The Lotus Esprit is one of those cars that despite not being at the forefront of people’s minds and arriving from a small English manufacturer, is always part of a top trumps collection and a crucial part of 20th-century sports car mythology.
It was in 1976 that Lotus brought the angular wedge design before our eyes, helped in part by James Bond, a protagonist with a thirst for British sports cars.
Lotus’ Esprit S1 was only a 2-liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder with 160 hp, but it was mid-engined like the previous Europa and the design was striking – it used a backbone chassis and would become a fan favorite until the arrival of the Elise.
Of course, despite Lotus’ maxim of simplifying and adding lightness, it would get the engine it really wanted three generations later in the form of the Lotus Esprit V8 – the British supercar we all know and mostly love: here’s how much that eight-cylinder version is today.
The Lotus Esprit V8 Is The One To Have: But What Do You Get For Your Money?
In the Esprit S1, the mid-engined sports car was running an alloy 2-liter engine with dual overhead camshafts and 16 valves – a modern engine and good with less than 2000 lb to shift, but it would be supplanted by bigger units.
Two years later the S2 arrived with a 2.2-liter engine making the same power with more torque and the start of the 80s would bring the Turbo and the 3rd generation of this sports car to the public.
210 hp and 200 lb-ft weren’t enough and by the time the facelift or X180 was on sale, it would quickly gain an upgrade to 280 hp and 5 seconds to 60 mph as well as a 150 mph top speed – it was a supercar that finally looked like one.
The S4 Esprit V8 from 1996 is a 3.5-liter, twin-turbo V8-powered supercar with 350 hp, 295 lb-ft with looks that promised power, and it delivered: under 5 seconds to 60 mph and could reach more than 170 mph.
It might not be the Esprit for every taste, but the V8 is from the last generation and thus younger than the other versions, plus it has the kind of noise and performance that everyone can raise a glass to.
We Take A Look At The Classifieds For Lotus Esprit V8 Power And Style
A 26-years old car from a small-volume sports car company will still cost a lot to maintain and repair today, plus Lotuses are not the last word in reliability, but if you’re looking for an Esprit you will take these kinds of considerations and throw them away.
Rivals include the E39 BMW M5 from 1998 with similar speed and better build, but that’s a sedan and not a mid-engined supercar.
We can find reasonable examples of the M5 from $40,000 on AutoTrader and also on the same site, Esprit Turbos seem to command the same price, but the lonely Esprit V8 is up at $100,000 with under 10,000 miles in Massachusetts.
Moving onto other sites like Bring A Trailer shows that V8 cars are sold for $40,000 – $50,000 and as a further guide; Classic.com provides a sale history in the same range and an average price for S4 Esprits of $46,000, with $115,00 being the top sale from RM Sotheby’s.
It’s hard money for an older niche English supercar, but for $50,000 this simply beats every other modern alternative out of the park.
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