It’s going to take a while before Lotus finally drops the new generation Esprit on the market, but until then, the previous generation Esprit is still getting tons of attention. The V8 version produced between 1996 and 2004 delivered a total of 354 HP and was capable of hitting a top speed of 175 mph. It was limited to only 1237 units, and one of those units caught the attention of Cam Shaft.
The tuner started with tweaking the V8 engine, adding adjustable cases by Forge inside the turbo compressor pumps, a self designed compressor cooling system, and two 100-cell structure catalysts. As a result, the V8 engine now delivers a total of 492 HP and can hit an impressive top speed of 189 mph. The 0 to 60 mph sprint time has been improved, from the standard 4.9 seconds to 4.3 seconds.
The transmission is also new: the old 5-speed gearbox by Renault has been replaced by a new 6-speed Dog-Engagement gearbox equipped with a longer total ratio. The car was also equipped with a new breaking system for 350 sport models (from 2000 series) with AP racing 4-bucket device and perforated brake discs with a 330 mm diameter to match the speed-up.
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.
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?
1972 Esprit Concept car unveiled The November Turin Motorshow in Italy saw the unveiling of the Lotus Esprit concept car on Giorgio Giugiario’s Ital Design stand. Colin Chapman had seen the potential for a future mid-engined Lotus to replace the ageing Europa, and brought the car back to Hethel after the show to start the development process. Mike Kimberley and Tony Rudd led the M70 project, and the prototype work for the project took place at the recently purchased Ketteringham (...)
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 (...)