Report: Lotus Planning 212-MPH Esprit Superleggera, Ethos City Car

Just how many automotive niches can Lotus CEO Danny Bahar capture? A new report suggests Bahar’s company is gunning for the title of Britain’s fastest supercar with plans for an Esprit Superleggera that can reach 212 mph, topping the McLaren MP4-12C’s claimed 205 mph.

The 2013 Lotus Esprit will be first of a slew of new cars from Lotus. It debuted at the 2010 Paris Motor Show, alongside the proposed Elise, Elite, Elan, and Eterne. The company previously said the new Esprit would use a Lotus-designed, supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 engine producing up to 611 hp.

Auto Express reveals that Lotus is already developing a high-performance variant of the new car. AE says the Esprit Superleggera will employ a 4.8-liter V-8 engine producing 612 hp at 9000 rpm, and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The car will have a stronger, lighter aluminum body than lesser Esprit models. It is designed to hit 60 mph in under three seconds, and to achieve a top speed of 212 mph. Both of those statistics beat Britain’s McLaren MP4-12C.

The Superleggera model will join three other variants of the Esprit: coupe, convertible, and glass-roof targa. In addition, AE confirms that Lotus is planning a city car called the Ethos. It will compete with the Aston Martin Cygnet, and will be developed in cooperation with parent company Proton. About 1500 to 1800 copies will be produced annually. CEO Bahar said the shared “global small car platform” will be “mutually beneficial” for both Lotus and Proton.

Bahar also previously said that the new Elan will be delayed because it was deemed “too close in style and positioning to the Esprit.” The Elan will arrive once the Evora goes out of production in a few years’ time.

Sources: Auto Express, Lotus

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