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Is a New Lotus Esprit Coming to Paris?

British maker hints of something big to come during upcoming motor show.

by on Jul.21, 2010

Is Lotus about to unveil a successor to its legendary Esprit sports car?

Hey 007, Lotus might be developing a successor to your ride in “The Spy Who Loved Me.” Or, maybe not.

The British sports and race car maker has issued a cryptically worded press release that says it expects to make a major announcement at the Paris Auto Show.

“Perhaps a new Esprit,” the automaker teases. “Perhaps not. Or perhaps [something] even more?”

Lotus produced the Esprit, possibly the most recognizable car in its history, from 1976 to 2004.

But it took James Bond to give the Esprit that extra push in the 1977 movie “The Spy Who Loved Me,” where the super-sleuth famously drove one into the water where it became a submarine to make one of his always spectacular escapes from the bad guys.

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Actor Richard Gere wasn’t quite so adept with the Esprit’s manual gearbox in 1989’s “Pretty Woman,” which created a chance encounter with a streetwalker played by Julia Roberts.  Not only did she have a heart of gold, but she knew how to shift.

Not much is known about the upcoming Lotus Esprit replacement, but it's not likely to convert to a sub like the Lotus sports car 007 once drove.

So what might Lotus (if not 007) do for an encore? There are rumors that a next-generation Esprit will borrow the muscular V-10 developed for the Lexus LF-A supercar. Toyota has provided engines for the smaller Lotus Elise and Exige models.

On the other hand, with the expertise of Lotus Engineering at its disposal, the British-based maker – now owned by the Malaysian automaker Proton – just might introduce its own engine, rather than using the Toyota technology it has borrowed in the recent past. Whether it is called Esprit or not, the car is likely to serve as Lotus’ new flagship in its growing lineup.

The new Esprit could make use of a Toyota powertrain, as Lotus has done with models like the Elise, the 2011 roadster shown here.

The Elise roadster was first sold Stateside in 2004, with the hardtop Exige added several years later. The four-seat Evora goes on sale this year.

Whatever form it takes, the Esprit successor is likely to follow the mantra of Lotus’ founder, the late Colin Chapman, to “Make it simple, then add lightness.”

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3 Responses to “Is a New Lotus Esprit Coming to Paris?”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Bryan Laviolette, Bryan Laviolette. Bryan Laviolette said: Could a new Lotus Esprit be coming to the Paris Auto Show? Lotus is being rather coy about the subject. [...]

  2. [...] Is a New Lotus Esprit Coming to Paris? | [...]

  3. Mark says:

    If you pull up their web site, it seems clear they will have something new in Paris.