Lotus Esprit V8 still has chances to be produced

Article by Christian Andrei, on February 22, 2014

When Dany Bahar was the chief executive of Lotus, the British manufacturer built several concept cars but none of them reached production. Back in 2012, Dany Bahar was fired by Lotus’ new Malaysian owners DRB-Hicom and now the company is on an ongoing product renewal process in order to boost its sales.

During the launch of the 2014 Lotus Exige S Roadster in Australia, Alastair Manihera a.k.a. the brand manager for Lotus Australia and New Zeeland told the reporters that the company didn’t give up on the stalled Esprit V8 supercar project. Shown back in 2010 at the Paris Motor Show, the Esprit Concept was close to see the daylight, but the new owner halted all work on the progression, despite the fact that customers wanted such a car.

In its concept form, the Lotus Esprit was powered by a 5.0-liter V8 engine that generated 620 hp and 720 Nm of torque. With this engine, Lotus said that the Esprit sprints from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 3.4 seconds and has a top speed of 205 mph or 330 km/h. The engine was bolted to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, while the power was delivered to the road through the rear wheels.

The high-revving engine (9,000 rpm) was developed by Wolf Zimmerman, Lotus’ chief technical officer and according to him, it could be scaled down due to its modular design. A a result, it was planned to be used by the Elan and Elise in Six- and four-cylinder iterations.

"It was supposed to be a modular [engine] platform so you could break it down to six or four cylinders theoretically speaking, but again the factory is evaluating various options, on existing and future lines," said Manihera.

Currently, Lotus uses engines developed by Toyota in the Exige S and Evora (3.5-liter V6) as well as the Elise (four-cylinder engine used also by the Corolla). Due to increased sales in the last couple of years, Lotus’ faith might change as the numbers are prompting Malaysian owner DRB-Hicom to invest more cash.

"We have a much, much brighter future," said Manihera. "We are very pleased to be able to say that, because the brand's about passion and building cars that excite the soul." [source: motoring.com.au]

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