ABSENT FROM SHOWROOMS since the last car rolled out in 2004, reports this week suggest that Lotus has approved development of a successor to the Esprit.
According to British website Autocar, Lotus is set to begin work on a new hi-po Ferrari-fighting model to sit above the recently launched V6-powered Evora.
A Lotus insider has reportedly told Autocar that the new car - unnamed officially but referred to internally as the Esprit - would have a power-to-weight ratio of between 205kW to 245kW per tonne.
By comparison, the 6.0 litre V12 of the Aston Martin DB9 gives it a 199kW per tonne power-to-weight ratio.
Autocar's source did not offer specific engine details, but if Lotus maintains its Toyota-engined approach, the 5.0 litre V8 from the Lexus IS F could be a potential powerplant for the new model.
The unnamed source told Autocar that Lotus is working on a three-tier line-up, topped by the Esprit replacement and followed by the Evora in the next level down. The Exige, Elise and Europa would fill out the entry-level range.
"[The Esprit replacement] will be the ultimate expression of the brand," the source was quoted as saying.