Lotus Esprit supercar history :: The glamor as Hethel Lotus
Early 70 leads to a Porsche 911 Turbo after presenting 3.0 to 911 2.7. Ferrari Dino 246 replaces the 308. Ferrari Lamborghini is immersed in the launch of the Lamborghini Countach, Miura replacing an important step forward, a major design change was a radical, modern, bold, extravagant line and very aggressive ...
And Lotus, Lotus from the British front, with an Aston Martin immersed in a troubled financial river, creates one of the most representative brand jewelry. The most charismatic model in its history. A star was born. A movie star, of sports, design.
A new sport was born in Lotus. The sporty able to plant at Hethel on the red carpet. Able to give the brand a touch of glamor of his Italian fellows while maintaining the original philosophy of the brand. If we can take the primal Elan, the Elise and Exige and of course the Seven as leading exponents of the philosophy of Colin Chapman, as exponents of the thought of "pleasure for the pleasure" of pure sensations, the Lotus Esprit was responsible to give the firm a sports prestige. Not only by its dynamics. Also by design.
The Lotus Esprit was presented in 1975, was at the Paris Motor Show, which also said Ferrari 308. Washes face appeared, the arrival of turbo, a second generation star appearances in films ... a long life that takes us from that sports presented in 1975 another Paris Motor Show much closer in time, a Hall of Paris, 2010, where Lotus introduced us, within an extremely ambitious project, a new Lotus conceptual Esprit that made us dream about British revival of this myth.
Lotus Esprit S1: the beginning of the myth
Giugiaro within the design house Italdesign was put in front of the project commissioned by Colin Chapman, creating a sporty mid-engine with a spectacular silhouette. extremely straight lines. A really low profile. A perfect trapezoid. A simple design with a naturalness hardly comparable. Yes, we might think of the Countach, but the aggressiveness of the Italian marked a considerable distance from the sophisticated elegance and simplicity of the lines of Esprit. It's simple but it is spectacular because precisely this absence of any superfluous element attached to the silhouette of straight lines its main charm lies.
Introduced in 1975 production reached months later, in 1976, in June, with an introductory price of 7,883 pounds, about 9,376 euros. The Lotus Esprit had a block of 4-cylinder, 2-liter displacement, naturally aspirated, carburization and centrally placed course delivering power, 160 hp, the rear axle. It was manual transmission, 5-relations.
With a length of 4191 mm, a width of 1,861 mm and a height of 1,111 mm surprising recorded weighing 1,006 kg thanks to a configuration with a steel chassis and a body of glass fiber.
160 hp, 190 Nm a pair of carrying the Esprit to 100 km / h in 8.4 seconds, with a maximum speed of 217 km / h.
Just 2 years after the Lotus Esprit hit the streets was facing a first "facelift" to prolong the life of the model until 1981 so came the Lotus Esprit S2 with minimal changes, among which we find a new 14-inch wheels signed by Speedline, new instrumentation and a new access to the engine compartment. But if there is something worth mentioning the Lotus Esprit S2 is its special edition John Player Special with the colors of inherited war directly from Formula 1, black and gold, one of the potentially most attractive decorations in the history of motorsport ... of course always with permission from Gulf and Martini. At this stage, between 1977 and 1979 a good sales rate, reaching 580 units in 1977 it is recorded.
Beyond these special editions, again 2 years after the arrival of the S2, the S2.2, which boasted a new rightsizing, 2.2 liters, accompanied by an elderly couple, close to 220 Nm, it had still maintaining its potency. In addition, treatment of chassis for improved corrosion.
Together with increased displacement reached a new alternative to the range, Essex Turbo, supercharged first to Esprit, obtaining, by Garrett turbo, 210 horsepower and torque of 270 Nm. His body was dressed in blue, with a lateral stripe in red and gray while its cambiana chassis with a new arrangement of elements, inheriting a new front suspension Lotus Elite also being revised rear.
Straight end for the original model designed by Giugiaro. Lotus Esprit S3 arrives and with it the latest evolution of the Lotus Esprit which was presented at the Paris Motor Show. 81 to 87 Lotus Esprit sold this receiving improvements presented in the Esprit Turbo. Improves insulation, has a larger tires, the carrier is reviewed and mechanically block 2.2 is maintained, maintaining power figures both the turbo and atmospheric until 86 presented the HC version which raised the power and torque to 174 horses and 217 Nm and at atmospheric to 218 horses and 298 Nm in Turbo.
A new life for the Lotus Esprit, redesigned by architect design McLaren F1
We approached the 90s and strong lines of that Esprit 75 succumb to a softer line a facelift by Peter Stevens who after passing through Lotus would give life to the design of McLaren F1. Lotus, where he is chief designer, directed the redesign of the Esprit, Lotus Excel design and the renewed Lotus Elan.
This washing outer face was accompanied by changes in its interior and a new revision of both the chassis and the constitution of the body, now reinforced with greater rigidity. Conserving mechanical performance arriving in the case of turbo (which can differentiate atmospheric by the presence of a crystal covering the engine compartment) flirting with 5 seconds in the 0 to 100 km / h, 240 km were improved / h speed.
In 1989, 2 years after the facelift, came the Lotus Esprit SE, a Lotus Esprit that after the two new letters of his name hid a new injection system, inherited from General Motors and a "charge-cooler", an intercooler which left us with the most powerful Lotus Esprit to date. 264 hp, 354 Nm of a pair and less than 5 seconds in the 0 to 100 km / h. Yes, compared with 1,006 kg of the first Esprit it was marked 1,305 kg this.
Prestacionales with the improvements we are also improvements in the compartment. Walnut, leather, sunroof, air conditioning, electric mirrors, ice alert, new sound system ... and a starting price that also positioned as the Lotus Esprit most expensive to date, reaching sold in 89 42,500 lbs , 50,500 euros, but also one of the best sellers.
Peter Stevens leaves Lotus to join the challenge of McLaren F1. After he arrives Julian Thomson, who recently left us with the Jaguar CX-75, also working on the design of the Jaguar F-Type and left his stamp on the Lotus Esprit S4 in 1993.
The round lines are still rising. The frontal shots become more curves, the rear spoiler gains more prominence ... and under the hood the same mechanics as Lotus Esprit SE in the remains. power steering, new suspension, ABS, a new mechanical set in which the transmission is reviewed. 268 horses later gave way in S4S 288 horses with flirting and 400 Nm of torque.
Lotus Esprit V8: the end of production of Lotus supercar
1996. A long life already ahead for the Lotus Esprit from that Paris Salon of 1995. He has been constantly updated. Since the first improvements in the treatment of chassis to prevent corrosion (Lotus offered to Esprit with a 3 year warranty for the car and 8 for the chassis), from the first 160 horses and the first model turbo until improvements introduced by Esprit SE 264 hp, considerably raising the luxury on board. Now it was time to take a new step ... a new final step that leaves us with the last Esprit to set foot on the streets.
Presented at the Geneva Motor Show in 1996, sharing room with the Lamborghini Diablo SVR, a devil who was still in the middle of his life having succeeded in 1990 to Lamborghini Countach, while Ferrari had in its catalog with the F355, with 550 with F50 and Porsche lucia and a new generation with 993, 993 Turbo with 400 horsepower, further stretched Lotus Esprit life.
- Motor Twin-Turbo V8 3.5
- Total power 355 hp
- maximum torque 400 Nm
- 0 to 100 km / h 4.9 seconds
Maximum speed 282 km / h
Rating: 4 Star / sPositive points
- Care needs according to their status supercar
Two decades behind now faced with a new mechanic. With a Twin-Turbo V8, V8 Lotus Espirt rose to 355 horses, with a top speed of 282 km / h. Luxury and performance and reached a new dimension with this release. The Esprit in 1996 reached the highest status supercar entire existence. I would not have clean lines, those original straight paths ... but we can not doubt a second of his appearance, his passion, that desire to face the Italians, Porsche, from UK, from within a small firm .
The V8 3.5 liter, made of aluminum, reached 355 horses at 6,500 rpm, setting a 0 to 100 km / h in 4.9 seconds, 0 to 160 km / h in 10.3 seconds, with a pair of 400 Nm to 4250 rpm. Its urban consumption was 20 l / 100 km, combined cycle marking 13.3 l / 100 km. RWD course, following faithful to the 5-speed manual transmission. If once the first Esprit had 14-inch wheels now in 1996 and he displayed 17 inches in the front and in the back 18 signed by OZ, with Dunlop SP Sport 9000 standard on the axis measures 235/40 front and 285/35 at the rear. Brakes, Brembo signed with a front and a rear 296 mm 300 mm disc.
4369 mm long, 1883 mm wide without mirrors, a height of 1,150 mm, a height of 105 mm down and weighing 1380 kg. Inside the wood instrumentation Ciera plagued watches perfectly with the upholstery in Alcantara or leather. The "multimedia" computer was in the hands of a stereo with CD changer.
Sales then exceeded 300 units per year, but gradually fell to 200, for paasar prowling the 100 units in 2001 and finished recording 16 units sold in 2004, when I ceased production of the Esprit, an Esprit which did not have any improvement from 99.
In total 10,675 Lotus Esprit since 1976 the first units begin to occur. 10,675 units of an icon for the brand, at the height of Seven. At the height of Elise. Luxury and performance with a long life. Ticking away not a few generations of the Porsche 911, watching the Countach the Devil, F50 and F40 to even the Enzo. Watching from the Ferrari 308 to end 360 while evolution evolution, "facelift facelift" even sharing designer himself McLaren F1, designed with Giugiaro pencil ... an icon for this our passion.
Lotus Esprit Concept: In 2010 returned to dream
Life as model production ceased in 2004. With sales uninterrupted since 1976. But there was one more episode in the history of Esprit: conceptual back at the Paris Motor Show 2010.
After a modern line, with a nice design, mid-engine supercar with a V8 supercharged 5-liter presented. 620 horses and 720 Nm of torque to 1,450 Kg that well earned him this reborn Esprit to dial a 0 to 100 km / h in 3.4 seconds, reaching a top speed of 330 km / h, and resorting to an automatic transmission 7 speeds, and then be spoken of a possible hybrid version.
With a then estimated at 128,000 euros price was presented in a spectacular display of renewal with a new Elan, a new Elite and new Elise ... that like the Esprit have not come today to fruition. A new era in which even Mansory was named division for customizing the range.
2011, 2012 and 2013 have not exactly been good for Lotus years. Debts that plunged the brand, investments that stood for months, a CEO, Dany Bahar, who was stopped in 2012 (three years after his arrival from Ferrari) "for his conduct" and a lot of ups and downs today are not be settled. Lotus in May received a public investment of 10 million pounds. In August, another investment, in this case 100 million pounds of DRB-Hicom part, owned Malaysian company Proton made us regain hope. 100 new jobs and improved sales figures make us dream of a new platform in the brand and its own new mechanics ... but also make us dream of the Lotus that in 2010 we dazzled everyone with a renewed completely range ... with a new Lotus Esprit.
Beyond automotive icon: movie star
Esprit is an icon for British motorsport. For world motorsports. It is one of the highest rungs made by Lotus. The most perfect example of how sports should be a British central engine 70 and 80. But the Lotus Esprit was beyond. It was beyond the dreams of motor racing fans, the trading cards of children, beyond the asphalt streets and roads to sneak into the movies ... and the largest door imaginable for a British car James Bond.
The Lotus Esprit can hang the medal "car 007" and can do so in front of an Aston Martin has also sported by 007 hand DB5, the V8 Vantage or DBS ... but not as we did in 1977, Lotus Esprit in "the spy who loved me" who does not remember that white Lotus Esprit underwater diving with Roger Moore behind the wheel?
In addition amphibious model of "The Spy Who Loved Me", fully operational, created by a Florida company after an outlay of $ 100,000 and currently under auction, the Lotus Esprit again repeated with the agent "Secret Service of His Majesty "yes, this time, using the Lotus Esprit Turbo. Gone was the Lotus Esprit amphibious white, now, in 1981, it was his turn to Esprit supercharged wore a ski rack orange hue on its back for the film "For Your Eyes Only", again, with Roger Moore as protagonist .
But the story of the Lotus Esprit to the big screen does not end only with 007. Not content with being the partner 4-wheel James Bond in two films also exerted mounting for Richard Gere in Pretty Woman, this time as a model more modern than the 007 employed by a Lotus Esprit SE presented in 1989, a year before the film was released.