Lotus Esprit

The Lotus Esprit, first produced in 1976 as an exotic supercar in the U.K., includes an engine that was down-rated in the U.S. in order to comply with governmental emissions regulations.

More on the Lotus Esprit
Lotus Esprit Origins

Initially, the Esprit was equipped with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and teamed with a five-speed manual transmission. Its mid-mounted engine, steel backbone chassis, and fiberglass body helped to keep the weight of the car down, which was less than 2,205 pounds. This enabled the first generation of the Esprit, known as the S1 Esprit, to go from zero to sixty in eight seconds.

The second generation, better known as the S2 Esprit, was available in model years 1978 through 1981 and redesigned to include intake and cooling ducts behind the rear quarter window. The spoiler was also integrated into the body. A 2.2-liter engine with increased torque was introduced during the S2 generation; only 88 vehicles were produced with this engine.

The Essex Turbo Esprit, introduced in 1980, was the first turbocharged Esprit to be designed. Developed as a special edition model to commemorate F1 racing, it was also known as the Essex Esprit. It offered a 210 hp engine, and could go from zero to 60 in an impressive 6.1 seconds.

Only 45 of these Giugiaro-designed vehicles were produced.

The third generation of Esprits (S3) was in production for model years 1981 through 1987.

Later in 1987, Peter Stevens took over in the role of designer, and introduced changes to improve production methods and enhance the car’s look and performance. The Stevens’ designed Esprits were in production from 1987 through 1993.

The fifth generation of Lotus Esprit S4 was produced from 1993 through 2004. During its entire production, only 10,675 Lotus Esprits were produced.

About the Lotus Esprit

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 offers race-car styling, design, and performance at a more affordable price.

But in addition to the purchase price, owners must realize the cost of maintaining such a vehicle. Finding Lotus specialists to service the cars are difficult, and the cost of parts is often prohibitive as owners learn when car trouble arises.

The Esprit’s appearance, when combined with its rarity, provides owners with a car that gets attention. Known for its appearance in James Bond’s ""The Spy Who Loved Me"" or ""Pretty Woman,"" it garnered the attention of car enthusiasts wanting to experience the thrill of driving the iconic car.

Lotus Esprit Features

The 1995 model year was the final year for production for the Lotus Esprit with a four-cylinder engine. Each vehicle is built by hand, ensuring the craftsmanship and attention to detail that Lotus drivers expect.

The S4 was the first model to include power steering. The exterior was redesigned by Julian Thompson. Features included a smaller rear spoiler, as well as changes to the bumpers, side skirts, and valence panels. Five-spoke alloy wheels were also added.

Although the final Lotus Esprits S4s still had a 2.2-liter engine, modifications such as enlarged inlet ports, cylinder head changes, recalibration of ECM and a revised turbocharger were all implemented to improve performance. In addition, a larger rear wing was added, which was taken from the Sport 300.

As it seated the driver and one other passenger, the interior proved to be snug. Leather interior, tilt/removable glass sunroof, power windows, heated power mirrors, anti-lock brakes, air-conditioning, dual front airbags, and an Alpine stereo with CD are all standard equipment.

The 285 horsepower engine, modified suspension, and new wing, wheel and tire package were offered.

Lotus Esprit Evolution

In 1993, Julian Thompson designed the S4 and S4s. Esprit was discontinued and replaced by Esprit V8 in 1996. The 1987 model was designed by Peter Stevens, which brought on a change in body production process. The design improved protection and torsional rigidity. Engine improvements occurred as well. SE, Sport 300, and Esprit S were also introduced. From 1982 through 1987, the S3 Esprit included changes in the lubrication system, a revised interior, and 15-inch wheels. From 1979 through 1981, the S2 Esprit intake and cooling ducts were added and the front spoiler was also incorporated. There was a change in the battery location, access to engine cover, and changes in dashboard gauges and switches. S2.2 was introduced, which was equipped with 2.2-liter engine. Essex Turbo Esprit was introduced in 1980. In 1977, it was introduced as S1 Esprit.

Select a Lotus Esprit Year

1995 Lotus Esprit

Coupe, Sports

The 1995 Lotus Esprit first hit the roads in the United Kingdom in 1976.

close