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What is the best Lotus Esprit model ?

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Since I own one its not a shock for me to say that the 86/87 HCi G-cars are the best cars to own. You get:

1) Turbo performance with stronger engines(nikasil liners, forged pistons, etc, etc)

2) The angular, breath-taking original styling(still the best even today!)

3) Much more "sorted" car than an s1 or an s2

4) Reliable Bosch FI system versus the carbed 83-85 models

:unworthy:

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My favorite is the S1 (big surprise). Reasons: Striking, pure, original design. Also the lightest of all Esprits (as far as I know -- figure around 2200 lbs), and the handling is sublime. Raw, old school feel, like someone dressed up an old Formula car and tried to pass it off as a Grand Tourer.

My second favorite is any form of the early Stevens car. Reasons: The "original version" of Stevens' update is the most cohesive; it all goes together nicely, nothing looks tacked on, and the wheels and interior are perfectly befitting. I slightly prefer the regular Turbo's shape, but obviously the SE has that incredible leap in horsepower and performance, so either one will do for me.

But given that design is more qualitative and performance and reliability are more quantitative, it would be hard to argue that the S4s isn't the best Esprit. It's not my favorite styling-wise, but no one can deny its performance, refinement, and quality.

I know the V8 Esprits are the fastest, but I think the true essence of the Esprit lies in the turbocharged four. Part of the 'magic' of the Turbo Esprit was, in fact, that it made all that power from a four cylinder. Ferrari and Lamborghini fanboys feel it doesn't have enough cylinders, but that seems like personal insecurity and/or compensation issues to me, or maybe (yawn) automotive traditionalism. A turbocharged four is perfect for the Esprit's era, and it's really, IMHO, part of what makes the Lotus Esprit what it is. Top sports car makers came to battle with various front-, mid-, and rear-engined configurations of turbocharged and normally aspirated straight sixes, V-6s, flat sixes, V8s, V12s, etc.; and an inline four is the slot in this delightful variety that the Esprit so admirably filled. :)

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Well said - Especially the Ferrari/cylinders argument. My friend has an '84 308 QV and he always mentions "Its just a 4-banger". Of course, I reply with "Anytime you'd like to challenge me to a little race Id be glad to oblige." :animier: He would be mistaken to even try though. Ive driven both cars and from 30mph on up hes toast!

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Got one of those on my office desk - a wee bit smaller - but you can pull it back and it speeds off 👍

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Something some of your purchases didn't do😂

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Wasn't the proposal for the Esprit originally planned to be a V8 of some sort anyway? 

Any Esprit will cost you money - ultimately for me the debate is what pleases you most aesthetically, emotionally and gives you the performance and automotive passion you are looking for.

I still say this to me is the best car they ever built - probably not from a mechanical or reliability point of view and certainly not for performance but its just looks soooooo ...........ace! 😎

Period colour inside and out - great wheels - pure wedge - the name - the fact we were still at the front of the grid in F1 at the time.................    never been bettered.

 

 

 

Lotus_Esprit_S2_1978.jpg

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Can't believe I've only found this thread just now... Surely I must add my 2cents. 🙂

Like many, I love the pure lines of the early G-cars. But growing up in the 80s means my personal favorite for looks is the Turbo Esprit. Aggresive, spoilered, louvered, it looks like fast as lighting even when standing still. Unfortunately, I haven't had the change to drive one (or be driven in one) yet. Which shoul motivate me to help my friend get his TE up and running, instead of just sitting in a corner of my workshop...

I do have some experience with the later cars, though not a V8 as of yet. I'm very happy with my choice for a (early) Turbo SE. I prefer the Stevens designs to the rounder Thompson revamp, and especially love the interior, which has a much more classic feel. I'll take BL stalks and doorhandles over GM sourced every time. The last cars with the smaller dash just don't give me that cockpit feel I've grown used to. No driver aids and not too much electronics seal the deal. The Delco injection I do consider a big plus compared to carbs, especially in a daily driver. On the other hand, I did enjoy driving an N/A, with it's lineair power delivery. I certainly don't miss power steering or ABS. In fact, I'm so happy with my choice, that when I lost my first SE, it only took me no more than 2 weeks to realise I wanted exactly the same car again. And just another 2 weeks more to find one to my liking, thanks to TLF.

The Sport 300 was and is a dream, though I was just a bit disappointed it didn't feel so special inside, certainly not more than an SE. No doubt there will be a very noticeable difference when driving! And of course the concept of a nice, Lotus designed V8 and a big racy spoiler make the Sport 350 a good contender as well. Despite my reservations about the later cars as stated above.

Travis nailed it I think, with his vote for the X180R. Now that the secret is out, even less chances of ever finding one!

Probably best we all have different opinions, that way all the variants have their following and we can admire each others pride and joy at shows. 😎

Filip

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I’m with Neil. Series 2. All. Day. Long. 

(accepting that it’s a deeply subjective question)

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