With its 60th anniversary rolling around the corner, Lotus isn't about to coast down the straightaway. After years of relying on Elise derivatives – including the Exige, 2-Eleven and Europa – the world-renowned gurus of handling are preparing two completely new models: the Eagle – a new 2+2 GT – and the return of the Esprit – the hardcore, Ferrari-battling supercar.

After seeing numerous spy shots of the former, a test mule for the latter has emerged, giving us a glimpse at how the top-of-the-line Lotus is shaping up. The Esprit's design is tipped to be quite different from other Lotus models. But while the platform will be distinct from that of the compact Elise, Lotus' new Variable Vehicle Architecture will be malleable for future applications as well... although, with such a diverse sportscar range zooming over the horizon, we wonder what else Lotus has got in store.

Sources claim power for the new Esprit will come from BMW – not an in-house engine like the previous Esprit, nor a Toyota engine like those found in the current models, and not an Audi engine like that one-off. The 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 from Bavaria is tipped to be tuned to 500hp for the Esprit, which will be ready to take on the Ferrari F430 and Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 when it hits the market at the end of next year.

[Source: EVO]