Lotus Esprit S3 Turbo In-Depth Review and Buyer's Guide

Updated: Feb 11


Last Affordable Exotic car, The wedge-shaped looks are timeless, The ride quality is magnificent


The Interior leather gets shrunk after some time, The early cars engines don't make much power, Parts are a bit hard to find.

Exterior Design

The Lotus Esprit is a masterpiece in short with the early cars Designed by Gerigio Gadini with the 70s wedge-shaped design with the paper fold lines in the bodywork and the beautiful pop-up headlights and the classically designed multi-spoke wheels and the very aerodynamic body which results in the Cd of just 0.3 which was and is still very remarkable figure, and unlike its predecessor the Lotus Europa it has sweeping roofline rather than the bed van Design of the Lotus Europa. There were 4 alterations of the Esprit the S1 which was the first Esprit and had the cleanest Design of all the Esprits which follow it later and it was even in the James Bond movie 'The Spy Who Loved me, wherein the car chase the car became an underwater submarine the S2 came after a short while and have some cosmetic tweaks and the slightly larger Engine from 2 litres to 2.2 litres as a result power got up by about 25 horsepower, then came the S3 which was my favourite and it was also in Jame's bond movie this time in 'For your Eyes only' this was also the first Lotus Esprit to offer with a Turbo engine which boosts up the performance by 55 Horsepower. It also had the very 80s decals on the side with turbo bagging because it was one of the first road cars to adopt turbocharging and they were certainly very proud of it. The S3 had some cosmetic changes like new vents below the doors and the different rear glass for cooling the Engine and the Car was considered quite big for the time but today's standard is quite small.

Interior Design

The Interior of the lotus Esprit is so 80s with the same leather you get in the Sofas at the same time. The Instrument cluster is very cool with the wood veneer finish on it and because of the high central tunnel and the large instrument cluster, it makes you feel very tight-down and sporty. The leather seats are very comfortable and the headrests are super soft and don't think that's if it's an old car it will have no creature comforts it has a surprising amount of features there is a standard Sony radio with 4 speakers system, Glass Sunroof, Targa top roof which means you can remove the roof panel and store it in the boot, Air-conditioning with heater and Reclining Leather Seats. There are not many cubby spaces in the Interior but you will be able to store a surprising amount of storage in the boot so let's check it out.

Boot Space

The boot in the Lotus Esprit is quite big for a supercar and it's also quite deep so it's great for road trips and the cargo space is shared with the engine compartment and the boot never gets warm because there is a cover on the engine which can be removed.

Engine and Gearbox

The Engine in the Lotus Esprit isn't what you associate with an Exotic supercar it's a 2.2 litre 4 cylinder turbo with 215 Horsepower but don't underestimate the engine for just being a 4 cylinder back in the day it had more power than the Ferrari 308s 2.9 litres V8 engine which was its main rival. It also still had the good old carburettors.

iN 1996 Lotus threw the 4 cylinder in the Dustbin and made a brand new Engine for iT which cost them a whopping 5.5 million euros but it was worth it the Engine is a 3.5 litre 90-degree flat-plane crank twin-turbo V8 with 500 horsepower but there was one problem the gearbox which came from Renault cannot handle 500 horsepower so they detuned it to 350 horsepower but you can of course throw that gearbox out and bolt a new gearbox and tuned the engine to 500 horsepower

Driving Experience ( Twisty Roads )

On twisty roads, the Lotus Esprit shines the car weights only 1140 kilos and feels very agile and the 215 horsepower feels more than adequate with very minimal turbo lag and if you remove the roof then you hear those turbos whistle when you lift off and of full accelerate the carburetters makes pops and bangs on the overrun and if you have driven new lotus you will be surprised with the suspension which is very nicely damped and the seats are wonderful they hold you tightly and are very supportive. It has loads of grips and course, you can easily get the tail out if you want and you can also catch the tail of the car because of the wonderfully weighted and tactile steering wheel which is not assisted and has a lot of feedback there's is no slack in the middle and at low speeds it's nice and light. There are some flaws too like if you are not used to the car the pedals may feel a bit offset and as a result a bit hard to heel and toe but you get used to it.

Buyers Guide

If you are considering buying the Lotus Esprit there are some important things to check

Engine- The 4 cylinder turbo engines are very reliable but they need a rebuild at around 140 thousand kilometres and most of them had the engine rebuild but some cars don't have so check that. The V8 are a bit more problematic and not as reliable as the 4 cylinder engines. Check for regular maintenance buy a car with 40 to 50 thousand kilometres because then most of the Issues are resolved.

Gearbox- The Gearbox is a Renault sourced unit and they are quite reliable but if you can change gears quickly at the readline and if you hear odd noises from the gearbox that can be due to leaks so check that out.


There are not many rivals for the Lotus Esprit because it's one of the last affordable Exotic cars but still, if you are considering buying the lotus Esprit you should also consider the Lotus Europa its predecessor which is a blast to drive and the Porshe 944 turbo S which has 4 seats and if you have small kids then they can be very useful but as a compromise, you lose the Mid-engined balance.

Final Verdict and Price

So what's my final verdict on the Lotus Esprit well it's a fantastic mid-engined supercar that can easily double as a long cruising Gt there are some flaws and they are difficult to find in India but do your research you won't regret your decision. The price well they start from 12 to 22 thousand pounds for the 4 cylinder and 28 thousand pounds for the V8 in England where they sold the most and you can import from there because they were right-hand drive as well and if I had the means would like to have one in white colour with cream leather interior.

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