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Lotus Esprit (1987–2004)

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1987 Lotus Esprit Turbo.jpg

Lotus Esprit (X180). 1987–2004 (prod. 6,278 all production 1987–2004, incl. some S3). 2-door coupé. M/R, 1973, 2174 cm³ (I4 DOHC), 3506 cm³ (V8 DOHC). Peter Stevens smoothed out Giorgetto Giugiaro’s original razor-edged shape for the 1980s, and a plethora of models followed. Renault transmission initially, with early models (standard and Turbo) built till 1990. SE from 1989 to 1993, with rear wing added 1991; base S offered in 1991 only. X180R and 300 Sport racing versions from 1991 to 1993. S4, with turbo, from 1993, with new interior and revised suspension, with minor changes to the Stevens shape by Julian Thompson; S4S took the same formula and increased power from 264 to 300 bhp; both made to 1996. GT3 from 1996 to 1998 had smaller capacity (two litres) but 240 bhp, while GT3S, for Australian market, blended S4S with GT3 interior upgrades. Ever more extreme versions were launched: biturbo V8 from 1996, spawning Sport 350 in 1999; GT and SE pumped out 355 PS and took Esprit production into 2001. Last Stevens-shaped Esprits, from 2002, were distinguished by round taillights, and other nip–tucks under Russell Carr, sporting the biturbo V8. Considered cramped toward the end, and increasingly dated alongside more modern competition.

Manufacturing location: Hethel, Norfolk, England

Marque: Lotus | Model: Lotus Esprit | Predecessors: Lotus Esprit S3, Lotus Esprit Turbo (1981–7)

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