Not for the first time Lotus is looking to reinvent itself, this time with a V6 hybrid supercar that will revive the spirit of the iconic Esprit.
Britain’s Autocar reports that the brand is working on a new two-seater, mid-engine supercar that will do battle with the likes of the Ferrari F8 Tributo, McLaren 720S and upcoming Aston Martin Vanquish. It’s part of an effort from new Lotus owners, Chinese automotive giant Geely, to make the brand a serious sports car player again.
While it’s unclear if the new car will wear the Esprit badge, made famous in the 1970s and ‘80s as the brand’s flagship sports car (as well as its appearance in several James Bond movies), it will be the brand’s first all-new model in more than a decade. However, it’s expected to be based on a modified version of the brand’s current aluminium platform, that underpins its Evora.
It will follow the brand’s limited edition, fully-electric Evija hypercar that will help reset the Lotus image before a new wave of next-generation models arrive to replace the ageing Elise and Evora.
The new ‘Esprit’ is set to be powered by a hybrid version of the Toyota-sourced 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine. Recently installed Lotus CEO Phil Popham wants all future models to have some form of electrification and can take advantage of learnings from fellow Geely-owned brand, Sweden’s Volvo.
Styling for this new model is expected to borrow heavily from the Evija, with sharp lines and a wedge-shape that will give it a nod to the classic Esprit.
The new ‘Esprit’ is due to launch sometime in 202. It’s too early to say if and when it will be available in Australia.
Lotus has a history of ill-fated attempts to re-launch the Esprit. In 2010, under the then-leadership for former Red Bull executive Danny Bahar, Lotus showed off five concept cars at the Paris Motor Show. A new Esprit was the flagship, joined by a re-born Elan, all-new Elise, front-engine Elite and four-door Eterne – none ever made production.