Lotus has plans: the Elise is going to get a detuned Exige engine (220 BHP without an intercooler), a new Exige SR model will feature launch and traction control systems, California series Elise and Exige models are in the pipeline for the boulevard cruising crowd, and Lotus is also going to inject some luxury into the Europa.

But the big news -- which isn't the Esprit -- is the Lotus Eagle, which will be "a mid-engined four-seater" made of aluminum for the luxury lifestyle set. Lotus CEO Mike Kimberley said there will be seven (count 'em, seven) versions of the car, and in a crow-eating first for Lotus, the car will have paddle shifters. Lotus had previously sworn never to include them on a car, citing purity of the driving experience. But what does the market care for driving purity? (Insert maniacal laugh here.) The Eagle arrives at the end of 2008.

The much anticipated, exceedingly long-awaited Lotus Esprit was sent back for reworking by Kimberley, who said it didn't have enough Lotus heritage in it. In Lotus fashion, the car isn't trying to break any records by being a sub-200 MPH conveyance, but it will be powered by "a very high brand-image engine" and performance will be "exceptional" and "very usable." Lotus: stop dallying -- let's have it.

[Source: Channel 4]