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Lotus Esprit

Updated on January 5, 2014
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A Car is born

As with many good cars of the time the launch was made at a Auto show, the Paris Auto show to be exact in 1975. This was the Successor to the Europa in the production line up for Lotus and being the genesis of a great car this first type model was then known as the S1 (Series 1) later on in its life. The car featured a Lotus 907 4 cylinder engine which was a 2.0 liter producing 160bhp. The care also came with a 5 speed manual which was coupled with a tranaxle gearbox and racing style brakes. The car only had 160bhp but it came in weighing less that a ton which meant very fast acceleration.

Although the S1 was known for its incredible handling, the car was also said to be heavily under powered with the US version of the car having to have the power lowered due to emissions. Although lotus gave figures of the car of 0-60mph in 6.8 seconds and a top speed of 138mph these figures are seen to be incorrect by many critics. The S1 was launched into the history books by its appearance in a James Bond film , The Spy Who Loved Me.


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The Sequel

When the S2 came out in 1978 it was following a very difficult act to follow , although the S1 had some problems it was was very well designed. The guys at Lotus realized this and the S2 came out with a new cooling duct and new tail lights , most important of all the car came with a new 2.0 liter engine. With lotus doing well in the racing side of its business the production team came out with a special of the S2 Esprit which was better known as the John Player Special.

In 1980 the S2 was given a new heart with a type 912 engine which was a slightly larger 2.2 liter producing better torque numbers and coupled with a new chassis made this a much better car to drive. Although this was a mode which was produced for more than a year Lotus admit that this car is very rare and only 88 of them were ever produced.

In the same year the 1980 turbo Esprit was launched and it was a new engine, the type 910 dry-sump engine which produced 210hp. The 0-60 was achieved in 6.1 seconds and the top speed of the car was 150mph.

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The Fast 90's

Skip a couple years ahead we see the Esprit still in production with the car having a new lease of life from a designer Julian Thompson. 1993 he redesigned the exterior of the car to make what was to be known as the S4. The S4 was the first car to include power steering of all the Esprit models. The redesign of the car was a new spoiler and the front end of the car. Five spoke alloy wheels were also included in the remake and the S4 still had the 264hp of the previous Esprit. This body shape was said to be better in the corners and had a better aerodynamic shape for less drag at high speeds.


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In 1996 Lotus launched a new model in their Esprit range which for some was the best model ever launched in the entire production of the car. The Esprit V8 was a brain child of Julian Thompson and Derek Bell. The car came with an in house production which was a twin turbo engine with Garrett turbos. The engine was code name the Type 918 and produced 500bhp with a 0-60 coming in 4.4 seconds and a top speed of 175mph.

After the V8 saga what some think to be the best of the Esprit was born with the arrival of the Esprit 350. This was produced in 1999 with only 50 of these models being made , they came with 350 horses under the hood. The car had many improvements which included a better engine , better chassis , brakes , suspension and an updated ECU.


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