Next Nissan GT-R and Lotus Esprit Keep Us Dreaming

August 30th, 2010

2002 Lotus Esprit: Will the next generation feature Lexus power?

My 8-year-old son and his best friend are convinced they have found the means to buy a Ferrari.

Apparently we have a motherload of “moon rocks” in our front yard. When properly crushed, these rocks turn into “moon dust” which, it turns out, is worth about $1 trillion per ounce. Lucky us, huh?

The boys have proudly announced that they will buy a brand-new Ferrari with the money. A 458 Italia, no less. (Yes, my son knows his cars – his other choice is the SSC Ultimate Aero. Like his dad, the boy likes speed.)

I have yet to crush their dreams about the actual worth of this so-called moon dust, because listening to their hopeful banter about owning a gleaming red supercar reminds me of my innocent childhood fantasies. Of course, any car guy knows those fantasies never really go away; they just get more realistic.

Luckily for us, whether we have the moon dust or not, Nissan and Lotus are providing plenty to fantasize about.

The next installment of the Nissan GT-R is coming soon, and the first pictures have leaked onto the blog-o-sphere. The GT-R gets a slightly revised face with LED daytime running lamps and new front grille and bumper. Spin the car around and you’ll see a new rear diffuser, rumored to boost downforce by 10 percent.

The output of the GT-R’s 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6 is expected to enjoy an increase from its current 485 horsepower and 434 lb-ft of twist. I’d love to see it hit the 500-hp mark!

Speaking of 500-plus-horsepower supercars, the Lexus LFA would be on any wealthy enthusiast’s test-drive list. If rumors are to be believed, the coming Lotus Esprit should be added to that list.

The new Esprit, set to debut at the Paris Auto Show next month, could be powered by the mighty 552-horsepower LFA V10. A slightly more tame version would be offered with the 416-hp 5.0-liter V8 from the Lexus IS F sedan. This comes after rumors that Lotus will try and compete with Ferrari, Maserati, Porsche, and more. Inside Line says,

This major new strategy is the brainchild of recently installed CEO Dany Bahar, who came from Ferrari. Details of this plan are also expected at Paris, but it would appear that Bahar and his new management team — which includes Bob Lutz in a consulting capacity — have concluded that Lotus is both underexploited as a brand and that the road to profitability, a condition rarely experienced at the company, is to build road cars with fatter profit margins in them.

If fatter profit margins are the intent, the combination of Maximum Bob and that Lexus V10 just might be the long-awaited recipe for success.

Which will better compete with Ferrari, Maserati, and Porsche: the Nissan GT-R or the LFA-powered Lotus Esprit?

-tgriffith

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