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Drew Smith: ethnographer, strategist and host of Rising Minds

No, no, no! A V10 does not an Esprit make!

Lotus-Esprit-S1-Orange

Although it’s only a rumour promulgated by Evo magazine at this point, the very thought of Toyota lending it’s new Lexus V10 to a future Esprit is enough to make me seethe with vitriolic outrage.

Lest we forget, the original Esprit was the ultimate road-going expression of Colin “to add speed, add lightness” Chapman’s fanatical obsession with elegant efficiency. He was obsessed to a fault perhaps, as demonstrated by the time, when upon returning from a GP race and having demanded more weight be removed from the prototype Esprit’s rear transaxle, he sort of fell on his own sword . He took off for home in the amended mule making it a short distance before the new “added lightness” tore itself free from the car, leaving him stranded on the airport exit road.

If this little anecdote goes to show anything, it’s that Colin would be turning in his fibreglass grave at the thought of a stonking great ten-pot in the back of his little supercar that could, no matter how much Lexus green-washing it may have had or the fact that Lotus may also produce an “eco Esprit”. Why not make all Esprits eco?

I have long thought that the future of maximum driving enjoyment lies in super-lightweight, compact and fuel efficient cars that are unencumbered by concessions to overt luxury or pretensions to practicality, in essence the Lotus approach. The new Evora, by all accounts, stays as true to Colin’s edicts as much as a 2+2 Cayman competitor can, but the Esprit should be the very essence of the company’s fabled light-weight history, not an offensive repudiation.

P.S The sketch in the Evo article makes it look like Lotus has decided to throw the baby out with the bath water, do an Audi and put the V10 in front of the front axle line. Whatever will they think of next?

Category: Car, Design, Design Strategy, Eco, Lost in Translaton, Philosophy, Sustainability, Things I Hate

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  1. Brian DR1665 says:

    A V10 Lotus? Will we ever get tire of mid-engined, RWD, ten cylinder super cars? Probably not, but I see your point about throwing heritage out the window with such a thought.

    And good point about the fuel efficiency. All these unnecessary options and materials designed to remove the driver from the actual experience of driving, to instead engage with the in-car entertainment features rather than the task at hand, have added a ton of blubber to our modern cars. The technology has improved, but when the latest VW GTi weighs TWICE AS MUCH as the original, someone should be DOING SOMETHING about that.

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