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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently sold my Elise and realize already that I miss it! Rather than buy another Elise, I have been thinking that I have always loved the Esprit and for the amount that I drove the Elise, the Esprit makes sense (less than 2,000 miles a year).

I've been doing research on what to look for and the different years/models and overall what to expect with the car.

One thing I will have a hard time figuring out is the difference in feel between the 4 cylinder and the V8. There simply aren't that many for sale that I can easily test drive both types without traveling out of town.

  • I will not track the car and basically will only drive it on nice weekends
  • Is the V8 worth the extra money?
  • I love the sound of the V8 but it is that much better than the 4?


Can someone who has driven both do a little compare and contrast for me? If there is not a large difference then I will focus on finding a car with the best service records.

Here is a link for both a V8 and 4.

eBay Motors: Lotus : Esprit (item 270346741509 end time Feb-25-09 13:44:52 PST)

1994 Lotus Esprit Turbo S4 For Sale
 

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V8's certainly worth the extra money. While it doesn't sound amazing, it does have a fairly unique note, and it's certainly better than the four banger.

The V8, especially the later years (00+), is the better driving car, especially with the AP brakes. They're also quite a bit more "drivable" without having to rev the nuts off it to get it going quick.
 

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As I read this post, I can't help but feel very awkward that you linked to the exact same cars that I found myself looking at recently. My opinion.. well, I'd go for the V8's if I could, but financial reasons keep me aimed more for these.
 

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As I read this post, I can't help but feel very awkward that you linked to the exact same cars that I found myself looking at recently. My opinion.. well, I'd go for the V8's if I could, but financial reasons keep me aimed more for these.
I am picking up my "new" 03 Esprit this coming Saturday.:panic:
 

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As I read this post, I can't help but feel very awkward that you linked to the exact same cars that I found myself looking at recently. My opinion.. well, I'd go for the V8's if I could, but financial reasons keep me aimed more for these.
There is also a yellow S4 for sale in your neck of the woods. It was advertised on Lotus cars for sale on this forum later last year. The car is still available as far as I know. pm me and I will look for the pics the owner sent to me just a couple of weeks ago and forward them to you with his contact email.
 

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As with any Lotus, the final ones are the most reliable. So for a 4cyl, the S4S would be the best. For a V8, the 02+ seem to be the better cars with Final Editions being the best. Early V8's (97-00?) have been know for cyl liner failures. Lotus switched to a different sealant in the later years.

0-60 is very close between the 4cyl and the V8 due to the V8 making almost no boost in first gear (both stock and High Torque/S350 ECU's). Over 60mph, the V8 is loads faster eventhough the 4cyl may feel faster due to the laggy hard-hitting turbo.

Some purists say the S4/S4S are the most balanced Esprits;they may be. I say a well running V8 is a monster that demands respect and is very rewarding. So I think it is worth the money. Speaking of money, I would be very cautious of a cheap V8. A well sorted V8 sould be at least in the mid to high30's.
 

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V8's certainly worth the extra money. While it doesn't sound amazing, it does have a fairly unique note, and it's certainly better than the four banger.
'Better' based on what criteria?

The V8 out of the box was actually slower than the 4 cylinder to 60 by .2 seconds. As for the V8 being faster over 60 (waaaaay over 60 :) the 4 cylinder's turbo can actually start to impede the flow of air a bit on the big end because it doesn't flow enough. (I fixed mine with a new T3/T4 hybrid - it pulls as hard at 140 now as it does at 40). How fast do you plan on driving your car?

With the V8 you get a whole bunch of extra weight that eats up most of the extra power the four extra pistons buy you. When you want to start modding it to make up for it's girth - you get to spend twice the money than you would on a 4 cylinder because you've four more pistons to feed (turbos, plugs, wires, injectors etc). The V8's clutch also costs $4000 to replace.

Granted I like the V8's interior better, I dislike the replacement of actual gauges by dummy lights - especially in a car as expensive to repair as the Esprit if something goes wrong.

The 1995 S4 and S4s have the V8's brakes (without all the V8's weight), power steering, doors that open wider than earlier models and R134a A/C systems.

Again, the V8 is great (I think all Esprits have their merits) but for me the only real advantage is the interior and exterior styling changes - maybe. If that's worth the massive premium to you, go for it.

The only real downside to a 4 cylinder is finding one worth owning. They got cheap fast and a lot of the wrong people got their hands on them.

No matter which one you buy - make sure the very first thing you do is have the timing belt(s) changed by somebody who's got the right tools and knows what they're doing.
 

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as mentioned above, all Esprits have their merrit.

but the one you want (if you can find one) is an S4s.

this has the highest spec engine, best factory performance, and all the nice stuff basically fitted to the V8. its still an older model so has the old interior, but is definately the pick of the bunch.

also its not particularly difficult to get the 4cyl car having an additional 50 or 100 hp if you want it.

honestly, keep an eye out for a clean S4s, thats the one to buy and the one to keep.

the V8 although great as well was not as bulletproof (if thats a relative term in terms of an Esprit), i know some guys who have had serious headaches from the V8.
 

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Nice find! I may have to look at the red one myself :D Beautiful cars, I agree the V8 is underpriced, perhaps theres a reason, or perhaps its just a great deal. Im doing research also, and from what Ive learned so far, more 4cyl owners swear by them, as long as their well maintained of course.
The overall impression Im getting from the V8s are that they are a little 'tempermental.' For your purposes though I think a well maintained V8 would be just fine. The question is if the extra $10 - $20k is worth it to you? As stated above, the extra money into a 4cyl car can easily match a v8 performance wise, not sure about handling wise. I think you would benefit from some engine weight savings as well. Ive driven an SE, but unfortunately not a V8 to note any differences with.
 

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A few years ago I was in a similar position and found that a 1995 S4s was the best car for me. However, I'd certainly put the 2002 and newer V8 models ahead of it. The S4s has the same interior, body style, brakes, and wheels as the early V8 cars without some of the reliability issues associated with the early V8's. However, all of these items were improved with the later V8 models. The interior was made much better, they switched to AP brakes, the body was facelifted and looks more modern. When I was looking, the 03 and 04 cars were still pretty new and demanded over $60k. The S4s was about half that and they seem to have held their value much better as well.
 

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So if the question is if the V8 is worth the extra money? I would say: yes it is!!

My first Esprit was a 92 SE, the second a 93 SE. Both are still with me.
Then i got a offer for a S4. I had that car for 6 month, then sold it to a friend
and picked up a S4S. These cars were superb, i had a lot of fun with them.
In 2004 i got a offer for a V8 and traded the S4S in. I now drive the V8 since 2004.
Never was on track with any of my esprits and eyery service is done by an expert.
I actually drive every esprit about 2500km a year. Great fun!


If i had to choose now i would go for a S300 (if you can find one) or a V8.
A well running V8 is a great car, as gmendoza said: a monster :clap:
i would never sell mine :)
Check that the cars are well looked after. A well maintained car will give you a
lot of fun and driving experience.


Dragi
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for all the input so far!

From hearing both sides, one thing that seems to clear is to focus on finding one with the best history.

I've been reading on the esprit fact file website so I guess a long search in the right car is next!
 

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'Better' based on what criteria?
As applies to the part of my comment you quoted, I was referring to the engine note. The four banger sounds like crap. It's a fine engine, and a fine car, and this is all entirely in the eye (ear?) of the beholder, but I've never met a 4-cylinder car I liked the sound of.

The 1995 S4 and S4s have the V8's brakes
My understanding is they got the early V8's Brembo brakes, which in my opinion anyway, are pretty far from good. The 00+ V8's got AP brakes, which are very, very good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I was actually planning to drive over and give that one a quick look over some point soon. It's only 30 minutes from me. Just a matter of when I get the free time to do so.

If it is in great shape and has a good history are you going to buy it? haha- this doesn't help me! rotfl
 

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If it is in great shape and has a good history are you going to buy it? haha- this doesn't help me! rotfl
In all honesty, I'd prefer a red one. That, and I've not educated myself enough to buy one yet. But it doesn't hurt to look, y'know? Personally, if it keeps your hands off the red ones, I'd more then happily stop by. :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
In all honesty, I'd prefer a red one. That, and I've not educated myself enough to buy one yet. But it doesn't hurt to look, y'know? Personally, if it keeps your hands off the red ones, I'd more then happily stop by. :p
haha- i prefer black so i think we're good!

i know its far from you but the red one that i had a link to in the original post looks good.
 

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haha- i prefer black so i think we're good!

i know its far from you but the red one that i had a link to in the original post looks good.
All things considered, Long Island New York is pretty damn close to Philadelphia when you consider some of the other ones for sale at the moment are showing in Denver, Nevada, and California.
 

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Does anyone happen to live near Philly? It would be great to have someone check this car out for me. The price seems a little low but not so low that I am scared off:

eBay Motors: Lotus : Esprit (item 270346741509 end time Feb-25-09 13:44:52 PST)
If you want a professional Pre-purchase inspection, have Don Butler of Union Jack Exotics check it out for you.

dlbutler AT zoominternet.net
302-559-9374


I always recommend UJE for Lotus cars in the MD -DE-Philly area. :cool:
 
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