New Esprit won't arrive until 2011; hybrids due for range-topping models
29 July 2008

Lotus won’t replace the Esprit until early 2011, company boss Mike Kimberley has said. The British supercar is being totally redesigned after Lotus put it on the back burner to fast-track the new Lotus Evora.

Now there are hints that the range-topping Esprit could be offered as a hybrid, possibly using a mix of Lotus and Toyota technology.

Kimberley has said he wants to offer “guilt-free, high performance motoring” and admits the company is “working on something”.

With Lotus’ long-held expertise in lightweight structures, it has a wide-ranging engine development and alternative propulsion programmes on the go.

Kimberley is pretty scathing about early versions of the Esprit, which were under development before he returned to Lotus in 2006. “I lost it three times,” he said of its handling. “I also burnt out the clutch four times. Its engine wasn’t free-revving enough either.”

The new Lotus Esprit - there’s no word yet on whether this famous name will be revived – will use the same chassis platform as the new Evora, made wider and longer and with a new rear structure designed to accommodate a longitudinally mounted engine. It will also make use of the Evora’s compact double-wishbone suspension.

Besides this flagship Esprit, Lotus is working on additional versions of the Evora - there will eventually be six - including a two-seater, a convertible and an automatic. And work is also advancing on S3 versions of the Elise and Exige.

Kimberley claims that Lotus itself is in better shape since he arrived. The engineering side of the group, which the previous regime was thinking of closing down, has been rejuvenated. Lotus is currently working on 340 projects for 147 clients, Kimerley explained. “That’s not a record,” he said, “but not bad considering it was going to be rolled up.”

The company now has engineering centres in Detroit, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur as well as project in Abu Dhabi and India. Last year it made a modest £2 million profit after several years of losses, and that should continue to grow this year.

Richard Bremner

Join the debate

Comments
3

29 July 2008

They should make it go underwater, Bond-style.

29 July 2008

<<cough cough Lamborghini Gallardo>>

29 July 2008

Well, looks better than the Evora (what's with the silly name?!).

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Kia Stonic
    First Drive
    19 September 2017
    Kia's Rio-based SUV is short on personality and interior finesse, but it's one of the better-handling small SUVs out there
  • Citroën C3 Aircross
    First Drive
    19 September 2017
    Funky, small Citroën C3 Aircross SUV hits the spot where it needs to and misses it where you’d expect it to
  • Vauxhall Grandland X
    First Drive
    18 September 2017
    The Vauxhall Grandland X is a re-skinned Peugeot 3008 that's too bland and offers too little to stand out in an increasingly competitive market
  • Hyundai i30
    Car review
    15 September 2017
    Hyundai’s next-gen bedrock model gets a ‘new era’ look and shrunken turbo petrol, but is it enough to take on the Volkswagen Golf
  • Range Rover Velar First Edition P380
    First Drive
    11 September 2017
    High-spec variant of Range Rover's most road-biased model yet offers unrivalled tech and plenty of luxury, but has a less clearly defined focus