free hit
counters
What happened to the V8? - Esprit Chat - The Lotus Forums Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Daniel

What happened to the V8?

Recommended Posts

Reading articles from around when the V8 esprit was launched, it was clear (and reported such) that Lotus had big plans for this engine.

I mean, a twin turbo'd V8 making only 350bhp. As has been proved with my Sport 350, big gains can be had for very little work (mine was dyno'd at 408.9bhp with only sport Cat's and a sport exhaust).

Was it used in other cars? Was that the intention? Did it never meet expectation?

It should have become an iconic engine, but there must have been a reason it didn't. I expect the engine in the new Esprit (BMW V8?) will make little more than 450bhp..........a simple task for the old V8 surely, and no need to buy it in!!!!

Hugs & kisses......confused of Manchester (well, Burnley now)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Upgrade today to remove Google ads and support TLF.

It was turned down for the gearbox - that was always the car's achilles heel - it's not only power but torque as well.

IIRC the racing Esprit V8 was turning out close to 600hp from the V8.

IMO also when you start producing a car with more than that power:weight at the rear wheels without all the electrics (Traction control etc) you start to get probs with drivability which really is what a Lotus is all about - how many cars with even a sniff of that power nowadays has all the electronics in the book to keep it on the road ?

Dunno the answers to the other question - be interested to hear any opinions though as I also thought using the V8 would have been cost effective and ample power. Quite a few people have pushed their V8's beyond 400hp and even thought Lotus guys seem to cringe at this they dont seem to be suffering many issues although i think that's probably down to how they are respectfully driven. If you're kind to the gearbox and have a reasonable amount of mechanical consideration you should be fine.


facebook = [email protected]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well the initial reliability issues can't of helped! And the power outputs weren't spectacular (though they could easily have been made so). A lot was sacrificied in the design to make it compact enough to fit in the existing Esprit engine bay - something less of an issue for other cars. Finally it was more of a race engine - being a flat plane it wouldn't have been smooth enough for a 'normal' car.

But at the end of the day I guess it came down to economies of scale. The likes of BMW could manufacture their own for a fraction of the cost. Aftermarket buyers could go to the established likes of AMG or just a big American V8.

I did hear they managed to mount one transversely into the front of a Mondeo - kind of uber Carlton, but nothing became of that. At the time Ford and Vauxhall had gone off their super saloons...

Edited by neal

May: DON'T hit it with a hammer!

Clarkson: Why?

May: Cause it's the tool of a pikey.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AC used the engine in the Cobra 212. But sadly went bust after only making a very low number of cars (may have been as low as 1). Recently an AC Cobra 212 owner posted here about the engine.

I think that Lotus had to make a few compromises to get the V8 to fit into the Esprit. The manifold and turbo ducts seem to be less than optimal in terms of air flow.

Also Lotus had to de-tune the engine so it didn't generate too much torque. The max torque of 295lb/ft was dictated by the Renault gear box.

I'm sure that if Lotus lived in Utopia where budget for the engine and budget to upgrade the Esprit had been available. They would have:

- Used a gearbox that could take more torque (plus a sixth gear).

- Fitted charge cooling.

- Strengthened the chassis to take the extra loads.

- Upgraded the brakes to cope with improved dynamics and weight increase.

- Etc.

I the real world, I take my hat off to all the people at Lotus who managed to keep the Esprit alive for so many years on the budgets available.

Regards,

Peter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I the real world, I take my hat off to all the people at Lotus who managed to keep the Esprit alive for so many years on the budgets available.

That's a really impressive thing about the 918 - it took them only 27 months and


May: DON'T hit it with a hammer!

Clarkson: Why?

May: Cause it's the tool of a pikey.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To be correct, despite the mis-representation in the Lotus press releases at the time, the Lotus GT1 engine shares absolutely no resemblence to the road engine, except the hand selected blocks - which were then heavily modified.

It is a real shame that Lotus didn


1996 Esprit V8, 1998 Esprit V8 GT, 1999 Esprit S350 #002 (Esprit GT1 replica project), 1996 Esprit V8 GT1 (chassis 114-001), 1992 Lotus Omega (927E), 1999 Esprit V8SE, 1999 Esprit S350 #032, 1995 Esprit S4s, 1999 Esprit V8 GT (ex-5th Gear project), 1999 Esprit V8SE ('02 rear)

1999 S350 #002 Esprit GT1 replica

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
To be correct, despite the mis-representation in the Lotus press releases at the time, the Lotus GT1 engine shares absolutely no resemblence to the road engine, except the hand selected blocks - which were then heavily modified.

It is a real shame that Lotus didn

Edited by neal

May: DON'T hit it with a hammer!

Clarkson: Why?

May: Cause it's the tool of a pikey.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Another thing which would put me off having more power is the lack of rigidity from the backbone chassis. Although strengthened over its lifetime it was still a 30 year old design and changing it radically would involve practically designing a new car. Was the chassis different in the GT1?

The race car is a tubular space-frame - not a backbone chassis. Honestly, the only think that is the same between the racer and the road car are the door handles and the rear light clusters; Everything else is bespoke motorsport design.

Edited by mike_sekinger

1996 Esprit V8, 1998 Esprit V8 GT, 1999 Esprit S350 #002 (Esprit GT1 replica project), 1996 Esprit V8 GT1 (chassis 114-001), 1992 Lotus Omega (927E), 1999 Esprit V8SE, 1999 Esprit S350 #032, 1995 Esprit S4s, 1999 Esprit V8 GT (ex-5th Gear project), 1999 Esprit V8SE ('02 rear)

1999 S350 #002 Esprit GT1 replica

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Someone at Lotus told me that they had prototyped a chassis with the backbone made from round tubing, that was stiffer than the production chassis and also had a narrower cross section, so would have provided more space in the cabin. However, a chassis change requires crash testing and they didn't have the budget for it.

Regards,

Peter.

Another thing which would put me off having more power is the lack of rigidity from the backbone chassis.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Someone at Lotus told me that they had prototyped a chassis with the backbone made from round tubing, that was stiffer than the production chassis and also had a narrower cross section, so would have provided more space in the cabin. However, a chassis change requires crash testing and they didn't have the budget for it.

Interesting. Certainly you could beef up the chassis but the backbone is always going to be fundamentally the weak point. Unless it is super strong (and therefore super heavy) the front and rear ends can rotate independently. It acts like a giant torsion bar but critically the oscillation is undamped giving the feeling the front and back ends aren't properly connected. Ideally you want a rigid chassis front to back (say a spaceframe like a Caterham or floorpan/sills like the Elise) with independent sprung and damped suspension at each corner to keep the chassis flat and stable...

Edited by neal

May: DON'T hit it with a hammer!

Clarkson: Why?

May: Cause it's the tool of a pikey.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Topic moved to Motoring/Lotus/Esprit from V8 Technical as it's not a technical topic.


88 Esprit NA, 89 Esprit Turbo SE, Evora, Evora S, Evora IPS, Evora S IPS, Evora S IPS SR, Evora 400, Elise S1, Elise S1 111s, Evora GT410 Sport

Evora NA

For forum issues, please contact the Moderators. I will aim to respond to emails/PM's Mon-Fri 9-6 GMT. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What I have always found interesting is that if you go to LEW for instance, and read the road test starting with the early cars moving forward by date, it seems clear that the authors of the given day were not impressed at all with the V8 Esprit. The favor clearly leans to the later 4 pot cars as they were "selected" first in comparos, noted as the favorite in comparos, and in stand alone articles many cudos seem to have been given. Then you get to the V8 articles and they are titled with not so favorable accolades like "Too Little, Too Late" and comments like "unremarkable sounds", "poor reliability", and "Still a Ferrari Killer?" (implying that was is not) were used by the authors - a lot.

So, popular reading was not painting them in a good light at all.

Cameron


"If you feel that you are in total control of the car, well, your just not driving fast enough". Jimmy Clark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
To be correct, despite the mis-representation in the Lotus press releases at the time, the Lotus GT1 engine shares absolutely no resemblence to the road engine, except the hand selected blocks - which were then heavily modified.

But essentially the same engine right ?

I mean the S300 4 cylinders were effectifly highly tuned 910s - granted they're not spec'd the same as a road car but they were running nearly 200 bhp more ! So you can expect them to be modified - I was always under the impression the V8 was just unleasted in these cars ?

I think the biggest problem is people always look at 1 ups and specs.

Mine a 4 pot, hah - I've got a V8.

Mine produces 200hp, hah - I've got 250.

They also forget the Esprit is NOT a sprinter or a focused track car.

Put simply power to weight the V8 at the time was a VERY quick car (still is) - you only have to trawl youtube to see V8's pacing along side modern supercars (albeit tuned up a bit no doubt).

Wasn't the reliabilty simply down to the liner issue ? How many post 2000 V8's have really gone wrong ?

So why was it binned ?


facebook = [email protected]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Was it used in other cars? Was that the intention? Did it never meet expectation?

I'm sure Brian Angus mentioned once that it was developed for a planned front-engine, rear-wheel drive coupe that never saw the light of day, hence the awkward access to certain ancilliaries as noted above when installed in the back of the Esprit. Isn't the oil filter or alternator or something similar in a particularly hard-to-reach position? However, in the planned front/rear configuration this item would have been easier to reach, and the Renault transaxle would never have restricted the original design brief.

Like Peter said, top marks to Lotus for keeping the Esprit alive so long. Dropping the V8 in effectively gave it, what, six or seven more years or life?


Dan

"He who dies with the most toys wins..."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, I think it was always intended to go in the Esprit. The problem was the 4 pot didn't meet the upcoming US regs (where the majority of Esprits were sold) which required an OBDII compliant engine and reverse engineering that into the 4 pot would have cost practically as much as designing a new engine. So faced with a new engine, marketing demanded it have 8 cylinders. Sure the 4 pot had plenty of power but the media could only see that it was 4 cylinders short of the opposition.

Compact as the V8 is, it was still a real squeeze to get it into the Esprit engine bay. It didn't so much result in everything being inaccessible but it made a lot of stuff (e.g. a simple cambelt change) a real pain in the ass. Also, it compromised the design in a number of ways, e.g. both turbos are at the bottom where they pick up all the crap from the road which is why the wastegate capsules fail all the time. Also, MikeS has a great photo of the right inlet manifold which has a really nasty kink in it to make the routing possible.

It would have been nice to have a screaming NA V8 with 350bhp (easily possible even back then) but the peaky torque would have destroyed the transmission. But by using a low boost non intercooled engine they were about to produce a flat torque at the gearbox limit from 2.5k right up to the redline, while still keeping the lag to a minimum.

But certainly Lotus did hope to sell it as a general purpose unit for other cars, just read the tone from this marketing brochure:

http://www.lotusespritworld.co.uk/EGuides/...ngine_Spec.html

Edited by USAndretti42
Removed quote

May: DON'T hit it with a hammer!

Clarkson: Why?

May: Cause it's the tool of a pikey.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brian Angus has said it was never meant for the Esprit but a front engined car, the Esprit was given an extended life with the V8 and the GT3, he said this at the forum factory day techy seminar


The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.

Friedrich Nietzsche

find me on Tripadvisor

http://www.tripadvis...mbers/espritguy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep I was there too at Oxford and Brian def said it was originally designed for a front engined application and when that fell through it was then put into the Esprit,


Regards

Mat

post-1-0302470001278592957.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, I guess that would make sense.

The Esprit was the only model which Lotus sold in the States at that time (early-mid 90s). If they had been able to put the V8 in a new front engined GT car then that could have replaced the Esprit and things would have been fine (at least from a commercial point of view - can't say I would have been happy!) But with the GT car falling through they had no alternative but to extend the life of the Esprit and put the V8 in it (thankfully).


May: DON'T hit it with a hammer!

Clarkson: Why?

May: Cause it's the tool of a pikey.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But essentially the same engine right ?

No. The 4-cylinder ran in a category that didn


1996 Esprit V8, 1998 Esprit V8 GT, 1999 Esprit S350 #002 (Esprit GT1 replica project), 1996 Esprit V8 GT1 (chassis 114-001), 1992 Lotus Omega (927E), 1999 Esprit V8SE, 1999 Esprit S350 #032, 1995 Esprit S4s, 1999 Esprit V8 GT (ex-5th Gear project), 1999 Esprit V8SE ('02 rear)

1999 S350 #002 Esprit GT1 replica

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...