Spy pictures show Exige fitted with an Esprit powertrain
26 November 2009

This heavily modified Lotus Exige is the first visual evidence of the recently approved project to replace the Esprit supercar.

Sources say the wide rear track and large wheels on this mule show it is fitted with an early version of the new Esprit powertrain.

See the Lotus Esprit spy pictures

The plan to build a new Esprit (the historic name may not be used for the showroom model) was recently revealed in Autocar. Our source also said that Lotus is “targeting a power-to-weight ratio of 275-325bhp per tonne” for what it described as its “essential brand image builder”.

There’s no news yet on the Esprit’s engine, but it’s likely to be a Toyota-sourced V8, possibly a version of the unit that powers the Lexus IS-F. The fact that Lotus still has a wide target for the power-to-weight ratio shows the project is at a very early stage.

The Esprit’s aluminium chassis and engine are some way from being their final definition, but the car will use a version of Lotus’s Versatile Vehicle Architecture.

Lotus’s plan, due to revealed soon by new CEO Danny Bahar, is said to focus on a three-tier line-up. The four-cylinder Exige, Elise and Europa will be the entry-level models, and the bigger V6 Evoras (including the forthcoming convertible) will be the mid-range cars. The Esprit will be the “ultimate expression of the brand” according to our source.

Hilton Holloway

Twitter - follow autocar.co.ukSee all the latest Lotus reviews, news and video

Join the debate

Comments
5

26 November 2009

Will make my guess by saying it will be 1400kgs and 420bhp.

26 November 2009

I wonder if its another transversely installed engine.
The wheelbase of the exige seems suspiciously short for a more normal transaxel arrangement.

26 November 2009

I'm not convinced that this is an Esprit mule. It simply makes no sense for Lotus to use the short wheelbase Exige as a test mule for a much larger car when they have a much better option available - The Evora. The Evora is almost exactly the right size - the rear passenger area providing space for the V8 Esprit engine.

This car is more likely to be a project for another manufacturer (Lotus are always keen to sell to other manufacturers e.g. VX220) or a racing version of the Exige, or even the next generation Elise!

BTW the source of the 275 - 325bhp per tonne Esprit power to weight figure is here (in a graph in the presentation slides)

http://www.scribd.com/doc/21734205/Evora-Vva

www.twitter.com/racingpuma

26 November 2009

The Esprit will look exactly like an Elise/Elise/Elisa, so this is a genuine pic. Of course Evo etc will be bursting their pants once the test drive and Lotus hospitality becomes available, but as an ex Lotus owner, I definitely won't be interested in what will no doubt be another piss take from this company.

30 November 2009

My sources have now confirmed that this car is NOT an Esprit test mule.

If anyone still needs convincing, take a look at this -

http://www.pilbeamracing.co.uk/rsw_evo.htm

The Pilbeam RSW Evo is an Exige based car fitted with either a 2.4 V8 or 2.3 V6 turbo. Note how much the car has had to be stretched ahead of the rear wheels to fit these engines in.

Anyone who still thinks that the modified Exige in Autocar's pics has a 5.0 V8 Lexus IS-F engine needs to go to Specsavers. There clearly isn't enough room for that engine.

www.twitter.com/racingpuma

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK