Lotus is on a bender these days, showing five new models at this week’s Paris Auto Show. Not to diminish the significance of the Elite GT, the Eterne sedan, the Elan, the City Car concept or the redesigned Elise, but the new Lotus Esprit flagship is a mouth-watering testament that the supercar is indeed alive and well. How does 611 horsepower sound, in a 3,190 pound car? Is a zero to 100 kph time of 3.4 seconds fast enough for you? How about a top speed of 205 miles per hour?
The shape is eye catching but controversial; in fact, the new Esprit looks more like a Lamborghini than it does a Lotus. The importance of pushing the design envelope while remaining true to your heritage was addressed by Lotus CEO Danny Bahar, and Carscoop quotes Bahar as saying, “One has to be very careful when taking on the challenge of reinventing such an iconic classic as the Esprit – everyone has an opinion. There’s a fine balance between acknowledging the greatness of the past whilst at the same time rapidly leaping forward to the future and ensuring that this car not only does the name Esprit justice but also the Lotus brand. I think we’ve managed to find the balance and in doing so created a new icon, a car people will find hard to resist.”
Whether or not they’ve maintained that balance is for Lotus fans to stress over. I agree that they’ve created a new icon, and I think the Esprit redesign is a flagship worthy of the Lotus name. A partial hybrid version, featuring a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) similar to that developed for use in F1 racing, will also be offered. As you’d expect, the 2013 Lotus Esprit won’t be inexpensive: pricing will start at around $175,000 when the car goes on sale in Spring 2013.