• Jun 13, 2011
Lotus Esprit Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

When Lotus unveiled its slew of new concepts at the Paris Motor Show, it included a rather enticing new take on the Esprit. The show car packed the 5.0-liter V8 from the Lexus IS-F, but the latest reports suggest that the British automaker is planning on developing its own eight-pot engine for the supercar.

Although the original mid-engined exotic used four- and eight-cylinder engines developed and built in-house, the newer generation of Lotus sportscars have used engines borrowed from Toyota. However, rumors have been circulating that the partnership with the Japanese auto giant could be coming to a close as Lotus weighs returning to building its own engines.

And little wonder, as the Esprit will reportedly be positioned significantly higher than any of the current models. While the current range-topping Evora S sells for around $76,000, reports indicate that the Esprit will more than double that in the $170-200K range.

That would make it more expensive than the Porsche 911 Turbo ($137K) or even the Turbo S ($160K), but undercut the top-of-the-line GT2 RS ($245K)... not to mention the likes of the Ferrari 458 Italia, McLaren MP4-12C and Lamborghini Gallardo (all of which start above $220K) by a significant margin – and crucially pack their own lunches.


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  • 19 Comments
      Trunk Monkey
      • 3 Years Ago
      Lotus' strategy seems all over the place. First, they reveal a record number of concepts and then delay or cancel most if not all. Now, they talk of moving upmarket and of developing their own engines, while also mentioning the possibility of the Company being for sale. Seems like the old L-O-T-U-S acronym is holding true: Lots Of Trouble Usually Serious. IMHO they need to fix the ageing Elise before they do anything else. The core platform is almost 15 years old now. Once they've done that and made it a sales success, then they can think about producing an Esprit. In the meantime, they're burning precious cash on hype when other manufacturers are investing in future technology, such as zero emission engines. Why invest in your own V8 when the fuel cell is 10 years away? They'll never get a return on investment.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        torqued
        • 3 Years Ago
        It wouldn't be an Autoblog thread without the obligatory Dan Frederiksen "every car should be electric" post. I may not agree with you, but at least you post on-topic.
      jvshenderson
      • 3 Years Ago
      That Esprit Concept press shot looks a little ghetto - like they took it offroading on a local hiking trail and did an impromptu photo shoot with an iPhone...
      erhcanadian
      • 3 Years Ago
      Lotus will have a very hard time competing in the "upmarket" against Ferrari and Porsche. Unfortunately, many people who buy "upmarket" sports cars aren't driving enthusiasts, they are just people with money who want to look flashy. They care about build quality and interior refinement, two things that reviews have found lacking in the Evora. Lotus failed in the "downmarket" because they never understood the market. Many enthusiasts who would love an Elise, cannot afford a second car just for weekend and track use. I think Lotus should have produced a 4-seat hatchback to compete with the STI and EVO.
      ColonelAdama
      • 3 Years Ago
      use lexus lf-a engine. Enough said.
      oRenj9
      • 3 Years Ago
      Lotus: Where is our Miata competitor? Lots of people can't afford a second car if they are over 25k or so. If they want to sell cars in more volume, they have to lower the price point for their entry level car. It is alright if they have to add some weight to hit that point, but price is really key. Am I crazy for thinking Ford would make a great partner for them? Ford has a wide variety of great power-trains that would be great in a sports car. The Mustang engines could easily power the Evora and Espirit, while the Eco-Boost four could carry an Elise-sized car with some authority. Maybe they could even negotiate for some dealer support from Ford. I'm sure having an exotic sports car like the Elise would definitely get people in the door at the dealerships, even if they are just going to buy a Focus. This would also widen their availability market. The only reason I won't buy an Elise is the nearest dealership is three hours away!
      KAG
      • 3 Years Ago
      Seems like it is going to be a heavy car, Lotus needs to lighten it up. Rather hear a Audi V8 whaling in the rear then a Toyota motor.
      Easy_Eight
      • 3 Years Ago
      Detuned Mclaren/Ricardo V8 please Lotus
      Hazdaz
      • 3 Years Ago
      I wouldn't be surprised if Toyota simply didn't want to give Lotus access to its top-tier V8 which necessitated Lotus going it alone. Either way, I am very much afraid that Lotus has bitten off more than it can chew... its got supposedly like 4 or 5 cars coming out and now also developing their own V8.
      GasMan
      • 3 Years Ago
      Yeah, because building their own engines has worked so well for Lotus in the past! I think they are considering going it alone because Toyota engines, while good designs, are optimized for efficiency and durability, not power. It is laughable that the Evora's 3.5 Liter DOHC VVT engine is only putting out 270hp. That engine, with the right tuning, should easily be at 300, similar to Nissan with the 350Z. I can only assume that Toyota won't let them reprogram the ECU. Instead Lotus has to add a supercharger to create the S. I own a Lotus and love the brand but it will be a hard road to achieve the level of brand equity with Porsche and Ferrari, two marques that have earned their reputations and following from years of racing success and amazing cars. Lotus, while having considerable history and some amazing cars of their own, are not in the same league. Trotting an Evora to LeMans or putting your name on a Renault is not the same. I can only assume that Bahar and company have crunched the numbers and the only way to make it work is to either stay very small, which hasn't really worked, or to swing for the fences by establishing their own heritage and brand credibility to go head to head with the big boys. That is why they are in F1 (sort of). If Lotus becomes just like Porsche and Ferrari in performance and price (and weight), I am not sure what the compelling reason to buy one will be. I give them some credit for the bold approach, although I do not agree with it. If they are going upmarket they sure can't do it with pedestrian engines out of a Camry, or even a Lexus.
        MezJr
        • 3 Years Ago
        @GasMan
        The ECU thing is not true, recall they reprogramed the toyota 1.8 to change the VVT points.
      diablo000
      • 3 Years Ago
      I may be crazy, but didn't Lotus already say that they're looking at developing their own engines again months ago?
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
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