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2010 Paris Auto Show Prototypes: Lotus Esprit

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Khatir Soltani
The Spirit of Lotus is back
James Bond helped this car reach stardom, and has been the English company’s most famous car ever since. It’s been out of production since 2004, but not forgotten, according to Lotus. The Esprit carried an overboosted 4-cylinder engine most of its life, but the last versions were powered by a 350-horsepower, twin-turbo V8.

Photo: Matthieu Lambert/

Well, a new Esprit is on the horizon, and besides the name, the two-passenger capacity and the mid-engine layout, it has pretty much nothing to do with the original.

Let’s start with the powertrain. The Esprit Concept is equipped with a force-fed 5.0-litre V8 that redlines at 8,500 rpm and that is said to develop 611 horsepower and 531 pound-feet of torque. A 7-speed, double-clutch transmission would be the only choice to funnel all that muscle to the rear wheels.

Lotus mentions an optional KERS hybrid system, which stands for Kinetic Energy Recovery System, a device that converts wasted brake energy into power, which would be stored and then reused to temporarily boost engine power.

Weighing in at just 3,200 pounds (or 1,450 kg), the new Esprit would dash to 100 km/h in a claimed 3.4 seconds, on par with such exoticars as the Audi R8 5.2 and the Porsche 911 Turbo. Top speed is said to be 330 km/h, or 206 mph.

Style-wise, the Esprit seems to draw design cues from Audi and Lamborghini, yet boasts a unique look that’s shared among the other concepts cars that Lotus unveiled at the 2010 Paris Auto Show, namely the Elise, the Eterne, the Elan and the Elite.

The production version of the Esprit should be available in the spring of 2013. Lotus indicates that it will cost £110,000, or roughly $180,000 in Canadian currency.

Photo: Matthieu Lambert/

Khatir Soltani
Khatir Soltani
Automotive expert
  • Over 6 years experience as a car reviewer
  • Over 50 test drives in the last year
  • Involved in discussions with virtually every auto manufacturer in Canada