The New Lotus Family Part 1: Esprit Returns

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Claiming the Paris Motor Show would be a “dawn of a new era” for the British sports car company, automotive enthusiasts are not entirely sure what to expect.

Readers of have already been introduced to one example of Lotus’ future sports car direction. The Lotus Elite 2+2 coupe was unwrapped a week prior to the Paris show as a look at the not-so-distant advent of a new generation of exotic cars. However, as the exhibits prepared to open in France, few expected the Lotus Elite would be the vanguard for a rich five-car British sports car army. Leading off an extraordinary assortment of sports cars covering the high-performance gamut, all-new Lotus Esprit provides the exotic centerpiece in Paris.

The original Lotus Esprit has gone down in history as one of England’s most celebrated British-built exotic cars. The wedge-shaped profile played prominently in movies such as Pretty Woman and, of course, two James Bond movies. While Lotus will still not issue a submersible trim option including underwater depth charges, other impressive technology encapsulates the new Esprit.

Incorporating the weight-saving design becoming the new norm with Lotus this under 3,200 pound two-door, mid-engined supercar picks up from where the old Esprit left things back in 2004. Echoing that the Elite was presenting a considerable share of Lotus’ new styling DNA, the headlamp and front nose design are styled in a near identical manner. Intentional in every body line, some gentle curving is present along the upper and lower mid-section of the Esprit’s side profile. Riding up from the windshield, a glass roof is held in place by an arching roof frame. Paying stylistic tribute to the previous Esprit, the rear deck lid of the pre-production vehicle features the flat engine cover between the rear roof pillars. Upon introduction, the Lotus Esprit is being touted as many as 20 exterior colours available.

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The Lotus Esprit’s two-seat interior has the infectious charm of a dedicated performance car. The only fully visible display inside are based within the driver’s instrument cluster. Controls on the steering wheel reinforces this Esprit is a driver-oriented vehicle. Operating with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, there is not even a conventional gear selector on the rear console.

With many people calling the Lotus sports car brand newly-energized, the same can be said about the sports car’s rear-wheel drivetrain. Available as an option, KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) provides an electric power boost on top of the gasoline-fueled, supercharged 5 liter V-8 powerplant. Generating just short of 612 horsepower together, the Lotus Esprit is planned to deliver 0 to 62 times of 3.4 seconds as well as a top speed potential of 205 miles per hour.

Talking about the task of undertaking the Lotus Esprit, company’s Chief Executive Officer Dany Bahar remained mindful of the heritage. “One has to be very careful when taking on the challenge of reinventing such an iconic classic as the Esprit – everyone has an opinion. There’s a fine balance between acknowledging the greatness of the past whilst at the same time rapidly leaping forward to the future and ensuring that this car not only does the name Esprit justice but also the Lotus brand. I think we’ve managed to find the balance and in doing so created a new icon, a car people will find hard to resist.”

The impending flagship for Lotus, the new Esprit is targeted to enter the marketplace early 2013. When the exotic sports car makes its momentous return, Lotus has estimated the retail price at £110,000 (equal to about $174,000 U.S.).

Information and photo source: Lotus Car/ Newspress