LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community - Reply to Topic
Thread: Newbie Help Discussion Reply to Thread
Send Trackbacks to (Separate multiple URLs with spaces) :
Post Icons
You may choose an icon for your message from the following list:

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


  Additional Options
Miscellaneous Options

  Topic Review (Newest First)
07-14-2019 10:36 AM
EYERACE Esprit2, thank you very much for that update.
Here's the rough stats for a Formula Ford.......and what the heck, a few other notes for the fun of it........car and driver combined would be right around 1,100 pounds, an extremely well built National engine would top at 117 horses. not only can such a combination give you, with the right gears / rake and aero, maybe near 145 MPH but the car has no wings and with the right tires and suspension settings, well over 1.1 Gs in a corner
Perhaps some of what you've listed could be better a better power to weight ratio than my '97 V8 with me in it [me = 165 lbs.]. At the moment my quackulator is nonfunctioning....and I simply do the math to simple decimals not by labeled tons stuff....so I guess I haven't looked at your numbers closely enough but it's cool that you reworked the post
07-14-2019 03:39 AM
Originally Posted by Erik L View Post
@Bill99 Where did you go? You are missing out on all the fun!
Probably neglected to check the "notify me of responses via email' when he registered on the Forum...
07-13-2019 07:07 PM
Originally Posted by EYERACE View Post
Not going to bother with the math on 4s or turbo 4s.. .but I know the math that follows.... power to weight ratio.... (Snip)...
Haven't heard anyone yet ask....uh, is that a 4?
Go back to message #7. I updated the list with Bhp/Ton. Note that the strongest car on the list, in terms of BHP/Ton, is the 1598cc Europa Type 47. And yes, some were sold for the street. A fellow near me drove one on the street. Yeah, I know, it's not an Esprit, I'm just distracted.

> uh, is that a 4?

Unfortunately, there are times when the Turbo-4 sounds very much like a 4... especially just after start-up, or maneuvering around in the underground car park. A 'honking' vacuum pump doesn't help give it a manly sound. It sounds like a 'strong' 4 under full throttle, but a 4 none the less. The V8 is never mistaken for a 4-cyl.

Tim Engel
07-13-2019 05:12 PM
EYERACE Not going to bother with the math on 4s or turbo 4s.. .but I know the math that follows.... power to weight ratio....Formula Ford.....a seriously fun car on track.....a V8 Esprit....more aggressive number and street legal with air conditioning...my Formula Continental....a little better yet...so the other thing that's coming is get some coaching at a track. Sure! Good idea no matter what. So one other idea....do the math as power to weight ratio 4s and turbo 4s.....why not?....you're still thinking. Haven't heard anyone yet ask....uh, is that a 4?
07-13-2019 04:28 PM
Erik L @Bill99 Where did you go? You are missing out on all the fun!
07-13-2019 03:42 PM
Originally Posted by EYERACE View Post
is that the V8 ?
Either that, or, "Lotus... who makes that?" Whenever you hear that, don't plan on having an intelligent conversation.

I've told this story before, but I think it applies here:
A friend used to own a 1988 Federal Turbo... which is basically an '87 Bosch G-Turbo with a Steven's body wrapped around it. We were at Brainerd International Raceway for a track day, and I was riding shotgun. He's an excellent driver. We'd been out for a few laps and were about 3/4 of the way down the nearly 1 mile front straight, talking in normal voices (no need to yell), when he blurts out, "I gotta sell this car!" I said, "WHAT?"

He goes on to say it's just not exciting. He'd driven somebody's hot Mustang earlier in the morning. It accelerated like a dragster, but you had to brake really hard going into corners because it didn't corner for beans. He darn near killed himself six times during the first lap. Lap times were embarrassingly slow, but he was really excited... pumped up on adrenaline and the fear of God.

"But here we are, having a normal conversation on the front straight, no sense of excitement, and I've got no sense of speed until I look out and notice that all the other cars are going backwards". True, everybody else was going backwards. The Esprit is just a fast A to B car that does it very competentlly, with no sense of drama, like that's normal. "We're entering turn one at 125 mph, and I don't even have to stop talking to concentrate. The Mustang was 'white knuckles' all the way".

Esprits are that way (Lotus in general). If you want to scare yourself, buy something else. An early G-Turbo (G-Turbo = Giugiaro styled body / S-Turbo = Stevens body), doesn't have the big horspower of a V8. The '88 has what... 228 hp? But as an A to B car, it really rewards someone who knows how to drive, and that can be much more fun than just planting your right foot on the floor. The best way to have fun with an Esprit is to take high-performance driving lessons... learn how to use the performance the car has. In which case, I think the early Turbo Esprits are a delight to "drive".

The SE/ S4/ S4s Esprits picked up progressively more power. But the steering also became more 'heavy' with less feedback, the gearshift is mushy, and the car feels noticeably more massive. Still great compared to other cars on the road, just not as responsive as the earlier, lighter Esprits, and measured by the 'Lotus' yardstick. The V8 continues that trend, it just over-powers it all with brute force. Great fun and entertaining in it's own way, but it's a POWER way, lacking the finess of the early cars. So what trips your trigger?

The V8 is easy to drive in a straight line, just put your foot down and every cop in a one mile radius will know what you're up to. The Pre-1986 G-turbo is less obvious/ more subtle, but on a tight, twisty road it will get from A to B in about the same time as the V8. But you will have 'worked' for it, and the car will have attracted less of the wrong type of attention. I really enjoy 'working for it".

Another LOON-friend is an instructor at the Brainerd High Performance Driving School... you should spend some time with him. Sometime during every track day/ school day, he always gets a few laps of "me" time. He has several Lotus from an Esprit S1 and Elise on the lower power end of the scale, up to an Esprit V8. The choice of car that he drives to the track varies... they all offer fun in their own ways. But the Elise is one of his favorites. After a day of instructing guys with fast cars who clearly don't know how to drive, he hops in the Elise and burns off a few hot laps... obliterating their lap times. When he rolls into the paddock, a crowd gathers around, and the comments start. "Wow, that's a fast car, what did you do to it, race suspension, did you supercharge it..." 5 minutes of questions without taking a breath. "Nope, just a bone stock 4-cylinder", and he walks off. You can hear all the egos deflating.

If you buy the V8, definitely take lessons and learn how to drive it. The power is actually embarrassing if you don't know how to use it (don't drive a V8 and be at the back of the pack everywhere but on the straights).

If you buy an early G-Turbo, also take lessons. But to learn how to manage momentum and go fast without relying on brute horsepower. Focus on the chassis and handling first, not on the engine and power. Then go out and deflate a few egos.

One more friend story. Rob bought an '88 "light project" car way too many years ago, then life got in the way and turned it into a long term project. In the meantime, he's been a long time fan of 240Zs, and has a very nicely restored example of which he's quite proud. We had recently helped yet another '88-owner rebuild his Citroen transaxle. As a gesture of gratitude, he threw us the keys and told us to take it for a ride. County Rd 101 south out of Chanhassen is always a fun drive, and since Rob had never driven an Esprit, he got the keys. We're well down 101, getting into the good twisty parts... I turned to look at Rob, and he's got this big "Okay, I get it, now" grin on his face... ya had to see it. He looked back and said, "Ohhh, that Z is such a TRUCK !!"

That short statement pretty much defines an Esprit (any Lotus). After that (G-Turbo, SE, V8...) you're just splitting Lotus hairs. One Esprit might be better than another Esprit in some specialty way, but no other car on the road is in the conversation.

Tim Engel
07-13-2019 10:02 AM
EYERACE Example: think about whatever Dodge "hot car" is being discussed / looked at ......the question will invariably eventually be >
"has it got a hemi?"
remember not too many people know virtually anything about Lotus - self included - but when it comes to Esprits the question among those who at least know a little will be...…


…………………they'll look at your car and ask...…….

……….is that the V8 ?
07-12-2019 01:06 PM
carbuff Colin, need I remind you that even with a cup holder, the Esprit's cornering is so good any liquid will slosh out?

Yep, "Try before you buy"

A local M100 owner was uncomfortable in my Esprit.

My oldest Grandson is now 6'-4" and 230 pounds, so he has ceased to ask me to will the Esprit to him.
07-12-2019 10:59 AM
esprit888 The one that hasn't been mentioned so far is you. It gets talked about a lot but your physical size and shape can make the difference between a comfortable drive and a slouched back damaging knee hitting steering wheel clutch and brake at the same time arm wrestling chore. The earlier cars, 78 to 84, were always a challenge for me (6 foot, 225 size 12's) but because i loved the marque i 'suffered' through them. Esprit number 5 for me was an 88 Anniversary edition which felt more roomy and the seats had better adjustment, but still i didn't really 'fit'. After several 88's, 90 and 91 SE's Esprit number 14 was a 94 S4 and i felt i was born again. Ingress/Egress was vastly improved with wider door openings, more room in the pedal box, more seat adjustments and the best of all was the power 'assisted' steering. I could drive for long distances comfortably and enjoyed the experience way more than previous long trips. I'm now on Esprit number 16 which is an 01 V8, again more refinements and the updated instrument pod make it feel a lot more like a modern car with added comforts (still no cup holder though ) There are several mods you can make to give you more comfort (remove seats rails, remove seat bottom additional pad, install glass roof, install D shaped steering wheel etc) but the bottom line is you and your shape. It is said that the Esprit was designed by Colin Chapman for Colin Chapman and that he was long in the body hence the awkward driving position. You seldom hear of a vertically challenged owner complaining about the leg room or the roof height, but they do have an issue with the Long seat back and pedal box if feet are over 11. I'm sure others will chime in but really there is no substitute for sitting in various models and if possible driving them.
07-12-2019 10:27 AM
Originally Posted by Bill99 View Post
I am first considering the V8 and second the S3 Turbo.
Not to put too fine of an edge on this thread, but there was a Type 85 Esprit S3 with a naturally aspirated 912 engine. Then there was the Type 82 Turbo Esprit with the 910 engine. But there was no "S3 Turbo". I know... picking nits.

Have you ever driven an early Lotus? Seven/ Elite/ Elan... a Europa would be the most Esprit-like, since both are mid-engined. All the early Lotus models were very light weight (my Europa is about 1400 lbs), and there was a 'Delicate Lightness of Being' associated with driving them. Then government mandated standards stepped in, and 1974-onward Lotus cars became far heavier... and kept getting heavier, until the Elise.

If you have ever driven an early Lotus, then you can appreciate the importance of lightness, and the impact of weight.

The Esprit is one of the 3rd Generation cars, one of the heavy generation. And it continued to gain weight with each new model. On the other hand, it also picked up more creature comforts, build quality, A/C, bells & whistles, and POWER.

One philosophy is to buy an early Turbo to get a lighter weight car with lighter controls with crisp handling & feedback; another philosophy is to buy the newest car you can afford since it will be more developed and have fewer problems, offer more comfort & luxury, and then just rely on the greater power for performance.

That's not meant to take anything away from the later Esprits. By any standards, they are marvelous cars that are arguably better handling than the competition of their day. But finesse your way into a back-to-back drive in an early G-Turbo, and a late V8. Not on the freeway... find some nice twisty roads. Both cars will impress, but in different ways. Then choose the one 'you' prefer. Asking for opinions is like asking others to tell you which woman you should marry. Some decisions you need to make on your own.

The V8's power is impressive, and it's easy to use... it launches when you mash down on the throttle pedal. By comparison, the early G-Turbo doesn't have the over-whelming power, but it's steering is light, nimble, with crisp feedback. In the twisty bits, tell it to go there, and it's there before you finish the thought. It's quick from point A to B, but you need to 'work' for it... while in the V8 you just step on the pedal and jump to light speed.

If you like the twistie bits, then you cannot ignore the effects of mass in a corner. If you don't have to slow down going into a corner, then it doesn't matter how quickly you accelerate coming out of the corner.

560 kg (1235 lbs), 185 bhp, 299.6 Bhp/Ton -- Europa Type 47 <<<<<<<<< Highest Bhp/Ton on this list.
612 kg (1350 lbs), 80 bhp, 118.5 Bhp/Ton -- Europa Type 46 S1 << Bhp/Ton similar to Euro Esprit S1
900 kg (1984 lbs), 160 bhp, 161.3 Bhp/Ton -- UK Esprit S1
913 kg (2013 lbs), 160 bhp, 159.9 Bhp/Ton -- Euro/ROW Esprit S1
1052 kg (2320 lbs), 140 hp, 120.7 Bhp/Ton -- Esprit S1, USA/ North American
1022 kg (2248 lbs), 160 hp, 142.3 Bhp/Ton -- Esprit S2, base (no A/C, no leather, etc)
1100 kg (2425 lbs), 160 hp, 131.9 Bhp/Ton -- S3 Esprit, pre-1985 (naturally aspirated)
1130 kg (2492 lbs), 180 hp, 144.5 Bhp/Ton -- S3 Esprit, 1985-Onward (naturally aspirated)
1148 kg (2531 lbs), 210 hp, 165.9 Bhp/Ton -- 1980 Essex Turbo Esprit, Dry Sump
1200 kg (2645 lbs), 215 hp, 162.6 Bhp/Ton -- Turbo Esprit, Pre-1986 USA carburetted
1225 kg (2701 lbs), 228 hp, 168.8 Bhp/Ton -- Turbo Esprit HCi, 1986-Onward USA Bosch Inj'd.
1305 kg (2871 lbs), 264 hp, 186.9 Bhp/Ton -- Esprit SE
1166 kg (2571 lbs), 300 hp, 233.4 Bhp/Ton -- Esprit X180R
1339 kg (2866 lbs), 280 hp, 195.4 Bhp/Ton -- Esprit S4
1339 kg (2952 lbs), 300 hp, 203.2 Bhp/Ton -- Esprit S4s
1229 kg (2709 lbs), 240 hp, 177.2 Bhp/Ton -- Esprit GT3 2.0 Litre turbo
1325 kg (2919 lbs), 350 hp, 239.8 Bhp/Ton -- Esprit V8 GT
1380 kg (3043 lbs), 350 hp, 230.0 Bhp/Ton -- Esprit V8 SE and Federal Esprit V8

There's a 180 kg (398 lbs) difference in weight between the two cars you are considering. If your first thought is, "So what?", then buy the V8.

Tim Engel
07-10-2019 04:31 PM
jtrealty The single most important thing is condition. Always buy the car in the best condition you can. What that means is a low mileage, well cared for 4 cyl is a better choice than a cheap, high mileage, beat up V-8. That said the V-8 is the more desirable because it will be newer, more refined, and have the most features. It will also be more expensive and harder to work on. An example, a clutch for a 4-cyl is maybe $1200, the V-8 over $3K. Before you plunk down hard cash get a PPI (Pre Purchase Inspection). It will be the best investment you can make. Hook up with your local Lotus owners and figure out where you will take the car for service. Don't rush to buy and don't limit your search geographically. Because there are not many for sale you should not look around just locally. Check with Lotus dealers too.
David Teitelbaum
07-10-2019 02:52 PM
Erik L Buying an Esprit

Some good background here
07-10-2019 09:15 AM
carbuff Where are our manners?

@Bill99 : WELCOME!
07-10-2019 05:24 AM
Erik L I have not owned a V8 and I am pretty new to the 4 cyl, I am an avid DIY guy on a budget and the 4cyl turbo is a good fit.

Curious, why not an S4 turbo (1993-1995 4 cyl turbo)?

Perhaps clarify what years you are looking at. Seems odd to skip over the S4 cars? is it the ABS?

As mentioned above - where are you located? Europe?
07-09-2019 11:09 PM
sleekgt Welcome - you'll find extensive information here (although the search capability is a bit difficult to pull up specific details).

Disclaimer - I've only owned 4 cylinder Esprits (87 Turbo Esprit and 88 Esprit Turbo - you'll note the slight difference in name - it does matter in some discussions).
The 'S3 Turbo' you mention - technically, the 'Turbo Esprit' 80-87 (USA) Giugiaro body is 'Type 82' while the 'Esprit S3' (non-Turbo) is Type 85. But technically 'S3 Turbo' is incorrect and confusing to some Euro folks.
The S3 (non-Turbo) was available in the USA primarily through gray market and extremely rare (I've only know of 2 in California). S3 Esprits are relatively common in UK and other parts of Europe.

The V8 (1996-2004) in USA - that's the 'Stevens' Esprit - the body was updated from the Giugiaro Esprit (1976-1987 USA). In Europe the 87 Esprit can be a Stevens Esprit body style and apparently Giugiaro.

I recommend - to focus answers about your Esprit search (I noticed you joined in Nov 2017 and are now looking to purchase).

1. Where do you live? (USA Europe, Asia, etc have different choices)
2. Are you planning to do the maintenance work yourself? (if not, you definitely need to locate a mechanic as the youngest Esprit is 2004 - 15 years old - Service maintenance is key to a positive Esprit experience)
3. Are you planning to drive it daily or weekend use only?
4. What is your budget?

By most accounts, the V8 is more expensive to maintain (2x the timing belts) but is also more modern features (power steering, updated interior, 350HP vs. 265HP for 4cyl SE).
The 4cyl cars are somewhat less expensive to purchase and maintain, but if you gotta have a V8, well, there you go.

Click on my 'garage' to see the history of maintenance for my late 88 Esprit (50K miles in 49 months on my watch)and current 87 Esprit.
07-02-2019 12:45 PM
Newbie Help Discussion

I am sure that there are many opinions on this topic but I am new and decided to purchase and Esprit. I am considering an S3 or a V8. I have not yet read through the forum for discussion on this topic so please bear with me.

I am first considering the V8 and second the S3 Turbo. Can you help with the major pro and con for these two?

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome