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.
Press release after the jump.