Volvo parent company Geely is helping Lotus end its drought of new products. The storied British company is allegedly developing a mid-engined hybrid coupe it will position as a spiritual successor to the Esprit.
The yet-unnamed model will slot above the existing Evora as a more usable and more refined alternative, according to sources who spoke to Autocar. It will ride on a modified Evora platform, but the two cars won't look anything alike; the upcoming hybrid will liberally borrow styling cues from the electric Evija hypercar.
The planned gasoline-electric powertrain will make the coupe a hybrid in more ways than one. The space directly behind the two-seater cabin will be occupied by a V6 sourced from the Toyota parts bin, and the electrified portion of the system will consist mainly of components provided by Volvo. An output over the 500-horsepower mark is likely, but more specific technical specifications remain guarded. What's nearly certain is that the Lotus engineering team will go to significant lengths to offset the weight added by the lithium-ion battery pack.
Insiders described the coupe as a stop-gap between the current-generation Lotus models, including the Elise still sold in many global markets, and an array of upcoming sports cars that will ride on a new platform. Another one of the company's future models is an SUV — its first — built on Volvo bones and aimed at the Porsche Macan.
Lotus will introduce its mid-engined coupe during the first half of 2021, still according to Autocar, and sales will begin shortly after. It's too early to tell whether the model will be sold in the United States, but the company has previously indicated it wants to broaden its foothold in our market in order to grow, so we'd bet on seeing it here.
This isn't the first time Lotus has tried to reboot the Esprit. In 2010, under the leadership of Dany Bahar, the company took the Paris auto show by storm when it unveiled five close-to-production concept cars including one that previewed a modern-day Esprit. The project was far too ambitious and none of the models shown in the French capital made it to production. In 2012, Lotus vehemently refuted rumors claiming it had canceled the Esprit, which was penciled-in for a 2013 launch, but hindsight is 20/20. Time will tell if two's the charm.