First Look: 2013 Lotus Espirit

The Esprit is designed to compete with some of today's most impressive supercars, including the Ferrari 458 Italia, Audi R8, and the Lamborghini Gallardo. Remembering Lotus Group CEO Dany Bahar and design director Donato Coco both came from Ferrari, it isn't surprising the Esprit is less than an inch longer, four-tenths of an inch wider, and 1.4 inches taller than a 458 Italia. What might surprise you is the Ferrari's 3042-pound curb weight is actually 154 pounds less than the Lotus. It will take the Esprit R's 611 hp to best the Ferrari's power-to-weight ratio of 5.4 pounds per horsepower. However, we know numbers aren't everything and the Esprit's specs could evolve by the time we actually get behind the wheel of a production car. Like the competition, expect Lotus to offer a convertible version of the Esprit down the road to renew interest in the product after the base and R coupes reach the market.

Having seen a model of the Esprit at Lotus' headquarters in Hethel, England before, we can assure you the British Racing Green paint shown here does nothing for the car's lines. There's a bit of Lamborghini Gallardo in the aggressive form of the Esprit, and the full LED lighting helps the car look more futuristic. A glass engine cover shows off the mid-mounted 5.0-liter V-8. Interior design is similar to that of the Elite concept, and the proprietary Lotus HMI system will control a 12-inch display in the instrument panel.

Some will undoubtedly question Lotus for building a bigger, heavier, and faster in the future. The sad truth is in order for the brand to have enough money to produce insane track toys like the 2-11 in the future, its mainstream vehicles will have to be competitive. Buyers demand premium features, and governments require a lot more safety equipment and crash durability each year. All of these add weight to a car, and the truth is Lotus works very hard to reduce the weight of every future product while meeting all governmental requirements for new motor vehicles.

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The rear deck is a touch clumsy, but overall, wow. Stunning.
Please offer a traditional manual. For no other reason than to sell more cars, this would be a biblical driver's car if offered with a clutch.

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