Lotus Esprit concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

Fast. Lightweight. Eminently enticing. There are a lot of things you could call a Lotus, but perhaps "ambitious" would be the most suitable. The company's been snapping up former Ferrari personnel en masse, unveiled five new concepts at the same time last year, and plans on returning to producing its own engines to bring them to market.

Now it seems that Lotus has its eye on a rather boastful prize indeed: that of the fastest supercar built in the UK. That's quite the goal when you consider it'll be up against the likes of the McLaren MP4-12C and Aston Martin One-77. To get there, Lotus reportedly plans on turbocharging its new V8 up to 612 horsepower, and stripping out the new Esprit to pump up the power-to-weight ratio from both ends in Superleggera fashion.

As it stands, the naturally-aspirated V8 is anticipated to produce 562 horsepower from its 4.8 liters of displacement. Lopping off a couple of cylinders or chopping the block in half could also give Lotus six- and four-cylinder versions of the modular engine for use in a variety of cars. But while the engine may be raced initially (for example in a new LMP2 car) and shoehorned into the other products Lotus plans to bring to market, its first road-going application is expected to be in the new Esprit.

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