• Dec 16, 2010
Lotus Esprit Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

Might Lotus, in its unerring though recently intensified quest to take on Ferrari, develop its own V8 engine for use in the promised-before-2013 Esprit? According to company head Dany Bahar, it's a distinct possibility.

It should be mentioned that Lotus is quite the well-sorted engineering firm. In fact, the British automaker has designed three complete engines for other manufacturers and last produced its own V8 engine from 1996 through 2004 in the then-current Esprit.

If it does indeed develop its own engine architecture, Autocar suggests it will be seen in V8 form in the Esprit and V6 form in the Elan, which is slated to follow about six months after the Esprit. And what of the Toyota-sourced powerplants – currently seen in the Lotus Elise, Exige and Evora and shown off in the five conceptual new sports cars recently unveiled at the Paris Motor Show – we've come to expect from Lotus?

"In the mind of sports-car enthusiasts, Toyota power might not be good enough," admitted Bahar. In the end, though, the decision may come down to simple dollars and cents, and we're certainly looking forward to seeing how it all plays out in the coming few years.



Photos copyright ©2010 Drew Phillips / AOL

[Source: Autocar]


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  • 38 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      I don't see whats wrong with a 611 hp Toyota Hybrid V8, but i guess they know better?
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ hashiryu

        "but designing and building engines does not strike me as one of lotus' core competencies. "

        Lotus above everything else is an engineering firm... they probably make way more money on designing engines and components and tuning other company's products than they do actually selling cars under their own name.

        The only issue I have with Lotus building their own engines is if they can afford to do it - they are not a huge company, and dropping the resources they would need into designing their own engines might be just a wee bit much.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Think Danny might be hanging his hat where his hat can't reach. LFA or IS much Mr.Bahar?

        I would not buy a Lotus with a lotus built engine. Lotus tuned... sure, but designing and building engines does not strike me as one of lotus' core competencies.

        Would they even be able to afford to build a competitive, reliable engine while still meeting emissions and economy goals? In two years?

        Danny, I like your new line up, but do not F'k up my future Esprit.

        kthnxbye.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The 4-cylinder they sourced from Toyota for the Elise/Exige absolutely sucks compared to the competition. They should have gotten the Honda K20. The V6 they got out of the Camary sucks. Just about any V6 from anyone else is better (Nissan VQ, etc).
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Haz;

        I do know that they are capable, but most if not all of Lotus' engines have been based on an existing motor. Designing an engine from scratch is nothing to sneeze at, and cost a very large fortune.

        Lotus are far better known for their brilliant chassis work than anything in the engine bay, and I think that trying to add that to the portfolio is a disaster waiting to happen. Lets see that after this lineup of cars come, is successful and the company is standing solidly on it's own to legs. Too much, too soon.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The 611 hp Toyota Hybrid V8 runs contrary to everything Lotus stands for: add lightness. I know Porsche has finally caved to the stupid hybrid fad, but it will probably be many years before Lotus does the same.
      • 4 Years Ago
      They should buy all the BMW 4.0 v8 engines they can get their hands on, before Bmw goes weak and puts a six in thier new M3. I love this engine in my 2009 M3, six speed with cloth insert seats. Lotus rocks by sticking with a v8 for a future car, Thankyou Lotus.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The IS-F engine can make the same power, A LOT more torque, cost less, and potentially be more reliable than the M3 V8. Why would they look at it?
      • 4 Years Ago
      There is more to a car than reliability and more to an engine than HP.
      • 4 Years Ago
      you know toyota engines are a pice of shi*** ...words from Ishishima san from Spoon and I think the same, In fact toyota tunne cars like Merc and that prety poor, why dont use a K20 or SR20 they are powerfull anr more reliable....right now the only 2 big engines from japan are from the HSV and GTR and thats it
        • 4 Years Ago
        Why use an sr20 when its outdated and slow as hell without forced induction, not to mention the sr20det can't pass emissions. The K20 is heavier then the 2zz. Sure its more powerful, but power is easy as hell to obtain in the 2zz. But taking away weight from the K20 is hard. Not to mention the emissions are harder to pass when force inducted. Why you think brambo had to use an ecotec motor for the ariel atom in the US than the K20?

        And if you are talking about HSV, why not add LFA engine? At least LFA engine exists for the public, not to mention the engine is lighter than the GTRs 6 pot TT.
      • 4 Years Ago
      lotus going heavy and dumb v8 is a huge mistake. they had the chance to be special again by going even lighter, more aero and electric power drive. huge mistake.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Lotus is abandoning what they do best (light-weight cars and small engines) at a time when light-weight cars and small engines are becoming more attractive.
        • 4 Years Ago
        At the reported 550 ps, it will have quite a bit more horsepower per tonne than the ultimate version of the old Esprits, the Sport 350: 550 ps @ 1450 kg = 379 ps/tonne vs 350 ps @ 1300 = 269 ps/tonne. That's a difference of 110 ps/tonne.

        By comparison, the Exige S 260 is 282 hp/tonne (260 hp @ 920 kg), the 997.2 Carrera S is 256 ps/tonne (385 ps @ 1500 kg), the 997.2 Turbo is 318 ps/tonne (500 ps @ 1570) and a Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera is 425 ps/tonne (570 ps @ 1340 kg).
        • 4 Years Ago
        While the new Espirit may be heaver than previous generations, for comparison's sake:

        Concept Espirit: est. 3,296 lbs.
        LFA: est. 3,263 - 3,483 lbs.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The new lotus engines will involve toyota in some way. I would guess that they will help with the engineering/manufacturing.

      Lotus released a press release stating:

      "Lotus has decided to take the relationship with Toyota to a new level that will enable Lotus to create tailor-made powertrain solutions for future Lotus cars."

      • 4 Years Ago
      the toyota motors are known for their amazing reliability, lack of electrical problems, and lightweight construction. If anyone remembers, the supra's 2JZ-GTE motor is still one of the forced induction kings. With little modification it can easily handle 500whp, and with proper modification, easily pushes out 1000hp. Not many engines can do that. Furthermore, the lightweight and rev-happy screamers that toyota's make are quite amazing. Yes, honda has the k20, and the s2000's f20c, but at the end of the day, honda's specialty comes down to 4 cylinder engines. If you're looking for amazing durability with forced induction, honda's are a pain to modify. the internals don't work. (i've built turbo hondas and toyotas). At the end of the day, its better business to source a reliable block from toyota, and wring out some more power from it. the bmw blocks will have too much expense, and weight.
      • 4 Years Ago
      way better looking than the 458 imo....
      • 4 Years Ago
      "In the mind of sports-car enthusiasts, Toyota power might not be good enough"

      Considering Toyota asked yamaha to develop the engine for the LF-A for similar reasons, yes, I'm inclined to agree with the man... well that and his company only produces awesome drivers cars.... though the use of 'sports-car' is a bit odd here, vs supercar, as the evora has toyo power.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yamaha has done head design (IE flow design) for Toyota since they did the head for the 2000GT in the late 60's (again this makes sense as Toyota owns a sizeable part of Yamaha). This CAN (not always the case) include elements of the the headers/exhaust manifolds and intake manifolds (which makes sense as you want to maximize air-flow through the whole system).

        The sound part of the LFA was done through tunning of the intake runners and headers/exhaust manifolds.

        It should also be noted that Toyotas perform well in their respective class. For instance someone mentioned that the Camry V6 engine is not as good as the competition. Yet the Camry V6 is faster than the V6 cars (and the Sonata Turbo) it competes with. And the IS-F also performs well as compared to the M3.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @FT - interesting... learn something new every day... though 'engine sound' is perhaps the most vague thing I've ever read in the comments, especially following something as specific as heads. do you mean exhaust et-al? It's just weird to read someone going from ultra specific to ridiculously vague in the same breath.
        • 4 Years Ago
        zamafir, that is incorrect. Yamaha designed the heads (and why not since Toyota has been Yamaha's largest shareholder for decades) for better flow (motorcycle manufacturer's are very good at this) and engine sound. They didn't do the whole engine, that task was performed by Toyota.

        This arrangement (Yamaha doing the head) was also responsible for previous engines in cars like the Supra, MR2, etc. etc. and has worked well for them both.

        Lotus is making a huge mistake, any engine they design will likely be less reliable, not much more powerful (if at all) and cost a bundle more as you lose economies of scale.

      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm curious to the cognizenti amoungst you.

      Coming from product management in cell phone biz, what is ballpark cost to develop engine? Including engineering, testing, cert, plant, production? In our case we outsource manufacturing to contractors and some sunk costs for tooling can be pushed out to subs with minimum orders etc.

      This has always been burning question in my heart.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It always surprised me that Lotus sourced their engines from Toyota and not someone like BMW or Fiat. A modern V8 engine from Lotus for Lotus would be pure automotive porn.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @CarCrazed4Life

        Maybe they could source the Honda 3.5L V8 from Indy Car ::drool::
        • 4 Years Ago

        Yeah the ol' V8 from 96' to 2004 Esprit was a real corker.

        Add in the 'lighter is righter' Chapman mantra and cook up a 21st century direct injection version and we're off to the races.
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