The most recent plan to bring back the name, which died along with the car itself when production ceased in 2003, came from former Lotus boss Jean-Marc Gales when Geely first took ownership of the brand.
We first reported that two years ago, stating such a car would be here by 2020. Although that isn't now the case, next year will mark the 45th anniversary of the wedge-shaped original, giving Lotus the historic link necessary to stage the perfect revival.
More significantly, Autocar has learned there is a Series 1 Esprit in the bowels of Hethel being secretly ‘digitised’, with the body being scanned religiously on a co-ordinate measuring machine. Does that mean a continuation-style recreation of the original is on he cards? Or is Lotus planning to use the old model as an important heritage link to this new car? The jury's out.
That's not the only mystery, however. Although this new car will be an Esprit in (E)spirit - by offering a mid-engined layout, high performance and celebrated Lotus driving dynamics, but in a package that's more useable and comfortable for grand touring - it may not actually use the name.
That would be a pity if it is indeed the case, but it doesn't take away from the fact that this could finally be a Lotus that demands few everyday compromises, and one that baits Ferrari for a fraction of the price. Whatever comes of it, the next few years should offer exciting times for fans of one of Britain’s most historic marques.