Lotus Cars is a British manufacturer of sports and racing cars based at the former site of RAF Hethel, a World War II airfield in Norfolk. The company designs and builds race and production automobiles of light weight and fine handling characteristics.
Lotus won’t replace the Esprit until early 2011, company boss Mike Kimberley has said. The British supercar is being totally redesigned after Lotus put it on the back burner to fast-track the new Lotus Evora. Now there are hints that the range-topping Esprit could be offered as a hybrid, possibly using a mix of Lotus and Toyota technology. Kimberley has said he wants to offer “guilt-free, high performance motoring” and admits the company is “working on something”. With Lotus’ long-held expertise in lightweight structures, it has a wide-ranging engine development and alternative propulsion programmes on the go.
The engine is currently being used in the Lexus LF-A, a car that has not yet been launched itself. Being connected with the Japanese carmaker Toyota, Lotus has access to its entire range of parts and components, as well as powerplants from the Lexus line. This points to the likelihood of an Esprit flagship, costing more than ?100,000, equipped with the compact 8500rpm V10 unit (to rival the Lamborghini Gallardo), including a less expensive variant equipped with the 5-liter, 417bhp V8 from the Lexus IS-F and an entry-level model coming with a Lotus-tuned direct-injection Toyota V6 unit that can come up with 300bhp. Although a V8 or a V10 unit would definitely boost the profile of Lotus, there is also a possibility of an Eco Esprit. Lotus is moving forwards with more efficient products with lightweight engineering and its keen interest in alternative fuels and hybrid solutions. This is also underline by its partnership with the electric car manufacturer Tesla.