Lotus Esprit Concept

Lotus Esprit Concept

2010 Paris Auto Show

2010 Paris Auto Show

Just the Facts:
  • Midengine 5.0-liter V8-equipped Lotus Esprit concept is on display at the Paris show.
  • The 620-horsepower Esprit will debut in production form during spring 2013, says Lotus.
  • Lotus Esprit concept is one of five from Lotus at the Paris show.

PARIS — The 2013 Lotus Esprit will be on display in concept form this week at the 2010 Paris Auto Show. This midengine Esprit is one of no fewer than five concepts revealed by Lotus at the Paris show, as the company embarks on a fevered rejuvenation at the hands of ex-Ferrari marketing man Dany Bahar.

Like its predecessor, which was killed in 2004, it's powered by a midengine 5.0-liter V8, but it's substantially more powerful, delivering 620 horsepower, a 0-60-mph time of less than 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 205 mph. It will debut in production form during spring 2013, says Lotus, and will cost "circa $175,000."

KERS, the Formula 1-style brake energy recuperation system, will be an option, making the car a hybrid. It will probably use supercapacitors, which are capable of absorbing and discharging electrical energy very quickly, to provide an acceleration boost via an electric motor. The V8 is described as being "pressure charged," so either a turbo or a supercharger will force-feed the engine. Lightweight construction has trimmed the two-seat Esprit's projected weight to 3,190 pounds, although the company has yet to reveal what materials will be used in its construction.

CEO Bahar says: "The Esprit is the ultimate supercar. In the past when people thought of the Esprit, they thought of the movies, Bond, Pretty Woman, Basic Instinct, but this time around, the car is the star of the show."

Bahar adds: "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."

A shapely looking car containing some quite complex shapes, this new Esprit succeeds in faintly echoing the look of the previous model, as Bahar claims, and in concept form it looks particularly striking. The glass engine lid is effectively a continuation of the tapering glass roof. An inverted trapezoid intake — which could date the car given how popular this shape is today — is flanked by a bold pair of air intakes that lend this Lotus quite an aggressive face. A trio of air intakes on each side of the car are neatly blended into its heavily sculpted flanks, while the wheels fill their wells to provide a promising stance.

Like its predecessors, this Esprit is a strict two-seater and will feature a premium interior. A major challenge for Lotus will be meeting the standards of fit, finish and durability expected in this class today — think of the Audi R8, which costs substantially less than this car — requiring it to make a quantum leap on this front.

Still more challenging will be bringing this car to market when the company has also committed to producing no fewer than four other models. Even experienced mass manufacturers would struggle to deliver a product program of this magnitude.

Edmunds.com says: It looks good, the specification is promising and there's revolution with KERS hybrid technology — but Lotus now has the monumental task of delivering this supercar. — Richard Bremner, Correspondent

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