The next Lotus Esprit gets a 32 valve 4.8 litre V8 engine from BMW delivering 367 HP and uses a newly developed extruded aluminium chassis and all independent suspension.

The British sports car maker Lotus – owned by Proton, Malaysia – is about to develop an all new mid-engined Lotus Esprit, due for launch in 2007.

These photos are showing the first test mule doing high speed testing at Nürburgring. It has wider fenders and a large rear wing. More important, however, is what will be underneath: the next Lotus Esprit gets a 32 valve 4.8 litre V8 engine from BMW delivering 367 HP and uses a newly developed extruded aluminium chassis and all independent suspension. The super car’s top speed is estimated to rate around 180 mph.

With US sales for this new Esprit receiving priority, Lotus will build between 1000 and 2000 units in the company’s home base Hethel in Great Britain.

The photos are showing a prototype mule plus one computer image of an artist’s impression of how the new Esprit could look like upon its release.

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