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Lotus Esprit mule (2008)
25 January 2008 11:32
The pace of change is gathering momentum at Lotus. On Thursday we brought you the world’s first scoop shot of the new Eagle 2+2, today we have the latest pictures of the Esprit replacement. Lotus will show its range-topper in 2009 before sales start in 2010.
This test mule is running a 4.4-litre V8. Could this be the BMW lump that powered the outgoing 645Ci? The capacity is exactly the same and Lotus is known to have been in discussions with the Germans to use one of their V8s. If correct, it would suggest outputs of around 330bhp and 330lb ft.
How comes it's taking so long?
Lotus is developing a lightweight chassis and body for its Mid-engined Sports Car (MSC), as the car is known internally. Chief executive Mike Kimberley has already rejected early proposals for the new Esprit; when he was appointed he ‘drove the mules and they did not meet the Lotus DNA. I could have been driving a Corvette. It was not back to the drawing board, but there was a major engine change and vehicle dynamic changes to the suspension.’
So the engineers are working on saving weight and giving the MSC the lightness of touch that has become a Lotus trademark. ‘It’s all about low mass, low weight, bringing better fuel economy and improved handling,' says Kimberley.
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