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by Tim Beissmann

Development of the new-generation Lotus Esprit is all but complete, but ongoing management dramas within the Proton-owned company threaten to keep the supercar from ever reaching production.

UK publication Autocar reports the V8-powered flagship Lotus Esprit coupe only requires “minor tweaking” before it is ready for the assembly line, although officials at Lotus’ Malaysian parent company, DRB-Hicom, are yet to sign-off on the car’s production.

The mid-engined rear-wheel-drive Lotus Esprit was one of five new sports cars unveiled by the iconic British marque at the 2010 Paris motor show, and was due to be the first of the group to hit the road, with production scheduled for 2013.

Powered by a 456kW/720Nm 5.0-litre V8 petrol engine, Lotus claimed the Esprit show car could launch from 0-100km/h in 3.4 seconds and kick on to a top speed of 330km/h.

Lotus also originally intended to offer the Esprit with an optional hybrid propulsion system with an F1-inspired KERS (kinetic energy recovery system).

In July, reports suggested Lotus may be forced to scrap all but one of its concepts, with the Esprit the front-runner to survive the chop in favour of the Elan, EliseElite and Eterne and enter production in 2014.

There is no official word from Lotus at this stage if or when the Esprit will ever see the light of day.




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