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New Lotus Esprit Details Trickle Out

December 14, 2011 by Matt

2014 Lotus Esprit Top View Green British Racing BRG

Automobile links to the latest tantalizing morsel from Lotus concerning their upcoming Esprit reboot, shown above. The tidbit in question is a glimpse at the 2013 Esprit’s all-new V8 engine, which was originally adapted from the Lexus IS F‘s mill before Lotus decided to start fresh. Given the British niche automaker’s engine-building experience (they developed the original Corvette ZR1’s world-beating LT5 powerplant, among many others), I’ve no doubt they’ll do it right.

Lotus Esprit V8 Red

As much of an issue as I have with Lotus’ plans for diversification of their product line, there will always be a place for the Esprit. In many ways, the ’77-’04 original was the quintessentially British supercar, a fascinating and compelling amalgam of cutting-edge and long-obsolete technology, a unique intersection between differing performance philosophies. Before the Esprit, Lotus cars embodied a characteristic devotion to light weight, but the Esprit was arguably the first Lotus to add power to the equation. Beginning with the 210 hp Essex Turbo in ’80, through the factory turbo cars of the ’80s, culminating in 300 hp out of the 2.2l 4-cylinder S4s in ’95, and progressing onto the ultimate 350 hp twin-turbo V8 of the late ’90s / early ’00s (shown above), the Esprit story has been one of continual evolution over a 27-year span. Truthfully, Lotus’ commitment to the Esprit is surpassed only by Porsche’s dogged and ongoing refinement of their 40+ year old 911, though in the British firm’s case, the attachment was driven largely by an perennial lack of capital to develop anything new, rather than by a more pure affection for the car’s legacy, as in the case of the German concern.

I love the way the Esprit took on the best from Porsche, Ferrari and Lamborghini during the supercar wars of the ’80s. It was the 4-cylinder turbocharged underdog from the UK, and had the glamor and pedigree to match its rivals step for step. And it looked more like a pure supercar than any of them, lacking the Countach’s over-the-top flamboyance, the bloated Testarossa’s Miami Vice cheese graters and the 911’s pumped-up bulges. No, the Esprit was just a simple, low, elemental wedge shape, the two-seat, mid-engined core of a supercar with every non-essential geegaw absent. And quirky as it may have been, it remained largely true to that philosophy throughout its evolution. For that, I remain an ardent fan.

Filed under: Lotus, News

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