Update: After this story was widely reported in major car magazines it turns out the Lotus is not to be replaced in 2006/2007 and that this image isn't actually that of a replacement. A source from Lotus says this is just one design they're exploring for a future vehicle to be slotted a step above the Elise. There are very few details at this point.
Original Post: The snub-nosed second-generation Lotus Elise that is finally hitting U.S. shores doesn't meet American safety guidelines for a mass produced vehicle. But for some reason the Elise is getting a three-year exemption according to Car & Driver's latest issue (the one with the ugly green Charger on the cover). This new generation (spy pictured here) will meet all U.S. guidelines and looks very Esprit to me. Price is expected to hover around $40,000.