• Holy Smokes, Is Lotus Bringing Back the Esprit?

Roger Moore’s weapon of choice in The Spy Who Loved Me is set for a modern comeback

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The Lotus Esprit was made famous first and foremost by its submarine derivative from the James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me. Wet Nellie (yes, that’s the car’s nickname) was based on a 1977 Series I Esprit or Esprit S1.

Esprit production, however, started two years before in 1975, and was eventually stopped in 2004. But if a recent report holds any truth, Lotus is looking to revive the Esprit moniker by infusing it with hybrid power. Did we get your attention? Good. Read on, then.

What will the new Lotus Esprit be like?

Holy Smokes, Is Lotus Bringing Back the Esprit?
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While there’s not much info to work with at this point, Autocar writes that Lotus will resurrect the Esprit and grant it with a V-6 hybrid heart. In all fairness, though, at this point it’s unclear whether the car will actually be called Esprit.

However, Autocar suggests that “it will be intended to retain the Norfolk brand’s celebrated driving dynamics while offering increased everyday usability and refinement over existing models,” so at least we know what to expect in terms of personality and on-road behavior.

2014 Lotus Esprit Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Once it finally hits the showrooms, Lotus’ new sports car (let’s call it the Esprit for the sake of the good old times) will reportedly sit on a rivet-bonded platform.

Don’t expect it earlier than 2021 – or even later on, should the coronavirus-caused industry slowdown extend even further than estimated.

Visually speaking, the new Esprit is expected to borrow a lot of cues from the Evija, but the overall look will be a direct consequence of its mid-engine configuration. Perhaps the 2010 Lotus Esprit concept would be a good starting point design-wise. The report also argues that the new sports car won’t be a 2+2, but instead offer just two seats, with the rest of the available space being converted into storage options.

What will power the new Lotus Esprit?

Holy Smokes, Is Lotus Bringing Back the Esprit?
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So far, rumor has it that it’s going to be a performance-oriented hybrid.

Again, there’s not much to dissect because information is very scarce, but Autocar estimates the sports car should pack at least 500 horsepower coming from a Toyota/Lexus-provided 3.5-liter V-6 imbued with hybrid tech borrowed from Volvo. Perhaps the 311-horsepower, 280-pound-feet 3.5-liter V-6 inside the Lexus RC 350?

As a side note, the Lotus Esprit concept from 2010 came with a 5.0-liter, Toyota/Lexus-sourced V-8 tweakable to produce either 550 horsepower or 620 horsepower.

Holy Smokes, Is Lotus Bringing Back the Esprit?
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Lotus’ engineers would then do the utmost to keep the vehicle’s weight in check, and the V-6 might or might not be turbocharged. That’s also something we’ll probably find out at a later stage, hopefully via Lotus’ official communication channels.

We’ll definitely be monitoring the topic closely, as new info is expected to surface in the months to come.

Holy Smokes, Is Lotus Bringing Back the Esprit?
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1975 Lotus introduces the Esprit S1, powered by the Type 907 engine: 2.0-liter, 144 horsepower, all-alloy, inline-four, carbureted
1977 The Esprit makes an appearance in James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me
1978 Lotus launches the Esprit S2
1980 Lotus equips the Esprit with larger 2.2-liter engines and unveils the Esprit Turbo in the UK, which now churns out 210 horsepower
1981 Lotus introduces the Esprit S3, based on Esprit Turbo underpinnings, which features in James Bond movie For Your Eyes Only
1988 The Esprit Turbo gets a revamped interior and exterior
1989 The Esprit Turbo is further imbued with multi-port fuel injection and a tweaked gearbox, together with the launch of the 280-horsepower Esprit Turbo SE
1993 The Esprit S4 comes to market with power steering and aero tweaks. Lotus also kicks off production for the Esprit Sport 300
1996 The Esprit V8 is shown at the Geneva Motor Show with a 3.5-liter V-8 good for 350 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of twist
1998 Lotus revamps the Esprit V8 with a new interior, twin-plate clutch, better ABS, and a new a/c system.
1999 Lotus presents the lightweight Esprit Sport 350, featuring a carbon-fiber wing and side fins as well as magnesium OZ wheels
2002 Lotus facelifts the Esprit via new wheels and redesigned taillights taken from the Lotus Elise S2
2004 The last Lotus Esprit rolls off the assembly line on February 20 – 10,675 units of the Esprit were ever made

Data sourced from Lotus Esprit World.

Source: Autocar

Tudor Rus
Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager - Automotive Expert - tudor@topspeed.com
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read full bio
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