Lotus Esprit V8

The Lotus Esprit, an exotic supercar built in the U.K., was put into production for the 1976 model year. Initially, the Esprit was equipped with a four-cylinder engine. In 1997, eager to please buyers who wanted a supercar, the engine was changed to a V8. However, its basic design and shape has remained.

With its iconic steel chassis and fiberglass body, the original Esprit was powered by the Lotus 907 2.0-liter 160 hp four-cylinder engine and paired with a five-speed manual that was previously used in the Citroen SM and Maserati Merak. Lotus’ mantra of ""Performance through light weight"" was embodied in this original model. It also received rave reviews for steering and handling.

More on the Lotus Esprit V8
Lotus Esprit V8 Origins

All Lotus Esprit V8 models sold in the U.S. were designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, who created a car with sharp edges and a wedge-like shape. Its all-aluminum 3.5-liter V-8 engine generated 350 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, and offered zero to 60 mpg in 4.4 seconds. The V-8 engine sold in the U.S. had a carburetor that some models in the U.K. did not.

The Lotus Esprit V8 offered excellent handling at high speeds, but could be cumbersome in street driving. The interior of the Esprit V8 was narrow and could be cramped for taller drivers. Options were limited; a sunroof and custom paint were the only offerings.

About the Lotus Esprit V8

With the slogan ""For the few who know the difference,"" the Lotus Esprit is known for its hand-built quality and performance. The Lotus Esprit is a car that is one of the premiere supercars in production which rivals the performance of racing cars.

Its doorstop wedge design sets the Lotus Esprit apart from other cars. It offers a low, wide stance that begs for attention, and lets onlookers know that it’s a supercar. The Lotus Esprit V8 offers the unforgettable combination of exotic looks and styling, high performance and exclusivity, as few cars are produced, that are usually reserved for cars costing more than the Esprit V8.

When talking about cost, Esprit V8 owners find out that their car is not economical to maintain. Parts are extremely expensive and servicing a high-performance vehicle such as the Esprit V8 is costly, if a driver can find a mechanic with the expertise to do the job right. Some owners, lured by the Esprit V8’s appearance and history, have found these costs to be prohibitive to continued ownership. For example, sparkplugs are approaching $30 each, while a new engine will take $40,000 or more.

Lotus Esprit V8 Features

The 2004 model year was the final year for production for the Lotus Esprit V8, though a new Esprit will return in model year 2013. In 2004, only 33 vehicles were built for purchase in the U.S. The epitome in performance and handcraftsmanship, each vehicle was built on a production line consisting of 21 highly-trained and experienced employees.

When a driver cruises the streets, its rarity is sure to garner some attention. The fastest model yet in its 25 years in production, the 2004 Lotus Esprit V8 receives high praise for performance and handling, it is only available in the U.S. due to government waivers for federal environmental regulations.

The Final Run Edition was available in model year 2004 with the waiver as it could not comply with existing emissions regulations unless it further developed the ECM software.

Modifications were made to the suspension, including Bilstein dampers and adjustable spring platforms and upgraded springs. The Smart Tire system monitors temperature and pressure of each tire individually. Multispoke crystal-titanium finished 17-inch alloy wheels were standard in the front; 18-inch wheels are used on the rear of the vehicle.

The chassis is zinc-clad steel and offers dual fuel tanks. AP Racing curved-vane brake discs and calipers are standard; air scoops cool the brakes.

Twin turbochargers on the 3.5-liter 350 hp engine, mounted behind the seats, offered power and is paired with a five-speed manual transmission.

Stainless steel is still a feature of the mesh grille, perforated rear valance and the plaque near the intake manifold that contains the engine builder’s name.

The interior was updated to include quilted stitching on the seat backs and perforated leather on the door panels and seat bottoms. The climate control knobs have a brushed aluminum finish, as is the shorter gear shifter knob. A customer nameplate appears on the dashboard; each buyer also receives a limited-edition book detailing the history of the Esprit.

As it seats two, the interior proves to be snug. Hand-finished leather upholstery, power windows, heated power mirrors, anti-lock brakes, air-conditioning, remote keyless entry with an anti-theft system, dual front airbags, and an Alpine stereo with CD are all standard equipment.

Lotus Esprit V8 Evolution

In 1996, Esprit V8 introduced to replace Esprit. In 1997, GT3, GT and SE models introduced. In 1999, Sport 350 was introduced, offering a 350 hp engine and other improvements. In 2002, rear taillights were changed to a circular shape with a new front spoiler. Twenty-fifth anniversary decals were displayed on U.S. models with the twin exhaust modified for the U.S. In 2003, the logo changed.

Select a Lotus Esprit V8 Year

2002 Lotus Esprit V8

Coupe, Sports

2001 Lotus Esprit V8

Coupe, Sports

The 2001 Lotus Esprit is a somewhat exotic British sports car that’s perhaps best known in America for having been driven by Roger Moore’s James Bond in ""The Spy Who Loved Me.

2000 Lotus Esprit V8

Coupe, Sports

The 2000 Lotus Esprit V8 represents a greatly improved vehicle, one that still competes with Porsche and Ferrari for the best sport coupe on the road.