What is it? From 1976 to 2004, the Lotus Esprit was Britain's answer to exotic Ferraris and Lamborghinis. Now owned by Malaysian conglomerate Proton Holdings, Lotus plans to revive its iconic supercar that served as James Bond's submarine in The Spy Who Loved Me. Similar to the last Esprits sold in the United States, the new Esprit will use a V8 engine. Rather than the old slingshot-accelerating turbo V8, the reborn Esprit will use a supercharged version of the 5.0-liter V8 engine sourced from the Lexus IS-F, generating 620 hp. Lotus says to expect 0-60 mph acceleration in about 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 205 mph. The new Esprit will be the first production car to use a version of the Formula One Kinetic Energy Recovery System, a hybrid system which uses regenerative braking to charge batteries, then releases the electric power to drive a motor to increase acceleration at the touch of a button. Lotus estimates the car will cost $175,000.
What is new or notable? After years of selling different versions of pretty much the same car, Lotus shocked the industry when it brought a lineup of five concept cars to the 2010 Paris Motor Show, all headed for production, it says. The Esprit is the top of the performance heap.
When will it be available? Lotus says it is aiming for 2013.
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