Yesterday, we posted some views from Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar, who revealed that Lotus is developing its own engines for future cars. The Proton owned sportscar firm uses Toyota engines in its present range, but is pursuing self development after an Internet survey with 10,000 responses pointed in that direction.

Now, Autocar UK reveals that work on the new engines started late last year, and the first prototype V8 will fire up next month. Their sources claim max power of around 550-570 horses, and that Lotus engineers are targeting Ferrari’s V8 as benchmark. The naturally aspirated 4.5-litre V8 in the Ferrari 458 Italia makes 570 horses at a hair raising 9,000 rpm and 540 Nm of torque.

There are also plans to carve out a four-cylinder unit from the V8, but should this not work out, Toyota is the fallback. Dany Bahar said that the Elan has been delayed from its five-year plan due to its too close positioning with the flagship Esprit, and the funds from this will be used to develop the modular engine family.

Among other issues the survey brought up was the Eterne – does Lotus need a four-door Panamera fighter in its range? Not essential perhaps, but Bahar explains that because of the modular component concept of the future range, the Eterne is essentially a four-door version of the Elite (a big GT coupe) and won’t require much additional cost. Both cars will share over 75% components, so it’s no harm trying, so to speak.