A new Lotus that foreshadows major changes for the British car maker

Lotus is one of those enigmatic manufacturers that have given a lot to the automotive world while also bearing its fair share of difficulties. Under its original founder, Collin Chapman, the brand established itself as a Formula One pioneer. Later, they went on to help other companies build some of the most epic cars, like the Lotus Carlton, Chevrolet Corvette C-4 ZR-1, and even the Nissan GTR. Now, the brand is bringing another one of their old names. The new Esprit is coming. Lotus is axing Elise, Exige, and Evora to make this happen. This means that the successor to Esprit will be crucial to the brand’s future plans. Here’s what we can expect.

Drivetrain & Performance

2022 Lotus Esprit Exterior Spyshots
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We already know that the test mules for the new Lotus are disguised as a wide-body Lotus Evora, so it’s a good bet that the new car will have the same underpinnings, with some modifications. Power is expected to come from the same Toyota 3.5-liter V-6. We are still expecting it to have a supercharger. Back in the day, the Esprit was the most powerful road-going Lotus, the brand had ever made. With this in mind, we are expecting to get more power than the latest Evora.

An output of 500 horsepower is quite realistic, given that the brand has always focused on balance and lightweight, rather than on sheer power.
2022 Lotus Esprit Exterior Spyshots
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The latest version of the Evora already has 410 horsepower (305 kW) and 302 pound-feet (410 Nm) from the 3.5-liter supercharged Toyota V-6. Since Esprit is meant to a more performance-oriented model, we will definitely see more power than anything they currently have on sale. Moreover, there’s a very good reason for us to expect a hybrid powertrain since the French company Alpine is planning to become an EV brand and is joining forces with Lotus for future vehicles. This means that the new Lotus may serve as a bridge to a new all-electric lineup of Lotus vehicles.

Aesthetics

2022 Lotus Esprit Exterior Spyshots
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Although the test mules are based on the Evora, the car will have its distinctive design language. We know it will feature a lot of design cues from the Evija, which will arrive later. In true Esprit fashion, it is expected to be a two-seater. In 2019, Lotus presented a concept car, dubbed the Type 131. Strangely enough, the front plate said “Elan”. The car was supposed to come out in 2020, but that never happened.

Now, we see a new concept that is heavily-inspired by the Evija EV, featuring the same taillight design and big air dams on the side. In the front, the concept, once again, resembles the Evija. The front hood also accommodates the two air extractors, we are used to seeing on the Elise, Exige, and Evora models.

2022 Lotus Esprit Exterior Spyshots
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That said, the roofline and overall dimensions are quite similar to the Evora’s. We still don’t have any idea of what the interior would look like, but it is quite possible that, just like the exterior, it would carry over some elements from the Evija. Lotus has recently made a habit of giving us different information, each time there are talks about their future models. With this in mind, a lot of the above-mentioned specifics may change as the car gets closer to production.

Why Esprit?

2022 Lotus Esprit Exterior Spyshots
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Okay, we actually don’t have any solid evidence that the new Lotus will be called Esprit, but there’s a lot that suggests it might be. First of all, Lotus has had a strong relationship with Renault, in the old days. The brand used various engines, transmissions, and other components from the French manufacturer, most notably in the Esprit. Now that Alpine – Renault’s performance brand - has joined forces with Lotus, there’s a good chance, they’ll bring back the model, which cemented their relations. Moreover, Alpine has announced three all-electric upcoming models, which means that some of that electric tech will probably be found in the all-new sports car from Lotus. With all this in mind, we think Esprit is the most appropriate name for this one.

Conclusion

2022 Lotus Esprit Exterior Spyshots
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Lotus is the latest British manufacturer to feel the winds of change. Although the integration of an electric powertrain might interfere with the brand’s lightweight philosophy, we are certain that they would make it work, as other manufacturers have. The joint-effort with Alpine, which now focuses on EVs is Lotus’s foothold into electric performance. From what we know so far, the new 2022 Esprit will be the start of the brand’s transition to electricity and a completely new lineup. Whether it will retain all elements that make Lotus vehicles fun driving machines, remains to be seen.

Dim Angelov
Dim Angelov
Born in 1992, I come from a family of motoring enthusiasts. My passion for cars was awoken at the age of six, when I saw a Lamborghini Diablo SV in a magazine. After high school I earned a master’s degree in marketing and a Master of Arts in Media and Communications. Over the years, I’ve practiced and become skilled in precision driving and to date have test driven more than 250 cars across the globe. Over the years, I’ve picked up basic mechanical knowledge and have even taken part in the restoration of a 1964 Jaguar E-Type and an Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint. Lately, I’ve taken a fancy to automotive photography, and while modern cars are my primary passion, I also have a love for Asian Martial Arts, swimming, war history, craft beer, historical weapons, and car restoration. In time, I plan my own classic car restoration and hope to earn my racing certificate, after which I expect to establish my own racing team.  Read full bio
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