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Lotus begins countdown to new Esprit

Circa 1975: Original Esprit spanned 18 years and a dozen different models.

Upmarket supercar to come from Lotus as British sportscar brand confirms Paris debut

21 Jul 2010

LOTUS will unveil an all-new top-shelf supercar concept at the Paris motor show on September 30.

The plan was revealed in the latest cryptic message from the Malaysian-owned, British sportscar maker, which released a single image showcasing four highlights of the 1970s, including the Lotus Esprit, on its media website this week.

Accompanying the image was confirmation Lotus will reveal a spiritual successor to the Esprit precisely 35 years after the original Giugiaro-designed concept was unveiled at the 1975 Paris motor show, to be positioned above the Elise roadster, Exige coupe and new Evora 2+2.

“1975. Ah what a year (not so for Nixon advisors but hey you can’t please all the people),” waxed Lotus.

“The Watergate verdicts aside, 1975 was the year we saw Jaws encourage people to stay out of the sea, Margaret Thatcher become the first female leader of the Conservative party and the future face of British football emerge as David Beckham first drew breath.

“1975 also marked the birth of another British legend when the Lotus Esprit was officially launched at the Paris motor show in October.

“Okay, the earth is still spinning around the sun, but wouldn’t you agree that those things happening in 1975 changed the world a bit? Just a little bit? We do.

“And what we also know now is that 35 years later, something breathtaking will happen once again. Once more in Paris. Once more at the motor show.

“Perhaps a new Esprit? Perhaps not. Or perhaps even more?“Feel free to guess what we’re up to but ultimately you’re going to have to wait and see. One thing is for sure, it’ll be worth the wait.

“16.45 CET 30th September 2010, Paris motor show. The future starts here.”

57 center imageVarious versions of the original mid-engined Esprit coupe found about 10,700 homes in the 18 years they were available until 2004. Since then the company has developed a number of proposals to replace the most famous Lotus model.

Now, however, it appears ex-Ferrari commercial chief Danny Bahar and his new management team intend to move the Norfolk-based company even further upstream than the mid-engined Evora V6, which tops the Lotus line-up here at up to $190,000 fully optioned.

Mr Bahar has already signalled his intention to take all future Lotus models upmarket and Lotus says its Paris concept, which is expected to take the brand into Aston Martin and Ferrari territory for the first time, will provide an accurate guide to future production models.

There has been speculation Lotus could reveal up to five new vehicles in Paris, including the born-again James Bond car and two other production models – including another supercar and a roadster – plus two front-engined GT concepts.

It has also been rumoured the new-generation Esprit could be powered by a version of the 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 that will power BMW’s next M5 and which already delivers a whopping 408kW/680Nm in the X5 and X6 M mega-SUVs.

Lotus began its off-beat, drip-feed reveal campaign for the new-generation Esprit precisely 100 days before the Paris show during the southern hemisphere’s winter solstice in late June, when it announced the following alongside an image of Stonehenge.

“So you think you’ve seen all there is to see? Think again,” said Lotus.

“As peace-loving druids gather to witness the magic of the annual Summer Solstice at one of the UK’s most symbolic landmarks, prepare yourself to witness the dawning of a new era for Lotus.

“Your journey begins here and now on the longest day of the year and exactly 100 days before the 2010 Paris motor show where Lotus is set to unveil the future evolution of an iconic British brand.

“They say a picture tells a thousand stories, we’re only really interested in one. Buckle up and join us for the ride. Expect the unexpected.”

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