The new Lotus Esprit will offer a more “authentic” driving experience than the Ferrari 458 Italia and McLaren MP4-12C, according to CEO Dany Bahar.
The new V8 supercar is pencilled in for a spring 2013 launch, making it the first of five new Lotuses showcased at last year’s Paris motor show to enter production.
Bahar claims the Lotus Esprit will “have the character and emotion” that he says the McLaren lacks. He also revealed that the rolling chassis was now complete and fully running prototypes would be ready by November.
Development of the car will take place at the Nürburging and Idiada (Spain) circuits, as well as at Lotus’s Hethel headquarters, where work on a new test track is almost complete.
The Esprit will also be the first Lotus to use the firm’s new V8 engine, which could produce as much as 570bhp. Bahar said the Lotus V8 is 80kg lighter and 40 per cent smaller than the Toyota-sourced V8 originally destined for the Esprit.
Formula 1 KERS-style technology is also expected to feature on the Esprit, but Bahar said such electronic systems would be used only where they add to the driving experience and not as driver aids.
Bahar also clarified the role of the track-orientated Exige and 2-Eleven within Lotus’s new model line-up, saying they, along with the Elise, “will always be there” to please Lotus’s existing customer base.
Whether the next-gen Exige and 2-Eleven switch to Lotus’s all-new lightweight modular aluminium platform is unclear, with Bahar only saying performance would improve as the models evolved.
“That’s what we’re working on,” he said. “We have some nice plans for the 2-Eleven. But at the moment it’s doing very well so there is no need to change it. It’s a fun car; it’s selling. We have something in mind.”