Lotus is currently working on a replacement for the Esprit sports car built from 1976 to 2004. The initial release date was 2008, but current assumptions within the company imply that the actual release date will be December 2009. The 2010 Esprit will be priced at $130.000 (est) and will compete with models like Ferrari F430, Lamborghini Gallardo, Audi R8 and Porsche Turbo.
One of the three models from Lotus due in the next few years, it will be built at the Lotus headquarters at Hethel in Norfolk U.K. The 2010 Esprit it is supposed to be the first Lotus to employ the “versatile vehicle architecture” aluminum construction technique that will allow other models to spawn from the Esprit’s bones. By 2010, Ogaard-Nielsen wants Hethel to sell 10,000 cars a year, over three model lines: Elise/Europa, Esprit, and a third sports car. Executives are considering a 2+2 positioned between the Elise and Esprit, possibly with a front-mounted engine.
The original Esprit survived for 28 years, before production enede in February 2004. But you can not expect that the new Lotus to airbrush the first genearion Esprit out of the history. It will capture the spirit of the original model, and according to Lotus Cars managing director Clive Dopson "It’s an evolution of Giorgetto Giugiaro’s 1972 icon rather than a carbon copy, although it retains ’quite a lot of the wedge shape."
The car is known internally as MSC, the acronym for mid-engined supercar. Lotus believes that the new Esprit is crucial for their future and promise that the new model to be “a stunning, exhilarating car with high performance and vehicle dynamics superior to any other.”
The new Esprit will be built around a new aluminium structure, which Lotus plans to adopt for other cars, too. The exterior design has been signed off; the aerodynamics are being scrutinised in the wind tunnel. At launch, the Esprit won’t have a prominent wing, although higher performance models will, like the 1989 SE.
Under the bonet you will see BMW’s 4.8-liter V8 mid-engine, with an output of 400 hp. The top speed will go up to 200 mph. The mid –engine coupe may use also the V8 engine from the Audi RS4 , offering 430hp, more than enough for a light-weight sport car.The Esprit will use advanced materials like aluminium and carbon fibre to provide a total mass of around 2645 lbs.
The Esprit will go on sale in 2010 and will be offered in both coupe and convertible version.
The Lotus Esprit was a sports car built by Lotus from 1976 to 2004. The Silver Italdesign concept that eventually became the Esprit was unveiled at the Turin motor show in 1972, and was a development of a stretched Lotus Europa chassis. It is held to be among the first of designer Giorgetto Giugiaro’s "folded paper" designs.
Lotus Esprit S1 and S2 - 1976-1980
The Esprit was launched at the 1975 Paris and London auto shows and went into production in June 1976. These first Esprits eventually became known as S1 (or Series 1) Esprits.
These fiberglass bodied cars were initially powered by the Lotus 907 4 cylinder engine previously used in the Jensen Healey. The engine displaced 2.0 liters, produced 160 bhp in European trim (140 bhp in US/Federal trim), and was mounted longitudinally behind the passengers (similar to the Lotus Europa ). The transaxle was a 5 speed unit previously used in the Citroën SM and Maserati Merak; it also featured inboard rear brakes as was racing practice at the time.
Lotus claimed that the original Esprit should have reached 138mph, but when was tested it only reached 124-125 mph.
The USA launch had a dramatic effect on Esprit production, which had been 138 in 1976, but rocketed to 580 – the best Esprit year ever – in 1977. In 1976 all but four cars were built for the UK, but in 1977 no fewer that 474 were built for the USA.
Nevertheless, criticism and adverse press comment about the original Esprit had struck home, and Lotus made speedy attempts to improve the car. The result was that the S2 model was launched in August 1978, just over two years after the first Esprit deliveries had been made. Second thoughts, in this case, were wise ones, for the S2 was an altogether more integrated package.
Mechanically, there were few changes to the S2 compared with the S1, except that the ‘E-camshaft’ specification introduced on late-model S1s was now standardized – with a worthwhile improvement in mid-range torque – and Speedline road wheels replaced the original Wolfrace variety.
Externally, the most obvious improvement to the style was the front undernose spoiler was now smoothly integrated into the shape of the car, while slightly protruding engine compartment air intakes were neatly positioned behind the rear quarter-windows. At the rear of the car Rover SD1-type tail-lamp clusters were fitted.
The Turbo - 1980
In 1980 the first factory turbocharged Lotus, the Essex Esprit was built, and these special editions were superseded by a production turbo car.
There were big improvements in reliability and chassis design (better torsional rigidity) and revised rear suspension geometry (the drive shaft no longer doubled up as the top link but was suplimented by a transverse link). These improvements also followed through to the normally aspirated S3 model of 1981. The Lotus Turbo Esprit was powered by the improved 910 engine and featured an AiResearch Garrett T3 turbocharger, which helped increased the engine power to 210 bhp. This gave the car an overall top speed of 153 mph and 0 - 60 time of 5.4 seconds.
The Peter Stevens redesign - 1988
In 1988 a new version of the Esprit was introduced, incorporating rounder styling cues given by designer Peter Stevens of McLaren F1 fame. Giugiaro is said to have liked the restyling, claiming it was perhaps too close to his original design. The first Stevens styled cars were mechanically identical to their previous year counterparts, with Turbo and N/A variants available, though quickly a stronger Renault transaxle was used, as well as Delco GMP4 EFI. The exterior style changes were accompanied by a freshening of the interior. The Stevens styled Esprit is collectively known as the X180.
The 1988MY was essentially re-skinned 1987 Turbo Esprit. Its engine had a Bosch fuel injection system and the same Citroen gearbox. Engine compression was 8.0:1 and boost was increased to 9.5psi. Output was 215hp, 220ft/lbs torque. 0-60 in 5.1, top speed 146mph.
Although it may look like the larger Murcielago, when you put the two hip-high supercars next to each other, the Gallardo immediately appears more compact and blunter.
The aluminum V10 engine has been upped slightly and tops out at 520 hp at 8,000 rpm and 376 pound-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm. It launches the car from zero to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds and has a top speed of 196 mph. The gasoline consumption is estimated at a 10 mpg city / 19 mpg highway rate.
The V10 features an 18-degree offset crankshaft for even firing, continuously variable valve timing, dry-sump oiling and a variable-length induction system. All the V10 power is fed to the pavement through an AWD system that can vary front-to rear, if necessary, as the suspension front and rear is a double-wishbone design. The stopping duties are handled by the Beefy Brembo brakes that have eight-piston calipers clamping things down up things.
The chassis is a mix of alloy stampings, extruded elements and castings. The exterior is composed of thermoplastic panels, except for the doors, which are made of steel and swing out, instead of upward scissor-style.
The Ferrari F430 it’s an aluminium-constructed, mid-engined two-seater, with a compact, 90-degree V8 engine, though with some 483bhp, it’s significantly more powerful than the 394bhp 360 Modena, as Ferrari tries to keep pace with the car’s nearest rival, Lamborghini’s 493bhp Gallardo.
Excitingly focused mini-Enzo looks, fabulously energetic engine, ultra-sharp but easy-to-drive handling, an F1 shift which works as it should, huge stopping power with optional carbon-ceramic brakes, every drive is a special occasion with the Ferrari F430. Servicing is cheaper than for 360, too.
The F430 is powered by a completely new 4308 cc engine. The new V8 delivers a massive 490 hp and a specific power of 114 hp/l. Its performance is absolutely excellent too: 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62 mph) acceleration in four seconds flat and a top speed in excess of 315 km/h (196 mph).
Audi has incorporated the name and the genes of the five-time Le Mans winner, the Audi R8, into a spectacular sports car. Three years after the unveiling of the Audi Le Mans quattro concept car, the production version made its debut at the Paris Motor Show in the guise of the new Audi R8 mid-engined sports model.
As the first Audi mid-engined sports car, the R8 combines Audi’s experience gained from numerous motorsport triumphs with groundbreaking design and the acknowledged technological expertise of the brand. This expertise has led to the slogan ’Vorsprung durch Technik’ becoming a byword for leading-edge technology both on the race track and on the road.
This engineering achievement is suitably reflected by a host of impressive figures: the engine’s top speed is a notable 8,250 rpm. The engine delivers its peak output of 420 bhp at 7,800 rpm. With its displacement of 4,163 cm3, this outstanding engine breaks through the magic barrier for a production vehicle of 100 bhp per litre. The high-revving concept also means that the maximum piston speed is 24.1 metres per second at the engine’s rated speed.
The road performance is correspondingly impressive: the R8 dashes to 100 km/h from a standstill in just 4.6 seconds, whether with manual gearbox or with R tronic sequential gearshifting. Thanks to its quattro drive and perfect weigh distribution, problems of traction are an alien concept to it. It touches the 200 km/h mark after 14.9 seconds. Thanks to its refined aerodynamics, the engine’s propulsive power is only finally harnessed by drag at a top speed of 187 mph.
The sixth generation of the 911 series’ top-of-the-range model made world premiere on February 28, 2006 at the Geneva Motor Show and will be available in German dealerships as from June 24, 2006.
As you would expect, the new 911 Turbo meets the highest expectations in terms of engine performance. The classic flat-six unit develops 353 kW (480 bhp) at 6,000 rpm from a 3.6-litre displacement. Maximum torque of 620 Nm is available between 1,950 and 5,000 rpm.
To achieve that capability, we’ve combined VarioCam Plus with twin turbocharger units featuring Variable Turbine Geometry (VTG) – a totally new technology on a petrol-engined car. With a standard manual gearbox, the new 911Turbo requires just 3.9 seconds to reach 100 km/h (62 mph). Equipped with the latest optional Tiptronic S transmission, the car is 0.2 seconds quicker on the standard sprint. Benchmark times to 200 km/h (124 mph) are 12.8 and 12.2 seconds, respectively. Maximum speed with either transmission is 310 km/h (193 mph).