For years the sexy, high-end Esprit was synonymous with Lotus, and though we like newer, more affordable offerings like the Elise and Evora, the Esprit has been desperately missed since its departure in 2004.

With newfound deep pockets, Lotus reportedly intends to develop a new-generation Esprit to take on other supercars from the likes of manufacturers like Ferrari. The company plans to detail a seven-year plan later this year, and according to an inside source used by Autocar, the new Esprit will be one of the key elements therein.

While it may not bear the namesake Esprit, the car will be a top-end, powerful sports coupe that will fill the niche left empty when the Esprit was discontinued. It’s speculated that the new Lotus will use the Evora platform and receive engines from an outside source–likely BMW or Toyota/Lexus. Release is expected in 2012. [via MotorAuthority]