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What is the best Lotus Esprit model ?

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hi guys,

For you what is the best model ?

technical, mechanical, body, chassis, ...

S1, S2, S3, Turbo, SE, V8 .......

it's just for fun.

:)

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Upgrade today to remove Google ads and support TLF.

Your post highlights the problem with that question.

Body, for me s1 (pure, clean).

Mechanical, S4s/ Sport 300 (highest power output from the 2.2l engine) and chassis improvements.

So that's both ends of the 4 pot run, but then every other model had something special or something that was special at the time.

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Personally, if you want one you can find and buy (eg not a sport 300) i'd always say the SE.

Purely as later cars, the S4, S4s, GT3 and V8 had performance figures the same, near, or less, but not a world apart.

But the Chargecooled turbo engine (introduced in the SE) was the biggest model to model performance jump the Esprit ever made.

You can buy a late GT3 and it can hold it's own against other makers cars of the same age, but ten years before that the SE was doing the same and a bit more. I think it will be seen as the most important Esprit since the S1, which is a shame now as there are very few SE examples left unmolested and un-'updated'.

:)

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The S1... but it's more of a 'love and hate' relationship.

Love : if it's good enough fo Bond it's good enough for mesofa.gif

Hate : always something going wrong with this car.

More seriously... Series 1 = pure and exclusive!

Edited by Hemlock

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Shhhhhhhhhh.......Be very very quiet, Jonathan. This is perhaps the longest any forum thread broaching the infamous "Which is the best Esprit?" question has ever gone without being "locked" by the "TLF Department of Downward Spiraling and Imminent Food Fight Brouhaha Prevention Patrol." Tread lightly, and leave no tracks.nuke.gifnuke.gifnuke.gifph34r.gif

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Guest mkelite

assuming we're gonna disregard any technical bits and how reliable each model is............... the S1 Esprit purest of lines and style, obviously, but in my opinion the S2 and S2.2 are visual better than the S1 (minus hideous black sills - just hate black sills! ). the '85ish Esprit Turbo cos it looks mean, louvres, sills, spoiler designs. then for me the last 2002/3 V8 Esprit cos its got a nice sounding V8 engine. had been waiting for ages for Lotus to make their own V8! how shallow of me. im sure most will say the S4 and SE versions for power, reliability etc but as visual masterpieces thats my choice folks. DC.

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S1

Love: The lines, looks great from absolutely every angle. The old school mechanics - simple. The S1 evokes an era of motoring history that has unfortunately been lost forever.

Hate: Something always needs tweaking.

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The best Esprit is the one sitting in your garage. It's the perfect blend of performance, style, and especially... price.

  • Like 1

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X180-R

Only 20 made

Stiffest Esprit chassis with a full roll cage.

Limited Slip Diff (ZF clutch type).

AP Racing brakes (same as Sport 300).

IMG_3666.jpg

IMG_3492.jpg

IMG_4031.jpg

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I've seen this SO many times. When asked this question, most owners will simply say the car they own or something very similar.

I will jump on this band wagon and say I've owned a HC turbo, Stevens carb turbo, S4, S4s and a V8 GT. Now here's the surprise, my biggest dissappointment out of the lot of them was the S4s! I am not saying it was a bad car because it wasn't. I was running at 333BHP and no mechanical faults whatsover. I think it was all the hype that people told me. I expected it to be twice as good when it wasn't.

So there's no surprise when I'd say that my favourite is the car I own now V8 GT. My HC Turbo is virtually finished and everything is working fine on it now. The dissappointment with this is that I can't fit in it and drive it properly. And despite trying to locate the rattles etc, it's an old car.

The cars I would avoid are the ones with Delco Moraine braking system as I think it's shocking and doesn't give you any confidence when braking hard into corners and roundabouts. So this covers 89 to 96 cars. I noticed this even more when I drove my HC Turbo the other day. I was expecting crap brakes because it was pre 88 but these were betting than my carb turbo, S4 and S4s brakes (as they were standard). The HC Turbo has a good brake pedal feel IMO.

As for me, the older the model, the more it tends to rattle and bang. Each model I've had has got better with build quality in terms of door shuts, rattles etc. I have notice that the other quality of parts on my V8 have suffered i.e radiators, oil cooler pipes, fuel tanks etc which have corroded twice as quick as my older cars.

I have been thinking of ideas recently about earlier pre faclift dash V8 that most people find undesirable, to buy these and backward engineer them and put a 2.2 turbo 300BHP engine back in. This way, they will attract more buyers with running costs but it's a late ish car in terms of rattles and bangs.

Regards,

David

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Guest surferphil

As a design the S1 and SE were/are revolutionary and iconic, and featured in my child hood as dream cars.

S1 reliability depends on how well looked after it has been or how well things have been maintained. Most cars don't last as long as 30 years.

As a complete road going package: Sport 350 is the most attractive to me. That's to say if I could have only 1 car, that would be it. :)

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I think for all this topic can be subjective and is very dependant what you want for the Esprit or how you would like to use it as well as how it works with your own character.

The S1 looks awsome and I believe has become a classic shape and really does look good on the move, plus prices are going up. The same can be said for the orginal Turbo and also the SE really was a leap forward in terms of performance, which in reality most since haven't really pushed the performance boundaries that much further forward.

For me though (and I will be biased here for obvious reasons) as I faced this same question when looking for my Esprit was to try and get the ultimate version of the Esprit (at least in my opinion).

I tried many of the latter cars which included a couple of SE's, S4, S4s, Sport 300, GT3, V8SE and Sport 350 (unfortunatley did not want the problems that could effect the older cars, such as the original Gig turbos etc).

The one that I felt was the best and most exciting version was the Sport 300, it just felt stiffer and more chuckable and had massive amounts of grip and power (when the turbos spooled up). I did really like the others (especially the Sport 350 which would be a much better cruiser and for long country dashes also the S4s and Gt3 very good also), although the V8se didn't really do it for me.

To quote a few quotes from Autocar (about the Sport 300) whom have driven and reviewed all version of the Esprit (this is from Autocar issue 2nd June 1999, page 105):

1) Picture Quotes: Amazing balance and handling finesse make the Sport 300 greatest Esprit of all. Cramped cabin charming but dated. Terrific balance and poise to chassis

2) The most memorable Esprit of a long line is not the second generation V8, which was a whole lot better than the first , but the track bred Sport 300 which has the turbocharged four, dazzling performance, fantastic roadholding and impeccable balance. No shortage of thrills here.

3) Autocars Verdict: The best Esprit ever made. Driving machines don't come much more exciting aesthetically or dynamically, than the bewinged, 302bhp lightweight Sport 300. Or much rarer - only 50 made (well 64 in reality - Russ)

Just my views, also consider that the Sport 300 (like the 350 and x180R are very rare and it took me about 2-3 years to find mine.

The real bargins out there have to be the SE's as mentioned before and that or the S4/S4s or Gig Turbos

All of these cars are great whichever version you own/ drive so enjoy them.

Russ

P.S. The above are just my thoughts and opinions (that and Autocar's, when mentioned), please no death threats or torching the Autocar offices ;-) every version is special in it's own way.

P.S.S Anyone went to Malvern or have photos of the event?

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There's a whole section on Malvern on the forum.

http://www.thelotusforums.com/forums/index.php?/forum/81-club-lotus-festival-malvern-2010/

The yellow press car was there, #8 and you'll see a pic of it in one of the threads. It's for sale too!

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Am I eligible for this, as I don't actually have an Esprit :)

I always thought that it was amazing the Esprit could best its contemporaries with half the number of cylinders. The idea of a 4 cylinder car going up against Ferrari was so ridiculously brilliant, it was hard not to love. For a little while, I thought that a "proper" Esprit would have a 4 cylinder. It may have been an idiosyncrasy, a quirky trait, but it was engineered wonderfully and helped make it unique. Even with the 4-pots, the Esprit got the short end of the stick when it first came out and it took a while for Lotus to bring it up to what Lotus' engineers had in mind when they designed it (I'm thinking power levels in particular)

Then I read that they originally wanted the Esprit to have a V8, but just weren't able to pull it off for a variety of reasons, none of which were related to whether it would fit or work. Finances and politics. It didn't change my love of the 4 cylinder Esprits, but it gave me a new perspective on the V8s. I didn't think of it as some trick to satisfy the naysayers; that Lotus just shoehorned a V8 in there to prolong its life. The fact that the Esprit was meant to have a V8 from the beginning put it in a new light for me. It didn't de-mythologize the earlier cars for me. Rather, the V8 wasn't some perversion or violation of the original builders' vision. In fact, it was a very belated fulfillment of that vision. Perhaps it makes my previous opinion sound harsher than it actually was, but it legitimized it to me.

As for the 918 V8 itself, it's very cool that they managed to built not only a proprietary engine and put it into production, but that they built a lightweight and compact one at that. It may shift the balance of the car and add weight (rather than lightness), but not all that much when you consider it. If it were a real pig, like say it had an iron block, then I could see poo-pooing it for the change in handling dynamics and so forth, but Lotus' engineers did a very admirable job in designing that engine to complement the Esprit so well, especially considering it wasn't even built for it in the first place. Even with that bit of added weight, the Esprit remains a remarkably balanced and flickable sports car.

For me, I'd take any Esprit. Specifically, the S4, S4s and early V8 cars (with the old-style dashboard) would be my top choices, but my inability to leave well enough alone would cause me to skip past any special or limited edition cars like the Sport 350 or 300. Ideally, I'd find a "regular production" model in not-so-mint condition and add some aftermarket parts. Later V8-car brakes, Lotus' springs/shocks package they've since co-developed, etc... I would hate to take apart a mint car for that.

Edited by JeepinMatt

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Or put another way, if I had my choice of any Esprit, it'd be a Sport 300.

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Essssssssssssssssss four.

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Well, we ALL have to answer this post - otherwise, we don't beleive in what we have (or wish for)

For me, the Esprit is the G car. S1-S3, it doesnt matter, they all have the 'look' The later car are special but for me, fail to have the Esprit JNCQ.

So, when it came for me, I was looking for the JNCQ plus a degree of reliability +++> S3 NA.

Yep, its not the S1 in looks. It doesnt have the later cars power, but as a compromise between the two,it does the trick.

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Well,

Most people are going to vote for there own cars, but hey thats why we purchased them :) The best esprit to own has to go to the the series 3 n/a

Reasons. 1. Relaible build quality compared to the s1,s2 esprits

2. Galvanised chassis

3. Cheap to run compared to the rest of the esprits and parts easier to get hold of.

4. Still can be picked up for very cheap as a daily driver or restoration project.

I have also owned the stevens esprits but just love the retro shape of the G car, However my all time favorite esprit for looks has to be a CHROME ORANGE GT3, great colour, great power from a 2.o ltr engine, the car just looks fantastic.

But the s3 n/a takes the post. :thumbsup:

Regards danny

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Yep 'G' Esprit is the daddy (should have called the 'S' a different name imho). The wedge always turns heads. Park a 'G' and an 'S' next to each other and people will hover towards the 'G' Esprit always.

The fact it is a Lotus is a bonus but to be honest even if it was a reliant I would have bought one!

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Brian Angus told me once that the S4S was the best Esprit ever built........................He should know.......

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I have also driven a good portion of the modern models, from the SE to the latest V8 and my verdict is: the Sport 300

It took me years to have a chance to drive them all, but in the end my quest to find a Sport 300 finally ended, and this one is most definitely a keeper!

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I think the question should be what is the best Lotus model for YOU! Or which model do YOU THINK is the best. This way everyone is right and there will be no squabbles.

I have met several 'lads' who say their car is better than mine for all sorts of reasons, but truth is I cannot compete in a p*ssing contest (don't have the right equipment).

Personally speaking no one can tell me that any car other than mine is better (not being bloody minded or an obstinate woman), the reason being that it is mine.

I could waste lots of time wishing for other cars but the reality is that I have mine and that makes it the best.

Edited by Boots

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I think the Turbo Esprit is the best looking but for combination of looks and performance I like the SE. I ended up with an Esprit Turbo which I think is not as good as either but it has a higher resale price after I import it than the Turbo Esprit and government regulations prevent me from importing an SE.

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