When Lotus stopped production in 2004, saying that it was temporary, many have wondered if the Esprit would ever return, been in production for 28 years, with only 10,675 examples being produced, with no major design change with the car over the years, just minor touch-ups with the exterior and newer engines, Lotus finally decided to do a proper redesign of the car and bring it back.
After 7 years now, Lotus has developed a new Esprit, which has first appeared at the 2010 Paris Auto Show, showing a complete change from the last Esprit, with an all new, futuristic look, new engine, and new technology. The new Esprit will come with the option of either having a 3.2L 350 hp V6, normally aspirated engine, a turbo-charged variant that will produce 500, or a 4.8L V8 engine that will produce 550 hp. Lotus has also said that there will be Esprit R version that will have an up-rated V8 engine with 620 hp. There is also an option to have an Esprit as an hybrid.
Performance figures, according to Lotus, the Esprit can do 0 – 60 mph in 3.2 seconds, top speed expected to be near 205 mph. Some performance features includes a seven-speed, paddle-shift dual-clutch gearbox, Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) brake system from Formula One, and much of the car being made out of carbon fiber, to weight just under 3,300 lbs.
Lotus plans to begin production at the end of 2012, as 2013 models, with an expected price of being around $175,000 USD, which would put the new Esprit up against the Porsche 911 Turbo, Lamborghini Gallardo, Ferrari 458 Italia and McLaren MP4-12C. Lotus also plans to produce much more then they did with the old Esprit, which was averaging a production rate of 396 cars/year, so the new Esprit won’t be as scarce, also enough reason to keep the price from being much higher.
Based on appearance, the new Esprit does have the same overall shape to it’s predecessor, but that’s where the similarities end, the new design is something completely new, very smooth, much more aerodynamic to the old, and much more appealing to own one, if you can afford one.
Lotus has not yet released any information about when the new Esprit will be on sale or if there is the option to pre-order, but a production ready model of this car maybe unveiled somtime next year.