Brief and disappointing is this report from Autocar on the status of the Lotus Esprit: it is finally ready and sitting at the light, but the light might not go green for a long time. The good news is that from being a concept two years ago at the Paris Motor Show, the aluminum and carbon fiber revival coupe is "purportedly almost finished." It is powered by a twin-turbo, 5.0-liter V8 with something like 650 horsepower, boosted by a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) and shifting through a seven-speed paddleshift transmission. Even with all that, the UK price is said to be around that of a Porsche 911 4S Cabriolet, and the car only needs "signing off and minor tweaking."

The bad news is that former company owner Proton couldn't stay independent long enough to see through the company's ambitious five-concept-car assault – led by then-CEO Dany Bahar who was hired explicitly to lead such a campaign – and was swallowed up by Malaysian auto supplier DRB-Hicom. For a brief spell Lotus had to shut down production for lack of funds. Then the new owner cleaned house, sweeping out Bahar and, according to the Financial Times just one month ago, the Esprit and every other concept with it. Just after the FT piece came out, Lotus denied the Esprit had been canceled. Still, according to Autocar, the management whirlpool is keeping the Esprit "far from becoming a production reality."

If we're honest with ourselves, we'll keep in mind that the Esprit has been slipping into and out of a terminal ether for what seems like decades. None of us knows what is going on inside Hethel HQ, but the fact that there really is a lightweight, twin-turbo, 650-hp Lotus Esprit finally ready to be produced has to be, in spite of all else, very good news.


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  • 26 Comments
      Groagun
      • 2 Years Ago
      First: please AB stop taking reports from sources like AutoCar at face value, especially stories about anything British. This print magazine has a terrible track record of late when it comes to British bias reporting. Just because they are one of if not the oldest, it doesn't make them good at what they do. Second: DRB Hicom could not care any less about Lotus. The deal and sale was for Proton and all of it's holdings. That just happened to include Lotus. What DRB was interested in was Proton, not it's cars but the name plate and specifically the new billion dollar production facility in Malaysia. Third: Lotus is in such turmoil right now that even if the Esprit was 'production ready', they couldn't get it out the door. Do some investigative journalism and you will quickly discover why. Fourth: this may be the point that nerve becomes the truth and its sad and a tragedy. Finding out why the Esprit cannot see production now should lead to more legal proceedings against the last management team and one man in particular. Misappropriated and just plain missing funds should be investigated further but without the cooperation from DRB, this will never happen. It's not their fault but simply do not want or need the scandal or perceived humiliation. What Lotus needs is to be free from any ties to its' relatively recent past and to be sold to an entirely independent ownership group with a strong plan for the future. I hope someday this is in the cards and does not come too late for this great brand and its' loyal employees and fans.
      greg
      • 2 Years Ago
      that is a pretty car
      me
      • 2 Years Ago
      I wish car companies could sell a single model or concept to another car company....this just shouldnt go to waste.
      Drakkon
      • 2 Years Ago
      i"ll take one. What a great looking car.
      Richard
      • 2 Years Ago
      "Even with all that, the UK price is said to be around that of a Porsche 911 4S Cabriolet" Yes, for $150k a company SHOULD be able to sell a mid engine, twin turbo V8 supercar. Correct me if I'm wrong but unless there is some super new technology (ok, KERS aside), there is nothing really new to this formula. Cars SHOULD be getting cheaper over time because of productivity increases, technology, etc. This is why a $40k Hyundai Genesis is a superior car to a 15 year old S class that cost twice as much new.
        k.naz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Richard
        At least that S Klasse survived 15 years.
      Rieku Ame
      • 2 Years Ago
      This car is just plain awesome looking. And being that it's a Lotus, it'll probably drive better than it looks too.
      Marc-Anthony T.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ok so this is a Lamborghini ripoff...there's nothing that original besides the head/tail lights...it's a good car nonetheless but come on this is as blatant as the 2013 Accord and first generation Hyundai Genesis...yeesh...but it's a nice,good looking, considerable car at the end of the day
      Gary
      • 2 Years Ago
      I own 2 Toy/Celicas, 2001 & 2003 which I use for SCCA auto-X and they both have plastic front clips that look nearly identical to lotus and have better wings, handle better than Lotus and my 1/4 mile = 12 seconds flat, 2 cars race tuned for under $25,000 USD investment. Lets see = math = $12,500 USD,each, (140k & 90k miles ) campaigned on track 6 years each, at <$2,000 USD each ? ? Nothing New will compare with cheap racing fun and oh yeh they are daily drivers any shade-tree mech. can wrench on, I have smoked every stock Lotus in OHIO,old and new..on & off track,,so Lotus THIS!!!
        Drakkon
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Gary
        I'm taking my girl on on Saturday, can I borrow your Celica?
          Gary
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Drakkon
          At my cost you are welcome, any time, I'm 66 years old, retired engineer and any race enthusiast like you can have either one (5 speed or 6 speed manual trans) for a weekend free if, you can drive a stick. Song = You Picked a Fine Time to Leave Me Loose Wheel ? ? Eh??? What Era are you from?? And while I envy any one who can afford this price level there a lot of better choices if you just want to make tire smoke and have fun fun without visiting the dealer and waiting months to have it fixed (for rediculous dollars) before the next outing.
          Drakkon
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Drakkon
          Gary, All valid points. I do laugh, however, when I see people comparing a hand-built & polished toys, very expensive (usually) beautiful toys with garage built race cars. The old magazine Sport Compact Car built an MR2 spyder with an Exige. It took a ton of work to match the track performance and the result was a car that was not worth of a date night.
      Agilis
      • 2 Years Ago
      I see something that wants to look like the Aventador. Just sayin'
        Titanium Welders
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Agilis
        Agreed. Front looks like a Lambo, middle bit looks like a 458 Ferrari and the back looks like MP4-12c. Not necessarily a bad thing, the car looks good!
      Benny90
      • 2 Years Ago
      Here's to hoping that it gets released! One beautiful vehicle that's for sure!
      Duran
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm a little confused here. What's the point of purchasing a car company if you aren't going to let it produce new cars? The current gen Elise has been out since '02 and the Exige since '04 according to Wiki. The Evora is very nice but it doesn't accurately represent what the other two do. But, maybe Hicom is right. Instead of launching a new model lotus could just churn out the next generation Elise and Exige?
      Rr778
      • 2 Years Ago
      Seems to be a tough market to sell low hp cars that don't handle as well as the sub 40k crowd....
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