WORD AROUND THE traps is that Lotus' upcoming Esprit successor may come in V10 trim, with the Lexus LF-A's bent-ten speculated to be the powerplant of choice.
Lotus currently enjoys a close relationship with Japan's biggest automaker, and uses the company's 2GR-FE 3.5 litre V6 in the Evora and its 1ZZ-FE 1.8 litre four cylinder in the Elise. With the next-gen Esprit rumoured to make use of V8 and possibly V10 power, it only makes sense that Lotus would stick with Toyota as its engine supplier, considering its extensive (and very capable) lineup of motors.
British car mag Evo believes the 311kW 2UR-GSE 5 litre V8 from the Lexus IS-F will power the volume-selling Esprit models, while the 373kW+ 5 litre V10 from the yet-to-be-launched LF-A may also get shoehorned into the Esprit's rump to create a high-performance flagship - and a genuine supercar contender.
The new Esprit will be built on the same platform that underpins the Lotus Evora, which was designed from the outset to be able to accommodate both transversely and longitudinally-mounted engines. It was also designed to fit a V10 engine, so the Lexus engine rumour certainly isn't out of the realm of fantasy.
Its Evora-based underpinnings also mean a base model Esprit powered by the same transverse V6 donk as the Evora might be a distinct possibility too. Given Toyota currently markets a range of hybrid vehicles that use both longitudinal and transversely-mounted powertrains, a hybrid Esprit certainly isn't out of the question either.
With a capable V8 engine at its disposal and the possibility of a stonking V10 mill also on the cards, Lotus may have a real competitor to the increasingly popular Audi R8 on its hands. The wealth of powertrain options offered by its close ties to Toyota means the Hethel-based company has a wealth of suitable engines at its fingertips, and the versatile Evora platform should make development of the new Esprit a relatively straightforward affair.
The next-generation Lotus Esprit is expected to make its debut sometime in 2012, with the rumoured V10 flagship estimated to cost in the vicinity of ??100,000 (AU$205,000).