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The new Esprit will make it to market, but not as early as Lotus had hoped. Speaking at the launch of the new Evora S model in San Jose, Lotus Cars USA PR boss Kevin Smith confirmed that due to a decision by Lotus to produce its own engine for the car, it won’t make it to market until late 2013 or even early 2014.
“The cars shown at the Paris Auto Show with the Lexus IS-F V8 will get our own V8 engine,” said Smith. Those models include the Esprit, as well as the even more exotic Elite. Smith also confirmed that development of the in-house V8 engine was already underway, and indicated that other engines are a possibility.
Making additional remarks, Smith let slip details of just how much Lotus expects to charge for these new models, and it’s a huge increase from the $76,000 Evora S. Speaking generally, he said that, “cars in the $170,000 to $200,000 range should have their own engine in them.” No clarification was given about the projected price and while $170K is certainly a huge bump over the Porsche 911 Turbo, it would be significantly less than some of the Italian exotics the Esprit would be targeted at as well.
Details about the new V8 have not been released, but there’s a strong chance it will be available with a dual-clutch transmission. “We’d like to do a manual and a dual-clutch transmission for the Esprit and now that we’re dong our own engines there’s a better chance,” said Smith. Lotus has filed a patent for a 7-speed dual-clutch unit already, so look for that to arrive in the Esprit in just over two year’s time.
GALLERY: Lotus Esprit
New version of already impressive track car now weighs in at under 2,000 lbs
As expected, Lotus has announced the release of a cup car version of the new 2010 Exige 260. Powered by the same 257-hp supercharged 1.8-liter 4-cylinder as the street car, the race-ready Cup version weighs just 1,958 lbs, making for what will no-doubt be an outrageously good track machine. Lotus says the Exige Cup 260 can hit 60 mph in four seconds flat.
The standard Exige 260 model already weights 84 lbs less than last year’s model, and the Cup car version sheds an additional 26 lbs thanks to the use of plenty of light-weight material. Carbon fiber components include the roof, seats, dash-top, tailgate, center tunnel, front access panels, front splitter, side intake ducts and rear spoiler. Additional light weight components include a lighter motorsports battery, ultra-light wheels, a revised rear engine subframe, alloy u-bend pipes for the supercharger and a lightweight flywheel.
The new Lotus Sport forged wheels are the lightest original equipment wheels in the world, weighing just 5.65 kg (12 lbs) in the front and 7.75 kg (17.1 lbs) in the rear.
Additional improvements over the past cup car include a Ohlins two-way adjustable shocks and a chassis that is now 30 percent stiffer thanks to a new diffuser and structural “shear panel” that links the rear subframe to the main chassis. The rear spoiler also grows for improved downforce, measuring 181mm (7.1-inches) wider, 46mm (1.8-inches) higher and it sits 61mm (2.4-inches) further back.
Roger Becker, Director of Vehicle Engineering for Lotus said, “The Lotus Exige Cup 260 is the epitome of the Lotus brand philosophy of performance through lightweight. Colin Chapman, founder of Lotus, once said “Adding power makes you faster on the straights; subtracting weight makes you faster everywhere” and the Exige Cup 260 totally proves this, being one of the most exhilarating, focused and pure sportscars on the road today.”
So far Lotus has only set European pricing, with the Exige Cup 260 priced at £45,000 in the U.K. We do expect it will make its way to North America, although PR boss Kevin Smith at Lotus Cars USA says there are no official plans yet. Still, we’re certain a few of the competitors in the Lotus Challenge Series would be eager to get their hands on this new model.
GALLERY: 2010 Lotus Exige Cup 260
Official release after the jump: