By on May 9, 2018

Lotus Esprit S1 1977

For Lotus, life has been good under Geely. The British automaker is finally turning a profit again and now has access to more resources by way of its Chinese parent company. Presently, the brand only offers the light-and-nimble Evora for sale in the United States. But its global fleet isn’t exactly huge, either.

However, the plan calls for Lotus to expand through the introduction of a crossover vehicle, an entirely new sports car, and a rumored successor to the Esprit. The CUV, nearing the final stages of development, should take advantage of the Geely-owned Volvo SPA architecture (which underpins the XC60, among others). Lotus is also expected to adopt powertains from its kindred companies, which could include electrified units from Polestar and Volvo’s twincharged applications.

It’s unlikely the brand will set any horsepower records, which is fine (as that isn’t Lotus’ style), but the new motors should do the trick. Besides, who wouldn’t want to brag that their sports car is turbocharged and supercharged? 

Lotus boss Jean-Marc Gales anticipates the flagship coupe will arrive in 2020, according to a report from Autocar. He claims the vehicle will be lighter than the Evora, which sits at 3,179 lbs in its heaviest configuration, and decidedly more lavish. Basically a new Esprit, Gales said the car’s formula is “efficiency, aerodynamics, agility and braking working together in balance.”

Still, defeating the Evora GT430 in terms of performance and plushness will be a difficult task if Lotus also wants to keep the weight down. To best it, the new model should output similar numbers or better. Fortunately, Volvo already has motors that could do the job. The electrified, supercharged, and turbocharged T8 hybrid already makes 400 horsepower wedged inside the XC90. There’s an even burlier four-cylinder hybrid making its way into the Polestar 1, too. Both of these could be engineered to suit Lotus’ needs and deliver a vehicle that’s economical when it needs to be and raucous the rest of the time.

Gales said Lotus would probably adopt powertrains from other divisions within Geely, but intendeds to stick with Toyota-sourced units for the immediate future. The smallest of those is the 1.6-liter 1ZR-FAE residing in the base Elise, whereas the biggest is the 3.5-liter 2GR-FE V6 housed in the center of the aforementioned Evora GT430.

“Crossovers can be hybrid or full electric,” said Gales. “There are some years left for combustion engines in sports cars, but maybe a mild hybrid would work.” The only downside we see with electrification is weight. If Lotus wants to keep its vehicles light, adding a battery pack isn’t the way to go. So, a mild-hybrid system may be as deep as the company is willing to dive into electrification for vehicles that need to keep a trimmer waist.

The CEO did say Lotus is open to using fully electric powertrains once the technology evolves.

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9 Comments on “Lotus Might Source Volvo’s Twincharged Engines; Esprit Successor Coming in 2020...”


  • avatar
    Advance_92

    Volvo’s motors seem complex and strung-out enough to be worthy of the Lotus name. More power (sic) to them.

  • avatar
    SPPPP

    Twincharged engines and hybrid systems are pretty much the polar opposite of the brand’s founding principle, but, um, other than that, sure, it’s pretty much fine.

    http://www.lotuscars.com/about-us/lotus-philosophy

    “Simplify, then add lightness.” – Colin Chapman

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    My Grandfather had a Turbo Esprit in the same colour as the one in the picture above. I rode in it several times in Leeds, England, back in 1982 when I was 12. As I was besotted with it he willed it to me during one ride – and told my Mom that he’d done so. in 1991 he took it to Ireland on the ferry to reconcile with his long-estranged brother over Christmas. He died there in his sleep on that New Year’s Eve. The car disappeared, along with his two Astons ( a DB5 and DB6 ) and nearly everything else he owned. That family hasn’t returned phone calls or letters since. No matter, really: I looked into both shipping a Turbo Esprit to Canada and inspecting/insuring it once it gets here. Prohibitive, to say the least. Until it breaks down. Then it’s effectively scrap.

  • avatar
    Asdf

    Lotus is a CHINESE automaker, not British.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Eugh. Just eugh. These days I don’t know what to suggest they use honestly, but if they could rewind a decade they should get a bunch of Honda K24A2’s like Ariel was smart enough to do.

  • avatar
    Willyam

    Why can I not stop looking at the porta-potty behind it? Age? Prostate?

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    It’ll be interesting to see if Lotus also adopts Volvo’s electronics architecture. Unless the goal is true anachronism, a la Morgan, any premium car that’s expected to sell in volume is going to need a modern electronics stack, and Lotus hasn’t got the parentage or self-contained resources to just develop one.

    Plus, with Volvo, there’s precedent. As we know, Aston Martin started Volvo’s then-current electronics architecture around 2005 (as both companies were under Ford) with the Vantage, and only just stopped using it with the advent of the DB11 and new Vantage…which have Mercedes-AMG electronics and interfaces.

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