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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yes that is a crazy wild set of cars. I currently have an 11 Jag XKR. For those that don't know it has 510hp and is a beast. I opened the exhaust, lowered it and put on some 3 piece Cor wheels.

But I have still been craving another stick. I've had 3 NSX's, several M Cars including Z3 M Coupe, Z4 M Coupe, M3 etc and also an Elise, Viper, C5 Z06, not to mention an Evo. So as you can see I love everything - if it is a fun pure driving experience I love it.

I have always loved Esprits but just dismissed them assuming maintenance was high. I have also wondered if they drive tight or feel cheap and loose. Can you guys that have owned or driven NSX and some of the cars I've listed give me some perspective on ownership. For example, while I love the 355 I'm probably more leery of fragility than Esprit!







 

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Esprit is OK - Now !

Not really, I have the Final Esprit version which is the best iteration of the Marque and having gad five of them now this is by far the most reliable and now bulletproof one available. I have had the Gearbox replaced with the UN1 GT Racing UK unit and had an new AP clutch and Quiafe LSD fitted while it was in there (as you know the Gearbox is really the Achilles heal of that car ). I also had the Lotus Exige airbag steering wheel fitted and it updated the look enormously.

In fact I may be selling my "20th from last" Esprit ever made shortly along with my Lambo ( 08' Gallardo Superleggera ) to allow me to get into the MCLaren MP4-12C convertible.

Earlier Esprit's had some issues for sure.

All the best

Jim G
 

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Y[snip]
I have always loved Esprits but just dismissed them assuming maintenance was high. I have also wondered if they drive tight or feel cheap and loose. [snip]For example, while I love the 355 I'm probably more leery of fragility than Esprit![snip]
I've never owned any of the other cars on your list, but have owned my Esprit for 2 years and daily-driven 25K miles in 25 months. See my 'garage' with full professional service history for those 2 years.

You can tell me if if the 355 is more fragile or not.

Disclaimer - my Esprit is only one data point and a daily-driven one at that - most Esprits are not daily driven.
 

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I have had a Viper, C5, 911, 355, I4 and V8 Esprit. My brother just traded in his '12 XKR, and I drove it plenty.

My favorite is the V8 Esprit. Least favorite was the 355. I prefer my XF Premium over the XKR. Go figure. In fact, he left the XKR at my house for a week, and before the end of the week of driving it was over, I was ready for it to leave.

Oh, you're in for a surprise with the 355 if you are worried about the cost of repairs and maintenance! Not even a fair comparison. You won't be able to sleep at night with the 355 in your garage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Flying Scottsman thanks for the perspective. Your car is a beauty. I have read nice things about reliability of the V8 including yours and Sleekgt. And I'm not so inclined to just follow the general consensus - heck people still think Jags are unreliable. Yet I've had no issues with my XKR in 2 years. I also had a Discovery I up to 180k and had no issues either. So I can get over the socalled reliability concerns.

G8nightman, why do you say I would not like it? I've owned another Lotus and other mid-engined cars... or - don't tell me. Are the resident cynic who takes vehemently protects the honor of the Esprit from shallow minded forum surfers who can't appreciate the purpose and aura of the Esprit? Just messing with you. But the curt response did make me wonder.

Flying Scottsman and Sleekgt what about the drive. They're not so easy to find you know ;-) How does the Exprit drive compared to your Gallardo, (yes I know they're from two different eras but my NSX's held their own in grin factor) and other cars?
 

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IMHO.. saying maintenance is high on Esprit is moot when comparing to some of the cars you have had...
 

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They are indeed different cars from different Era's.
The Esprit is actually easier to drive than the Paddle Gearbox on the 4 wheel drive which is a little heavy and seems to always want to track straight. The FE Esprit has the updated High Torque Chip from the factory which is really nice and the car has an amazing whoosh thing going as the turbo's do their thing. Honestly it is a blast to drive it and I find myself taking it over the Gallardo on many occasions. The exhaust ( on this one) has a Cat delete which makes the V8 burble and pop on deceleration and growl when you get on it. The car is really very fast and will scare you at times. Just a classic fun car to drive with no worries about the buggy bits any more. Handling is all Lotus. The wheel make the car feel much better than the old GM bus wheel that was on the Esprit's.
I know this sounds like an damn Ad for the car, but it's not.... this is what this car is and does so well. Its a fun car that turns heads and get tons of comments everywhere you take it.

The Lambo is a V10 ( different sound and feel ), but heavy Audi influence and 4 wheel drive is a little heavy as is the steering. I do love the raw and brutal gear change in sport mode with the paddle shift which seems to happen instantly. A manual gearbox would be an improvement on this one, but those are hard to find. The car is naturally aspirated so no turbos spooling to enjoy, just raw power. All in all a fun car also but very different to a Lotus.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Lotusespritse, it is quite a statement to say the V8 was your favorite out of those cars. I too like the steering of the newer XF's over my XKR. But the looks, sound, pull and exclusivity of the XKR have made it a fun car to own.

But nothing is like a mid-engined car. You even like the Esprit over your 911. Do they rattle like a bucket of parts or are they fairly tight? I hate feeling/hearing loose front suspensions or rattles everywhere. Doesn't have to be perfect but can't feel super cheap either.

Lastly should I shy away from a 98? There is a local one with 40k miles for like $28k. Or is it worth paying $12k more for a 2000 or so with fewer miles?
 

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Flying Scottsman and Sleekgt what about the drive. They're not so easy to find you know ;-) [snip]
I'm from the Mustang world so my experience will be skewed considerably from your experience.

The first Esprit I ever drove was a co-workers' 1978 Esprit S2 - felt like a friggin' oversize go kart (good thing) with fantastic steering and even great brakes.

The 88 Esprit Turbo seems also very communicative in the (non-power) steering. However, remember I was raised by a pack of Ponies (3 Mustangs) and numb power steering seemed OK until I bought the Esprit :crazyeyes

The handling and acceleration, by the numbers, is similar to my late 06 Mustang GT convertible. But it does feel more precise (the fiberglass removeable roof does squeak a bit- it IS a 25 year old car).

The 4 cyl engine at times feels like it's lugging a heavy car off-boost. But once it kicks it, it's a smooth progressive rush to redline. Compared to my V8 Mustang with 300 HP, the 4cyl @ 6-7K RPM feels definitely stronger.

I was offered a drive in a 2003 Final Edition Esprit, but graciously refused - I was worried if I drove the V8, I could never get back in my I4 Esprit again without missing that V8 power.

Lastly, I run at the OEM tire pressures of 21/25 front/rear with 15" wheels and 60 series BFG TAs - very nice handling (I'm pretty conservative however), but the ride is amazingly smooth for such a capable car. I've heard the V8 Esprits (with 17/18" tires and 40/35 series tires) can ride considerably harder, but I don't have first hand experience.
 

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Lotusespritse, it is quite a statement to say the V8 was your favorite out of those cars. I too like the steering of the newer XF's over my XKR. But the looks, sound, pull and exclusivity of the XKR have made it a fun car to own.

But nothing is like a mid-engined car. You even like the Esprit over your 911. Do they rattle like a bucket of parts or are they fairly tight? I hate feeling/hearing loose front suspensions or rattles everywhere. Doesn't have to be perfect but can't feel super cheap either.

Lastly should I shy away from a 98? There is a local one with 40k miles for like $28k. Or is it worth paying $12k more for a 2000 or so with fewer miles?
I don't think the later V8's are anywhere near $12 to $25k better cars. Very few differences. The liner scare issue is just a scare by the uniformed. That being said, you should be able to sell either car for close to what you bought it in a few years. The depreciation curve has flattened out, so they are pretty equal "investment" proposition. In other words, won't lose or make anything on resale value. Both the same on maintenance.
 

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As far as rattles, the V8 is a very stable car and the suspension is solid, not lose. The interior is prone to leather squeaks, but strategically placed felt solved that for me.
 

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I noticed that when I was looking at your Lotus my mouth was open. Good thing it's not summer, otherwise I'd be swallowing some flies.
Mr. EVOKING, after all those vehicles, is Maintenance on the LOTUS an Issue?
That is laughable.
 

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An interesting discussion.
Having driven the Jag XKR I found it nice, but ultimately not that interesting.
Best car I ever drove was the 458 Italia, near perfect!

Next favorite is my 89 Esprit SE with minor mods, not saying the car is perfect, but it is fun and visceral. I have driven several Esprits, and each one is a little different. I haven't had the pleasure of driving a V8 Esprit.

Other cars I have driven or owned include Porsche 928 S4(no like), several 911s which are ok but no where near a Lotus. i have not driven the latest 911 or the GT3 which i think i would like. Several Mustangs which I like but are just different than a mid engine. C6 same.

A Lamborghini LP Performante Spyder, which was cool looking, but didn't do much for me

Never drove the NSX, but I would like to.

Esprits can be very nice, and very solid, but can't be compared to cars of the last 5-10 years especially with the more modern transmissions and all the traction control systems. The latter make things fast and safer, but not more fun. My least favorite recent car was a BMW 135 convertible.

I desperately want to drive the Audi R8

My advice is to try a couple of Esprits. There is still something extra fun about a clutch.

Randy
 

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Not sure about the new XKRs, but my father had an XKR100....and it was not that interesting of a car to drive. I didn't like the driving position, either. The new XKs are great looking cars though.

In today's world of computer controlled everything and loads of power, the Esprit is a relic of days gone by.....even the FE Esprits.

To own an Esprit is about having the fastest car on the road. It is a unique head turner though. The funny thing is that most people under 40 don't know what an Esprit is though. Over 40....though.....they rubberneck hard!!!
 

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To own an Esprit is about having the fastest car on the road.
I don't feel that way. I wouldn't take on any street racers because mid to high 4's is nowhere near the fastest car on road today. You can be embarrassed by a wide range of factory hopped up 4 door family cars, and plenty of beefed up Camaro's, Vettes, and Mustangs. Never mind the expensive exotics of the day.

The Esprit is now about history and what it was like to own them when they were the hot ticket -- like owning any other classic 70's exotic from Italy or anywhere.

It's still a head turner, but people know it's old and outdated compared to the latest styling, even if it confuses them how old it is or who makes Lotus.

To the general public, Lotus brand has lost a lot of cache since the 90's because they no longer associate the marque as an exclusive and expensive Lambo or Ferrari competitor from big time movies with Sharon Stone or Julia Roberts. Now when you say you own a Lotus, they automatically think of the budget-friendly, cute little Miata-like boy-racer that is the Elise.

So don't buy the Esprit if you want to be the fastest or if you want to impress people by saying you own a Lotus. That used to be the case, but :(

Buy it because it floats your boat.
 

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they automatically think of the budget-friendly, cute little Miata-like boy-racer that is the Elise.
Oh come on, really, Miata like? The Elise is quick, extremely raw and wildly styled. You know, the exact things the Miata is not?

Not to mention, even if that is what the general public thinks of the Elise (which I really doubt), who cares? It is an unbelievably good car.
 

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Opinions - everyone's got one : )

Hey, LotusEspritSE as much as I try to respect everyone's opinion I think your comparison and perception of the brand are both out in left field.

I attend exotic car rallies and club events with cars easily worth $1.5Million+ here in NY and CT. The vast majority of the cars are $200k+ and there are one or two Elise/Exige cars that not only attend but hold their own in the respect garnered and looks / attention department. I am amazed by how well the 'Elige' model hold their own. ( admittedly they are a slower car than almost all the cars of 3 -50 times the value). they are simply well accepted by the car crowd. Now as to the general populous ( non car people) they are extremely inquisitive of the car and even though many don't know the marque and its history, I have seen many who seems to instantly offer respect once they are told the brand and model. Even the fact they are made in the the UK gets-em some points.

You can certainly argue the dated looks to the Esprit but once again the Movie history keeps the 'mystique' very much alive. You cannot believe how many people associate the Esprit with Pretty Woman and James Bond.... just as tightly as the DeLorean in BTTF.

You are correct in not making the mistake of engaging with the pimpled boy racers in the hopped up ricer (POS) cars, but a Mazda Miata they are not!!!
Many modern cars can spank the old lady. I see that regularly with my Lambo buddies getting smacked by the Datsun's ( Nissan GTR ). That will never end, so simply accept it gracefully or go buy a ricer and join that crowd.

Lotus still to this day has street cred even with many of the club guys and with many members of the public. I frequently have my Lambo parked next to mys sons Exige and he gets as much if not more attention and certainly more from the you crowd than the Lambo ever does. When the Esprit is next to the Exige... same thing exactly !

So I think you need a quick recalibration or a quick 'C' service :D
 

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You guys are just being fan-boys. I love my Esprit. The Elise is what it is -- it's not in the same league as the Esprit or Ferrari or Lambo's and it brought the cache of the brand down the same way the Boxster did with Porsche. Porsche kept going with the 911 and other exotics which kept the respect of the marque up, but the Evora wasn't able to do the same.

You can all kick and scream all you want, but that's just the fan boy in you coming out without looking at it objectively.

I still wouldn't trade my Esprit for the Porsches and Ferraris I had, so don't get your panties so up in a bunch. I'm just being realistic.
 

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Haaaa

Sad thing is most of the terrible brand dilution cars as you refer to them i.e. Exige / Elise cars will spank our Esprit's all day long in "every metric" except comfort ( they even have more inside room in the passenger compartment than Esprit ) and yet they still have the reliability ( which was the last detractors big thing ) to start and run essentially trouble free. :clap::clap:

I do however agree that the Evora was a huge let down in almost every way. :mad: and did the brand more harm than good.

But really no fan boy here, simply respect for a Marque that has earned it.
I have owned and loved many other brand "play cars" as I have had Lotus, so mute point there Phil. :clap::clap::clap:
In fact I am lining up to jump ship again and go to McLaren very shortly... no fan boy there either : )

The fastest thing about Lotus is their Pit Crew

http://youtu.be/Kl1Dc5hsXu0
 
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