Lotus to develop V6 hybrid sports car – new Esprit?

While the Lotus Evija marks the start of the company’s new age, the high-performance electric vehicle will only be built in limited numbers – just 130 units – and it won’t come cheap with prices starting from 1.7 million British pounds (about RM9 million). However, the Hethel-based company has more in store for its expansion plan, with a new sports car reportedly on the way.

According to Autocar UK, a new series-production model – the company’s first in 12 years – is expected to debut in the first half of next year before going on sale in the months after. The sports car is said to feature a design heavily inspired by the Evija and will adopt the same mid-engine, rear-wheel drive layout as the Esprit.

While it isn’t confirmed that the new Lotus car will be called that, the company is looking to compete against the likes of Ferrari and McLaren, but with a more attractive price point set in the low six figures. It will also offer everyday usability and refinement with a 2+2 seating arrangement, coupled to the brand’s well-known driving dynamics, just as the Esprit did in the past.

As for the finer details, the “new Espirt” will ride on the current extruded aluminium platform used in the Evora, which is now 12 years old. This makes the 2021 model the last series-production car to use this architecture, but it will not replace the Evora, and will instead be a separate model positioned above it.

Lotus will then develop an entirely new rivet-bonded platform to replace both the 25-year-old Elise/Exige and Evora platforms, which will be used for a new range of vehicles, including a revival of the Elan nameplate as well as a long-proposed SUV.

The report claims Lotus’ upcoming sports car will features a V6 powertrain from Toyota with a new hybrid system specifically developed by the British carmaker. The hybrid system is said to incorporate lessons learned from Volvo, which is part of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (Geely Holding), and Lotus’ holding company since being acquired from Proton.

It isn’t known if the V6 hybrid setup will use natural aspiration or forced induction, but it is expected to deliver at least 500 hp, and following Colin Chapman’s famed “simplify and add lightness” philosophy, should propel a vehicle with a low kerb weight.

Lotus’ expansion plan is backed by what Lotus CEO Phil Popham describes as a “huge opportunity” under Geely ownership. The Chinese company provides access to “design, engineering and manufacturing opportunities” along with plenty of cash, with Popham saying, “we’re not talking tens or hundreds of millions but billions.”

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