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Lotus May Build Its Own V8 Engine For The Esprit

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On: Sun, Dec 19, 2010 at 10:57AM | By: Chris Weiss

Lotus May Build Its Own V8 Engine For The Esprit

When the all-new Lotus Esprit concept debuted at the 2010 Paris Motor Show, it carried a Toyota/Lexus engine. Sure, it did use some pressure charging to up the output on the 5.0-liter V8 from the Lexus IS-F, giving it a supercar-esque 620 horses, making a clear designation from anything in Lexus' line. But to diehards that wasn't enough. After the Esprit's lengthy absence, they want a Lotus-engineered mill for the next-generation Esprit. And Lotus is considering obliging them with an in-house V8 engine.

Prior to the end of production in 2004, Esprits had been powered by Lotus engines, going back to the original Type 907 four-cylinder on up through the twin-turbo Type 918 V8 engine used in the last iteration of the Esprit. And according to Lotus, car enthusiasts consulted by the U.K. sports car maker were none to pleased at the move to a Toyota powerplant in the new Esprit.

Lotus CEO Danny Behar told Autocar: "In the mind of sports-car enthusiasts, Toyota power might not be good enough."

This has Lotus thinking about developing its own engines. In fact, it's doing more than just thinking; it's doing a feasibility study on the costs of developing its very own V8 to power the 2012 Esprit. And not only that, but it's also considering building its own V6 for the Elan.

Behar said: "We have done three engines for other manufacturers; why not do it ourselves? The engine is the heart of a sports car; we should do our own product."

Lotus will weigh the cost of developing its own engines with the benefits of having an in-house product. A decision is not expected until the end of January.

Frankly, I think that a Lotus-developed engine makes a lot of sense. Lotus proved over the summer and at the Paris Motor Show that it is intent on remodeling itself as a high-end sports and luxury car maker. And what way to prove that it's back to its roots than to offer sports cars with brand-new, in-house engines. Toyota engines are last-generation Lotus; if Lotus is serious about reestablishing itself as a true sports/supercar maker, it's time to move away from that model.

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