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Sorry Thomas thats not strictly true. Lotus Engineering have worked on already developed engines, not designed, built and developed an engine themselves. Also Lotus Engineerings main area has historically been ride and handling.

It was a worry when they announced their own engine. Just to comply with European standards for quality and emissions takes 2 years of homologation, testing and development (including tens of test engines)This costs tens of millions alone! Thats without the cost of the actual design, building and engine. Then you have to factor in such standards as Californian Legislation and emission testing, the strictest in the world at present. You can't bypass it because that was the market Bahar was aiming at (Hollywood). SO you haveto do all that homologation again!

Then the big bugbear. Reliability. The more powerful an engine the harder this is to get. don't forget the fiasco of the Esprit V8 and all the nightmares that went with it...especially the Lemon Laws in America which meant if that happened now, Lotus would have to buy back the cars they sold at Retail new cost (plus expenses) even if they went pop a year down the line.

If you don't believe me then here's an excerpt from one of the top men in the Automotive world (and no, he's not related to me):

"Some large manufacturers make at least some of their own engines, but many have joint ventures with other manufacturers and share the engine designs (and in some cases build them for each other) since the cost to of R&D is so expensive.

For example, Ford build all of their diesel engines for Europe at Dagenham, but the designs are shared with PSA (Peugeot and Citroën) and Mazda. GM Europe and Fiat share diesel engine designs, and Suzuki also uses the Fiat-sourced diesel engines. PSA and BMW share petrol engine designs (the 1.6-litre engine in the MINI is virtually identical to that in the Peugeot 207, 308, 508 & RCZ and Citroën DS3, C4, DS4, C5 & DS5.

Similarly, Renault & Nissan share some engines.

Jaguar-Land Rover currently does not build any of its own engines - they are mostly sourced from Ford factories even though the V8 petrol and diesel engines are not used by Ford (the decision on where to make the engines was made when Ford owned JLR) - but they will in the next few years having announced a new engine plant near Wolverhampton.

Any small manufacturer without strong backing (Ferrari and FIAT is a good example), would not develop their own engine as the cost is prohibitive. That said there are those that have tried in the past, but modern legislation makes this uneconomic for the numbers they would sell."

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My understanding is that the new engine is someone else's race engine, 'converted' to a road engine; much the same as Ricardo have done for McLaren. This isn't as far removed from their existing business as building from scratch. You'd also hope that if Ricardo can manage it Lotus can give it a good stab.

I'm not saying it's easy, it's clearly not. But at this end of the market I'm not sure the ISF engine that was originally proposed would cut it. My overriding memories of my drives in a 997 GT3 RS are of the engine. More recently, driving Astons with that V12 the emotions that you get from the way it delivers power and the sound it produces doing so is a big part of the experience.

Objectively there's probably nothing wrong with the Toyota Engine. In fact, the fact my Elise had a Toyota engine was a plus factor when ordering it - I knew the car would go wrong but considered the engine more reliable than other options (notably the 6 cylinder non-GT water cooled engines in the 997). At Elise prices that's OK given the other attributes. At Esprit prices it's not.

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Sorry Thomas thats not strictly true. Lotus Engineering have worked on already developed engines, not designed, built and developed an engine themselves. Also Lotus Engineerings main area has historically been ride and handling.

The Range Extender, Ultra Boost and Onmivore are 3 recent high profile examples of in-house engines. A few years back 10-15% of ALL NEW CARS sold in the EU had a Lotus designed and/or developed engine and the Ecotec (L850) engine which was used in scores of cars of has it's project centre in Hethel. These were, at peak being produced at a rate of one per 17 seconds.

http://www.lotuscars...ent-performance

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

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I've always thought it was a mistake Lotus building their own engine for the Esprit. Reliability is paramount, IMO they should have worried less about perception and developed the reliable Lexus unit that was being talked about at the time.

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Is the Esprit engine unreliable? How many times have you been stranded Mark?

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

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I don't know 100% where the "Toyota Engine" thing came from cause I can tell you that the Engine that was going to be fitted to the New Esprit under the previous...previous...management was intended to be German.

And Bibs. The Lotus V8 Esprit engine had more than a 1 in 4 failure rate when it was launched. I call that pretty unreliable. Just because you don't have issues now (after 12 years or more) doesn't make it a reliable engine. Its failings are very well documented.

The 4 Cylinder was a different kettle of fish. Developed many many EU legislations ago.

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The Lotus V8 Esprit engine had more than a 1 in 4 failure rate when it was launched.

No chance*!

*Just called Hethel to clarify. Out of over 1,600 V8's built, perhaps 100 were replaced over the life of the engine.

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

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Agreed... but that's if the new Esprit makes it to the showrooms. As much as understand the appeal of a bespoke engine I can see it being an achilles heel too. I'm sure the new boss is looking closely at the figures in WZ's dept. Hopefully there's other areas to cut back on... the motorsport bills alone must be spectacular.

Yeah, as much as I was pleased to see Lotus back in motorsport in a big way, they really don't need to be involved in anything other than F1 (which doesn't cost them anything now) and grassroots/privatier GT racing (which should bring in money or at least break even).

I hope they also make sure that the Evora re-fresh/new variants make it to market (described at the bottom of the article in the link below) as well as the Esprit, as it will really help get sales on the up ahead of the Esprit and increase the chances of its success. The front engined cars are almost certainly dead though if they are trying to stem these kinds of weekly losses.

http://skiddmark.com/2012/05/group-lotus-a-future-worth-fighting-for/

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The 4 Cylinder was a different kettle of fish. Developed many many EU legislations ago.

History dcoes not show this to have been reliable in it's first incarnation (Jenson Healey), Lotus already have a problem of perceived unreliability, so even if they failed less than an audi (which has high perceived reliability) the odd failure would be a problem

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Wasn't the Healey experience a classic case of Lotus getting someone else to do their R&D in public? I've never owned an Esprit but I came close a couple of times. Back in the day even B&C told me to avoid the V8s, ( in both sales and service! ), and they weren't alone.

I understand the need for a decent lump though, but would anyone really care if Lotus priced the Esprit accordingly and perhaps reverted to the German alternatives? There's a gap in the market somewhere... perhaps priced against the R8 as opposed to the 458?

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No chance*!

*Just called Hethel to clarify. Out of over 1,600 V8's built, perhaps 100 were replaced over the life of the engine.

Oh FFS, I didn't say replaced engines! OK then. How many have had new heads/head gaskets? How many have had reliability problems. Its my understanding there isn't a car out there without an adjusted/replaced parts.

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You said 'failure' which in automotive terms means to have it replaced. If it's failed, it needs to be replaced.

Even modern cars mass produced need to be fixed from time to time. My pals '09 Kia is having a replacement short engine due to compression problems, nothing so complicated will be without fault. Kind of mutes your point, FFS.

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

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There is absolutely no way anyone in the automotive world would ever call the Esprit V8 engine reliable when it was launched (or Lunched as has happened to some) or even possibly for years after.

And I said FFS because I was getting exasperated at people constantly putting words in my mouth.

And your mates car was one from a production run of hundreds of thousands. Not 100 from 1600 (or 1 in 16). If we convert these figures to the Kia model then it would equate to 10,000 total failures for 160,000. Thats a rediculously high figure that no manufacturer would accept.

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This is becoming semantics...if something "fails"...it has gone wrong, failed to work, and needs to be fixed. Surely this can be done by repair? Fitting the odd new bit to replace whatever has died? Not necessarily changing the whole motor....or car, if taken to the logical extreme. I admit my perception of the V8 isn't of total shining reliability....based entirely on what I've read on these Forums and elsewhere.

Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been." - Albert Einstein

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I just asked someone in Lotus "Did the 918 have a 1 in 4 failure rate" and got a chuckle in reply.

No, the engine wasn't a shining example of reliability but it wasn't terrible and as a testament to this people are still driving V8s and indeed spent £60-70k on them 8 years into production which wouldn't have happened if they were that bad.

All the same, this is 17 years ago and how it equates to now I have no idea!

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

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I understand the need for a decent lump though, but would anyone really care if Lotus priced the Esprit accordingly and perhaps reverted to the German alternatives? There's a gap in the market somewhere... perhaps priced against the R8 as opposed to the 458?

It partly depends I guess on whether the engine makes up part of the structure of the car, as was hinted at in one of the old EVO articles, though this may have had more to do with its intended use in the LMP2 car, rather than the Esprit.

I think the one positive of keeping the engine and the higher pricing would be that it leaves plenty of room for many variants of the Evora and its successor below which could share many parts with the Esprit, but the cheaper car could definitely use a bought in V6. After all the Evora already has a good engine that sounds great.

Edited by Gus82
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Is the Esprit engine unreliable? How many times have you been stranded Mark?

Never broken down in 10 years. But as mentioned the 900 series engine was a piece of crap when it was launched and the V8 wasn't much better either when it was launched. With development they improved.

The Elise and Evora with their Toyota lumps are reliable cars and are well percieved. I think that should've been the way to go.

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What about the k-seried Elise? HGF anyone?

I'm not saying every car should have an in house engine, (in fact I'm not even sure what I'm saying or why now!) but not every use of someone else's 'reliable' engine is a golden decision.

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

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Bibs, I talked to a Belgian dealer, he sold 14 new Esprit V8 in the V8's existence, ALL engines have been overhauled completely, some of them even more than once!!! The V8's were VERY unreliable, certainly if the liners were not put in with the special product they came with later on. I can't remember the name but it was PC 3400 or something. The new engine, as I said before, is something you need when your sales are booming, you have a strong line-up of cars and your eyes are dazzling by looking at the profit you are making. That is about the time to think about creating your own engine...

EDIT: It's Hylomar 3400 Just remembered it!

Edited by Exploded

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Comparing Lotus' ability to develop and manufacture engines in the mid 70's or mid 90's to today is fairly pointless. There is a different team of engineers led by Wolf Zimmerman who came from AMG Mercedes who specialise in great engines and during the period when much of the development work was carried out it appears Lotus was well funded. Therefore whether they use the engine is a simple business decision that relates to how much it costs to get it into production and if it is cost effective to produce only for the Esprit etc.

Edited by Gus82
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Bibs, I talked to a Belgian dealer, he sold 14 new Esprit V8 in the V8's existence, ALL engines have been overhauled completely, some of them even more than once!!! The V8's were VERY unreliable, certainly if the liners were not put in with the special product they came with later on. I can't remember the name but it was PC 3400 or something. The new engine, as I said before, is something you need when your sales are booming, you have a strong line-up of cars and your eyes are dazzling by looking at the profit you are making. That is about the time to think about creating your own engine...

EDIT: It's Hylomar 3400 Just remembered it!

I would question the reliability of the dealer's assertion, or perhaps more accuratley, I would question its relevance in trying to evaluate the reliability of the V8 engine. One hundred percent of the owners either went to the dealer for or reported to the dealer the necessity of a rebuild? Really? Did all 14 require rebuilds because of catasrophic failures? Is there any record of what was worn on the engines (if anything) when they were torn down? Did the dealer encourage rebuilds to paranoid owners?

One might argue that even one out of fourteen rebuilds would be a terrible rate, but of course you cannot scale statistics from such a small sample size.

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I think its grossly unfair to compare the development of the Esprit V8 engine, back in the mid '90s, with the situation Lotus found themselves in 2-3 years ago i.e. with a very significant budget, a baseline race derived engine and a effectively a whole new engineering capability led by ex AMG engine guru Wolf Zimmerman. The old V8 was developed on a shoestring budget (I recall a figure of £5m mentioned at the time but that seems ridiculous when I think about it now) for a limited application. The reliability or otherwise of that engine cannot be compared to what Lotus might do now (assuming the programme remains funded and DRB let it continue)

As to my own experience, in 8 years of Esprit V8 ownership averaging 7k miles/year I have only been stranded once and that was due to a failed alternator on my '98, a standard GM part! Yes I had fractured manifold bolts, coolant pipes etc. and had to replace the turbos as they had rotted, but in terms of 'reliability' it never actually failed on me apart from that one occasion.

My current '01 Esprit, at 60k miles, has had no major engine work and is still on its original clutch. In fact its just been serviced and MOT'd - in the past 12 months all I've done is put 2 new rear tires on it. The MOT just needed a couple of corroded brake lines replacing, a new front ball joint and the headlamp adjusting. That's all.

Yes they have to be looked after but my guess is that of the 1600 sold, there are 1600 different owner experiences out there. But Lotus have moved on significantly since those days so let's move forward with them. He said, hopefully.......

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This forum is littered with V8 owners and its been a long time since I read about one giving sizeable trouble.

Trevor.

I'll get around to it at some point.

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Patrick, the technician at that dealer has the highest certification from Lotus themselves though and has over 26 years experience in working at Lotus (only). He was chief mechanic at a racing team which raced Esprits (first 4 cyl then V8). The problems were in many cases catastrophic. And I must correct myself 1 engine has not been opened, but that Esprit has only 4K kms at the moment...

I don't know if Mike Sekinger is still around, I feel confident Mike will see the numbers I mentioned as exaggerated, but he might accept Kimbers' figures. Let's hope he pops in.

Edited by Exploded

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Check out this article on the V8 engine development, from page 9.

"The new Lotus V8 is the result of a 27 month programme which has included more than 30 prototype engines, and over 200,000 miles of testing on five continents."

http://www.docstoc.com/docs/83132806/V8-ESPRIT

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