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Lotus Delaying Elan, Using Cash to Develop New V-8

British maker hopes to use in-house engine, rather than Toyota powertrain.

by on Jun.13, 2011

Lotus will delay its next-gen Elan in order to develop its own V8 for the new Esprit supercar.

Little Lotus dropped a bombshell at last year’s Paris Motor Show, announcing plans to roll out five all-new products in quick succession over the next few years.  Power for most, perhaps all, the offerings would come from Toyota, which has had a long-running relationship with Lotus.

 

Skeptics have questioned the British maker’s ability to fund the project, which carried a projected cost of about $1.2 billion.  And, indeed, it now appears Lotus is rejigging its plans, but not because they were too ambitious, the maker insists.  If anything, the Brits are looking at an even more elaborate strategy, one that could see them power those future offerings with a trio of engines developed in-house.

What appears certain is that the striking new Lotus Esprit, which is expected to carry a price tag nudging up towards $200,000, will rely on a new, naturally-aspirated liter V-8 of “under” 5.0-liters in displacement.  Originally, the Esprit, Elite and Eterne models were all going to turn to Toyota, which had agreed to share a supercharged version of the V-8 it uses in the brutish Lexus IS-F.

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Expect that with the in-house V-8, the Esprit will get “horsepower at least in the mid-500 range,” Kevin Smith, the U.S. spokesman for Lotus, confided in TheDetroitBureau.com.

 

To come up with the cash needed to develop the new engine, the next-generation Lotus Elan will be delayed until the rest of the new product line-up rolls out, which should mean sometime after 2016, it appears.

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