This is the latest drawing of the potentially upcoming 2012 Lotus Esprit. The car could feature a longer, wider stance that allows it to take full advantage of a powerful V8 engine.

Artists have provided us with this rendering of the 2012 Lotus Esprit, a potential competitor to the Audi R8.  The British automaker had previously confirmed plans to bring the iconic sports car to market for the first time since 2004, if they sell enough current models to pay for the project.

First produced in 1976, the original Lotus Esprit was based on the 1972 Italdesign concept shown at the Turin Motor Show.  Created by legendary designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, the Lotus Esprit was released as a well handling, but underpowered sports car.  It gained in popularity through an appearance in The Spy Who Loved Me when it served a dual-purpose as a submarine.  With each successive model, the car gained more power, leading to the 350 hp Lotus Esprit V8.  In its 28 year run, 10,675 units were sold.

If released, the new Esprit would have a mid-mounted V8 engine, but where they get the engine from is anyone's guess.  The company could stick with Toyota, who provides the 3.5-liter V6 on the Lotus Evora.  Toyota currently produces several V6 models, including an aluminum-block unit which powers the Toyota Supra GT500 racecar.  The upcoming Esprit should be both wider and longer than the Evora, evoking a more supercar feel.

Mixing this idea with the round, curved features at the front-end of the Evora and Elise, the artist's drawing shows an Esprit that looks like it belongs in the current Lotus lineup.  Drawing off one of the first released shots of the Evora, the artist widened out the front end, adding a larger grille, while extending the height of the fenders.  Turn signals are integrated into the angular side mirrors, matching a more defined style on the side panels.  The boot is longer, but the artist kept the wheels right at the very end of the car.  This drawing also features a unique, dual-spoke light-weight wheel.

With any luck, the new Lotus Esprit will be introduced in 2011 as a 2012 model year car.