Esprit Safety - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-16-2010, 08:57 AM Thread Starter
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Esprit Safety

How safe is the Lotus Esprit in terms of crash safety? I tried to look online and didn't find any data and would appreciate knowledgeable folk's input.

This question came about during a conversation I had regarding the Esprit's dated chassis design. I thought all cars have to go through Highway Safety's crash testing but for some reason I can't find the data on 02+ Esprit.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-16-2010, 12:20 PM
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I remember reading about the crash testing Lotus did with the G-Esprits and the cars were incredibly safe. In frontal collisions the large bumpers combined with the spare tire, the fiberglass nose structure, and the front end of the backbone frame of the car absorbed an incredible amount impact force without damage or penetration into the cabin. In a rear collision, the rear acted similarly and absorbed a lot of impact force with the plywood firewall stopping any intrusion into the cabin by the drive train. I'm assuming the lack of crash data on the newer Esprits is due to Lotus applying these old crash tests to the newer cars using some sort of grandfather clause. I'm sure Lotus is not fond of the expense of crash testing their cars if they can find a way around it.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-16-2010, 12:49 PM
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Passing the crash testing was always a problem area for Lotus. I believe towards the end of the Esprit porduction they asked for and received waivers but it was a temporary solution. Eventually they had to either pass the tests or stop selling the Esprit in the US. As for how safe the car is, is largely dependant on what and how you hit something. In the US with all of the large SUV's and and heavy trucks on the road it is probably less safe than in other countries. Since the biggest variable in safety is the driver, if you want to make the car safer take a high speed driving course. That and take care of the car, check the tires, brakes, lights, etc. Always use your seat belt and make sure the air bag system is functioning. The '99 Esprit I bought was in a serious front end accident and the driver was not severly injured. I can't be sure he was wearing his seat belt but the air bags deployed. His right foot may have been injured, the brake pedal went up into the dash. I would not recomend the Esprit as a daily driver or to be used in winter weather.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-16-2010, 12:56 PM
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Also bear in mind the shape of the car. Running into a wall or jersey barrier in a controlled test with acceptable damage to the driver cockpit is one thing.

In the real world, it is a wedge with the point of the wedge below the front/rear bumper of just about anything on the road, and at or below the side sills of many minivans, trucks and SUV's.

Hitting something from the side or behind with one of these cars will quickly wedge under it, and whatever you hit could very easily and quickly be sitting on top of the passenger compartment.

I owned a G bodied car and always felt both reasonably safe and highly vulnerable. I had (for some reason I don't recall) a could 'extra' door beams from the car, and remember thinking if tapped they'd probably be ok, but if I was hit in the side with any force at all, they'd bend in half pretty easily.

Lotus Esprit Crash Pictures
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-16-2010, 03:20 PM
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Probably safer than a Toyota!
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-16-2010, 10:47 PM Thread Starter
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i'm more concerned about side impact safety, as getting T-boned by an idiot driver is a real risk in So Cal.

Btw, if anyone has a late 00+ Esprit, would you mind PM me your contact info? I'm looking into purchasing a 00+ esprit and would greatly appreciate if I can contact you with some specific information. Many thanks in advance.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-18-2010, 03:07 PM
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The doors are extremely strong and there's a large aluminum beam in the middle of them. You'd have to get a pretty serious side impact to see any intrusions into the interior.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-04-2010, 03:30 PM
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The waiver(s) that the later Esprits had to get in the U.S. were for trivial things. One of them was for insufficient padding thickness in the roof (something to that effect). I think there was another, for something equally "insignificant". There wasn't anything about the waiver directly related to the car structure, safety cell, crumple zone, etc.

I'd be less concerned about getting T-boned in an Esprit than in an everyday compact car. It seems more likely that the entire Esprit will get "punted" in an accident with less intrusion into the cabin, as opposed to the car being moved less but having more intrusion occur. The Esprit's "safety cell" (door beams, Z-beam under dash, and marine bulkhead) is simple, but effective. But no matter the car, I say my prayers!
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-04-2010, 06:48 PM
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I have a 2003, and still have a safety caution sticker high up on the windshield. I left it there because it makes me laugh.
Kind of "The Red Badge of Courage".
My guess is that one of the exemptions for the Esprit relates to its severe "tumblehome" angle, making it more prone to head strikes in a side impact scenario.
If it's not snowing or icy, I see no reason not to drive the Esprit in winter, even with hi-po summer tires. This winter, I've driven either one or the other of my Esprits everyday it hasn't rained here in Seattle (which is quite a bit of driving, actually).
The Esprits, particularly the V8 are my preferred daily drivers.
Needless to say that if you buy an Esprit, you ARE a better and more vigilant driver than average, and you shouldn't expect to be in an accident-- at all, right?
With all due respect, if you're one of those people that knows or assumes that you WILL be in an accident sooner or later, and don't want to come out second best, maybe a small sports car is not what you want.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-05-2010, 07:06 AM
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The occupants in an Esprit are relatively well protected from intrusion. The passenger compartment is girdled with a metal cage. Under the dash is a front beam from "A" pillar to "A" pillar. The doors have a large aluminum beam front to back from the hinges to the lock. Across the rear is another steel beam connecting the door lock pins. In a Tee-bone type accident there is some level of protection. If it is VERY serious, high speed accident, the occupant on that side may be severly injured, there is not much extra room to move over into. The center console isn't going to give and there are no side air bags. If you wind up wrapped around a tree or a light pole you are going to get hurt.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-10-2010, 01:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pchop View Post
How safe is the Lotus Esprit in terms of crash safety?
Why? Are you planning on crashing?




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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-10-2010, 04:48 AM Thread Starter
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Why? Are you planning on crashing?



no, but since i've been on the west coast, i've seen valley girls yapping away on the cell while crossing five lanes of traffic on the 101 and jump the median to get off at an exit.

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-10-2010, 04:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Gixxer View Post
My guess is that one of the exemptions for the Esprit relates to its severe "tumblehome" angle, making it more prone to head strikes in a side impact scenario.
From my knowledge of the Esprit from selling, driving and discussing them with the factory, this is the only issue.
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