Lotus CEO talks smack about Ferrari 458, McLaren MP4-12C

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

A few days ago, we received word that Lotus was ditching the Toyota-sourced V8 and dropping its own engine into the new Esprit. Now we get a few pointed remarks from the automaker, intent on clarifying its future position in the supercar segment, and a bit more insight into the powerplant.

Lotus CEO Dany Bahar told a recent press conference audience that its upcoming flagship will offer a more "authentic" driving experience than the targeted Ferrari 458 Italia and McLaren MP4-12C. Those are fighting words, directed at very lofty rivals. Furthermore, according to Bahar, any injection of KERS-style (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) technology in the new Esprit will be to add to the driving experience, not detract from it.

In other engine-related news, the in-house V8 is rumored to be both lighter and smaller than the reportedly dropped Toyota 5.0-liter (currently found under the hood of the Lexus IS-F). The new eight should debut with a power rating of about 570 horsepower. That's potent, and it's necessary to be a genuine contender in this segment. As a reminder, when the last Esprit ended production in early 2004 its twin-turbo 3.5-liter V8 was rated at "only" 350 horsepower.

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