Yet another rumor that I wish and hop will turn out to be true. Current scuttlebutt is that the next generation Lotus Esprit will get its power from a Lexus sourced V10. Given Lotus’ penchant for lightness, that kind of power-plant could be a serious way to motivate you down the road … wait, Lexus it going to be making a V10?
Ah yes, Lexus is making (going to make? hopefully will make?) a production version of their LF-A show car from a while back. It was a brutish looking, hard-creased sort of thing with a front engine/rear-drive layout. The upcoming (hopefully?) LF-A will supposedly have a V10 mill under the hood. The engine is 4.8 liters big, which is big these days, but not huge, and recent reports say that it will find its way into the middle of the upcoming Lotus Esprit.
It makes sense, Lotus has been using Toyota-sourced engines for several years now, most notably in their near-faultless Elise and Elise SC. And given Lotus’ penchant for lightweight uber alles, going with a 4.7 liter seems like a good fit. Evo magazine, out of the UK, says that Lotus\’ upcoming flagship might use a version of Lexus\’ V10. The engine would crank out at least 500 horsepower when crammed into the Esprit’s engine bay and rev to an 8,500 rpm redline. A 500 horsepower V10 in the Lotus Esprit would put the car squarely in the Lamborghini Gallardo and V10-powered Audi R8 camp, competition and performance-wise, and is scheduled to hit the market in 2012.
Reports also indicate that the V10 will not be the only power plant you will be able to select for the Esprit. According to LeftLaneNews, Lotus is also planning an entry-level model Esprit with a direct-injection V6 turning out 300 horsepower, and a mid-level model with a 417 horsepower V8 from the Lexus IS-F. And Lotus is also rumored to be readying a hybrid version of the Esprit as well.
One way or another, Lotus seems to have finally cracked it, as far as overcoming it’s oldest of foes is concerned: reliability. After years and years of making great cars that were problematic at best, Lotus’ mechanical marriage to Toyota seems to be paying real dividends. An Elise, although small, can almost be thought of as a practical, every day sort of car. And if the upcoming Esprit actually does land in showrooms with a Lexus-sourced V10, we could have a super-car that has everyday functionality.
Photo from Flickr user dave_7