The new Lotus Esprit pencilled-in for production in 2012 could be powered by a 500bhp V10 Lexus engine lifted from the LF-A supercar that completed the Nurburging 24hrs last weekend.
Toyota and Lotus already have a close relationship thanks to their existing engine sharing program, and apparently the deal gives Lotus dibs on all the bits and pieces in Toyota’s global parts store.
According to speculation, that opens the door to a range of Toyota-powered Esprit supercars, starting with a tuned 300bhp V6 ‘entry model’, rising to a 417bhp version using the Lexus IS-F 5.0 V8 and topped off by the V10 powered flagship – the latter potentially costing well over £100k, but offering the sort of performance that would give more expensive Porsche and Ferrari models a serious fright.
While work continues on the Esprit project – it shares a modified platform with the new Evora – it is believed that Lotus owner Proton is not yet fully committed to the project. Ultimately the Esprit’s future lies in the hands of Evora buyers, who must turn up at showrooms in sufficient numbers to reassure the Malaysian money-men that a more expensive model is commercially viable.