The Lotus Esprit is a two-door sports coupe. It is a rear mid-engine, rear-wheel drive car built for those who love speed and responsiveness. It corners tightly, accelerates rapidly, and is designed for maneuverability. A two-seater with very little storage space, this car was designed for speed and is best suited to driving enthusiasts with access to a track to test what this car can really do.
The Esprit has undergone many changes throughout the years, but the most recent models, beginning in 1996, share a number of characteristics. The 3.5-liter V-8 engine was originally capable of producing an astounding 500 horsepower, but this was decreased to a still stunning 350 horsepower to avoid gear box damage. Available with five-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, the Lotus Esprit is capable of reaching speeds in excess of 175mph. Fuel economy for this vehicle is modest, with the Lotus getting 15mpg/city and 22mpg/highway, but, with the ability to shoot from 0 to 60mph in 4.4 seconds, fuel economy is certainly not the reason for this car's existence.
Originally introduced at the Turin Motor Show in 1972, the Lotus Esprit was produced between 1976 and 2004. The Esprit was among the first of the folded paper" designs that were popular in the 1970s, and its name was chosen in keeping with the tradition of Lotus vehicles, all of which begin with "E". Following its inclusion in the 1977 James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me, the Esprit's fame skyrocketed. In 1987, the car was redesigned to give it a more rounded look, and the result went on to feature in a number of blockbuster films. 1993 saw another redesign that gave the Esprit power steering, and, in 1996, the Esprit got its astonishingly powerful engine. The last Esprit's rolled off Lotus' UK production line in 2004, but, at the 2010 Paris Motor Show, the redesigned 2013 Esprit was unveiled.
The Lotus Esprit comes standard with a variety of safety features, including both rear and front anti-roll bars, anti-lock brakes, front and side airbags, ignition disable, and a center high mounted stoplight to alert higher profile vehicles when braking. The car is available with a rear wing spoiler and alloy moldings, and interior luxuries include a sunroof, unfortunately operated manually, and leather wrapped steering wheel.
As a supercar, it has competed in a number of races. In 1990, the Esprit won four races in the SCCA World Challenge Cup, and, in 1992, it took the Driver's Title in the USA National Sports Car Series. In 1997, the Esprit won an Exceptional Merit Award from the Robb Report and came in second in the BPR Global Endurance Series.
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