The all-new Lotus Esprit is the only one of Lotus’s range of sports cars and supercars to have serious engineering work undertaken on it.
Lotus insiders have told Autocar that the firm is focusing “fully” on the new Esprit at this stage, which is set to be the first of the new Lotuses launched in 2013.
The range of new Lotus models, which new Lotus CEO Dany Bahar insists will employ the purist engineering principles of lightness and simplicity pioneered the earliest Lotuses by the company’s founder, Colin Chapman, will take the company from annual production of around 2700 sub-£40,000 cars, to between 6000 and 7000 cars costing between £80,000 and £120,000.
Powered by a Lotus-supercharged 5.0-litre Lexus V8 (revving to 8000 rpm and producing 550bhp or 620bhp in the R version), the new Esprit will have a seven-speed paddle-shift gearbox, a KERS system, a 0-62 mph time of between 3.2 and 3.5 seconds and a CO2 output of just 250 g/km — very low output for the class and consistent with Lotus’s intention of offering the most efficient cars in their classes.
The car’s kerb weight of 1495 kg doesn’t make it quite the featherweight of past Lotuses, but engineers insist it’s lighter than class contenders.