first deliveries beginning in late 2013, early 2014. Lotus announced an estimated price of £110,000 ($175,000 at the current rates).
At the unveiling of the Evora S model in San Jose in June 2011, Lotus Cars USA PR boss, Kevin Smith, confirmed that the Esprit supercar would be getting Lotus’ in-house V8 engine and both a manual and a dual-clutch transmission. This V8 engine was originally said to deliver between 550 - 570 HP, but actually achieved 570 HP at around 9000rpm and 398 lb-ft of torque at a bit higher than 3000rpm. Lotus Chief Technical Officer, Wolf Zimmermann, says this engine can reach up to 630 HP at 9,400 rpm and 424 lb-ft of torque between 5,500 and 6,000rpm. The V8 weighs in at about 375 lbs, which is about 176 lbs lighter than the original 5.0L V8 Lotus was going to borrow from Lexus. It will be used for both the Esprit and, as confirmed by Smith, an even more exotic Elite.
"One has to be very careful when taking on the challenge of reinventing such an iconic classic as the Esprit – everyone has an opinion. There’s a fine balance between acknowledging the greatness of the past whilst at the same time rapidly leaping forward to the future and ensuring that this car not only does the name Esprit justice but also the Lotus brand. I think we’ve managed to find the balance and in doing so created a new icon, a car people will find hard to resist."
UPDATE 11/21/2011: Lotus officials has confirmed that the next generation Esprit will be powered by a 4.8 liter V8 engine. This new engine will deliver a total of 570 HP in standard version, but the company will be also offering a higher-tuned variant with an output of 620 HP. (Autoblog)
UPDATE 12/12/2011:New details about the future supercar revealed that the Esprit will, in fact, be offered in two versions. A base model will combine a 100 HP electric motor to a normally aspirated V8 engine and a more powerful version will drop the hybrid system and focus on weight-saving measures. (AutoCar)
UPDATE 10/04/2012: According to Lotus Forums, the Esprit has officially been axed. leaving the Elise, Exige, and Evora as the only standing models on the company’s new era lineup.
Lotus is on the verge of tackling the supercar market with their very own high-powered V8 engine fitted underneath the hood of the future Esprit. The British company has been working on this 4.8L V8 engine at its headquarters in Hethel, Norfolk where engineers have achieved 570 HP at around 9000rpm and 398 lb-ft of torque at a bit higher than 3000rpm.
But that’s not where the story ends. Lotus Chief Technical Officer, Wolf Zimmermann, says this engine can reach up to 630 HP at 9,400 rpm and 424 lb-ft of torque between 5,500 and 6,000rpm. The V8 weighs in at about 375 lbs, which is about 176 lbs lighter than the original 5.0L V8 Lotus was going to borrow from Lexus. The Lexus engine ended up being too heavy so Lotus engineers took to the drawing table to create their own modular engine. This engine will be matched up with a forged aluminum wishbone suspension and electro-hydraulic power steering. The vehicle will be made entirely of aluminum with hopes of not surpassing 3,220 lbs.
Lotus CEO, Dany Bahar, thinks the future Esprit will be a new icon. He states, "There’s a fine balance in acknowledging the greatness of the past while rapidly leaping forward to the future and ensuring that this car not only does the name Esprit justice but also the Lotus brand.
"I think we’ve managed to find the balance. The design is aggressive. You have to see it to appreciate how low and wide the proportions are, but it still retains a level of dignity, of class and, most of all, exclusivity."
On your marks, get set, GO! McLaren and Aston Martin are charging forward with their respective supercars, but a new leader in the race for Britain’s fastest supercar is emerging and it’s none other than Lotus. According to Automotive Express, sources are stating that the British manufacturer is preparing a flagship Superleggera version of their next generation Esprit. The new Superleggera is set to be released in late 2013/early 2014 and will be the fourth model in the Esprit lineup - next to a coupe, a convertible, and a glass-roofed Targa edition.
The Esprit Superleggera will be powered by an upgraded version of the 4.8-liter V8 engine mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch semi-automatic gearbox with rapid shifts. This configuration will be capable of producing 612 HP at 9,000 rpm which will be highlighted with a special aluminum body that will be even stronger and lighter than the body used in the current model. This type of powerful and light combination will ensure the supercar charges from 0-60 mph in under three seconds with a top speed of 212 mph. Drooling yet?
Lotus is so confident about their new Superleggera model that Chief Technical Officer, Wolf Zimmermann, even took a stab at McLaren’s new MP4-12C: "This car will not be like the McLaren MP4-12C. It will be cooler – there will be more emotion."
Lotus is definitely shaking things up and moving in a direction reminiscent of their high performance origins. They have already planned the next five models spanning out in the next five years and they have recently announced they would be building their own engines. These seem to be pretty hefty plans for a company that has been in the shadows since the release of the Elise. Will they crash and burn, or will they come out on top?
Lotus is doing a bit of rearranging in their kitchen now that plans for the Elan sports car have been placed on the backburner. Apparently, the British manufacturer is using the money that had been set aside for the Elan to develop their very own lineup of engines.
During an interview, Project Boss Dany Bahar said: "This is a big [financial] hit because it’s expensive to do an engine," says Bahar. "But because the Elan is not happening now we have got capital expenditure headroom for engine development."
The first engine cooking is a V8 that will set up the competition for Ferrari’s V8 engine as seen in the 458 Italia. The new Lotus V8 will deliver between 550 - 570 HP and will undergo testing in July 2011. It will be dropped in the new Esprit model. After that, Lotus will go forth with a new V6 engine that will be used for a production version of the Eterne. Both of the new engines will be combined with an all-new aluminum platform that will be spectacularly light.
As for the Elan, Lotus says that the vehicle’s design was just too close to the Esprit so it would not be making its appearance on the lineup until the closer to the end of the company’s five year plan.
At the 2010 Paris Auto Show, Lotus unveiled the impressive Elan concept with the full intention of bringing it back in production form by 2013. Be it blind passion or just a mere oversight, Lotus failed to notice that their new concept bared a strong resemblance to their Evora model, so the company is putting the concept on hold indefinitely.
This may sound a little familiar considering we had already heard that the Elan was headed back to the drawing board for looking too much like the Esprit Concept revealed at the same auto show. This begs the question as to whether or not the Esprit will also be delayed because of the same issue, but apparently that is not the case. The Esprit and the Elite will share many of the same components, including a V8 engine that is rumored to deliver around 550 horsepower. This engine will be mated to either a standard dual-clutch transmission or an optional manual.
However, before those puppies are born, Lotus will be working on updating the apparently inspiring Evora with some aesthetic changes and new trim levels to align it with the rest of the "Lotus New Era" range. The Elise and Exige will also be seeing the light of day, but will do so with newer versions "more usable for every day". The production Exige will finally be revealed at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.
What’s with automakers bringing out two concepts of the same car all of a sudden? First with the FT-86 and the FT-86 II and now Lotus with its Elan and the Esprit concepts. Both concept vehicles were presented at last year’s Paris Auto Show, so one would think that the next logical step would be production models for those vehicles. Not so.
It seems that Lotus is tossing the two models back and starting fresh from the drawing board because the two concepts just looked too similar. Now, it’s up to Head Designer, Donato Coco, to work on a more optical differentiation between the two sports cars, which makes darn good sense considering the Esprit supercar is powered by a 5.0-liter V8 engine and the Elan sports car only gets a 4.0L V6 engine.
The next generation Lotus Elise is also getting bad feedback due to its enormous weight gain. The current generation weighs only 876 kilos (1931 lbs), but the next generation model will weigh up to 1,100 kilos (2425 lbs). Lotus has yet to decide the fate of the Elise, but the Elan and Esprit will have to undergo some massive changes before getting launched onto the market in 2013.
Lotus announced the production of a new generation Esprit earlier this year at the Paris Auto Show, with details surrounding the vehicle being limited to the car’s design. Don’t get us wrong, we love to hear and see these beautiful models take shape before our very eyes, but we would rather know just how powerful these cars are going to be. Thankfully, Lotus is ready to divulge a bit of information surrounding the car’s future engine, and we are very ready to listen.
In an interview with Autocar, company boss Dany Bahar said that Lotus is not only preparing a new Hethel-engineered V8 for the Esprit, but also a V6 engine for the Elan and the other models in the line-up: "We have done three engines for other manufacturers; why not do it ourselves? The engine is the heart of a sports car; we should do our own product."
Some more Lotus good news is that they are also preparing three mid-engined sports cars that will be based off of the Esprit and will include the same platform, brakes, suspension, and electrical systems.
The final decision on the two new engines and the new sportscars will be made in January 2011, so we’ll be back with that confirmation once we get it.
Remember all those snazzy cars Lotus paraded at the Paris Motor Show? Yeah, you do? Well here’s an interesting piece of news that should come as a disappointment to anybody that got a little too excited about those cars.
According to Lotus CEO Dany Bahar, of all those cars we saw at Paris, only the 2013 Esprit is on its developmental phase. So, what gives? Turns out that with new and higher expectations, a higher amount of work and dedication follows suit.
Lotus has already made it clear that they’re ready to step into the ring with the big boys, leaving behind the small sports cars and focusing more on high-end performance vehicles that will come with a price range north of six figures.
With this new approach, Lotus has decided to develop all these cars one at a time, with the Esprit getting first dibs. The car is scheduled for a release in 2013 so it’s pretty much a giveaway that we won’t expect to see any of the other models earlier than that.
While we’re not going to hide our disappointment, we understand the move made by Lotus to slowly bring in their new models one at a time. As a brand that’s just starting to enter the high-end performance segment, building one car at a time ensures that you put all your time and effort into that one car, leaving little margin for error.
Lotus is preparing to wow the Paris Auto Show. The company has already announced two new special edition Evoras for the show, but this is not the only surprise Lotus has for Paris. We will not only be seeing these two special editions, but we will also see the new Esprit (which we knew about already) and a new generation Seven. And there’s more; Lotus will also be debuting two groundbreaking hybrids. The only downfall to this avalanche of Lotus models is that none of them will be going on sale until at least a year and a half after the fall show.
The new Seven will be a heavier and more comfort-oriented front-engine, rear-drive, open-topped car. The big news is that this new model will be built in Spain and will be priced at around $100k.
As for the new Esprit, you already know everything there is to know about it. There will be a turbocharged, mid-engine V8 engine and an extensive use of carbon fiber and aluminum.
Another big surprise will be the two hybrid models coming in the form of a four-door hatchback in Porsche Panamera style and a two-door coupe, which could be further developed as a convertible at a later date. The only thing known at the moment is that both of them will be based on the Evora 414E hybrid concept.
Back in 1975, the world witnessed a few landmark incidents including the founding of Microsoft, the introduction of disposable razors, and – we actually don’t know how this classifies as a ‘landmark incident’ – the birth of one David Beckham. Oh, and by the way, the very first Lotus Esprit was officially launched.
Today, David Beckham is a household name, the disposable razor is a household necessity, and, well, every household in the world seems to have a computer with Microsoft software on it. And, yeah, today – or at least at the Paris Motor Show this year – the new Lotus Esprit will be making its official launch.
You’re probably wondering why we’re making all these references to 1975 and 2011? To be honest, we don’t know either, but Lotus seems to think that going back in time would be a cute way to promote the Esprit’s up-coming release. We’re certainly not arguing with their motives or intentions, but if the new Esprit is indeed one of the four new vehicles Lotus is planning on bringing to Paris in September – and all signs are certainly pointing to that – then we’ll definitely see whether the new Esprit will live up to the ‘iconic’ label Lotus gave to the very first model that was released back in 1975.