Used 2001 Lotus Esprit

2001 Lotus Esprit
List price range
2001 Lotus Esprit


  • Sharp steering, blinding acceleration, people on the street think it's twice as expensive as it really is.


  • Dated chassis, minimal outward visibility, cramped cockpit.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The hyper Esprit is not as easy to live with as an Acura NSX or Porsche 911, but it's not as common either.

vehicle overview

Lotus Esprit. Most Americans know what it is, though this is probably due more to its brief appearance in "The Spy Who Loved Me" than any sort of advertising or automotive reviews. It's amazing what happens to a car's awareness factor when you equip it with rockets and a submarine periscope.

One of the more evergreen cars around, its basic shape and chassis design have been around since the Esprit debuted in 1975. For the majority of its life, a four-cylinder engine took up residence amidships. Obviously, a four banger isn't exactly synonymous with supercar performance, so Lotus finally managed to replace it with a twin-turbo V8 in 1997.

This all-aluminum 3.5-liter V8 generates 350 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 295 foot-pounds of torque. And while the engine doesn't sound nearly as exotic as a Ferrari's V8 (the turbos and flat-plane crankshaft conspire to keep the engine note rather dull), the V8 does provide ample forward thrust. Acceleration from zero-to-60 mph takes less than 5 seconds.

Last year, Lotus engineers recalibrated the engine's computer to improve torque delivery in the lower gears. This gives greater flexibility and response, especially when the car is being driven at slow urban speeds. For 2000 Lotus also swapped out the '99 car's Brembo brakes for AP Racing competition four-piston fixed brake calipers and upgraded disc brakes. The 320-mm diameter curved-vane discs are both vented and cross-drilled for improved ventilation.

The Esprit V8 is one of the best-handling cars sold in America. Driven at eighth-tenths, the car is a lot of fun. But if you have to hustle it at ten-tenths, it becomes somewhat unsettled. The Esprit's aging chassis and suspension design are the culprits. Newer cars like the Acura NSX, Ferrari 360 Modena and Porsche 911 all offer similar or better levels of performance while still managing to provide a more refined ride on city streets.

Another problem with the Esprit V8 is its interior. Tall drivers over 6-feet tall will feel claustrophobic once inside. The narrow seats can be comfortable for long durations, but the narrow footwells leave little room for the driver's left leg. Outward visibility is particularly bad, and the rearview and outside mirrors are virtually useless.

Discriminating pedestrians will go berserk when they spot an Esprit V8, and they often guess at a sticker price twice reality. In fact, pricing is in line with other top performance cars such as the NSX and Dodge Viper. The only options available are a sunroof and custom paint.

With so few Esprit V8s on the road, exclusivity is a guarantee. And it is unquestionably the fastest model in the car's 25-year history. If you are looking for speed and a Lotus badge, this is the car to get. But if practicality and reliability are important considerations for you, we would recommend the NSX or Porsche 911 Turbo.

2001 Highlights

For 2001, the still-toothsome Lotus Esprit V8 is now shod in Dunlops rather than Michelins. This won't alter its ability to "corner like it's on rails," as illustriously stated by the "Pretty Woman."

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2001 Lotus Esprit.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

An Owner's Review: 2003 Lotus Esprit V8
Owner of 2003 Esprit,08/28/2003
Frightening fast car, difficult to drive slow. Don't mean b/c u "want" to drive it fast, I mean b/c IT wants to drive fast. The gas pedal is either on or off, as is clutch. Brakes similar, risk a face plant if not careful to go gentle on pedal. Not easy to drive, but has its rewards. Downsides: (there are several), forget about getting it if you are shy, everyone WILL react to it, sometimes positively, sometimes not. This leads to things that weigh on your mind. As in, can I just park this car anywhere?(ans: no). Do I need to plan my trips? (ans: yes). The car nose is unbeleivably low. Remember this is not a Porsche911, it is a supercar.
Esprit V8 is a winner
While not a well know marque, Lotus has produced one of the top supercars in the world. Handling has been described as the greatest ever. I don't disagree. Performance is unbelievable, especially with a few reasonably priced mods. This car will glue you to your seat and handle curves at speeds previously reserved for video games. The styling is not as outrageous as otherrs, but this is a car that looks much better in person than in print. Beautiful, exotic, good fuel mileage, unbelievable performance and handling for a fair price. The only flaw is that the interior, while very well made, is that of a typical British car - small and tight.
Purple lotus
This is my 2nd Esprit, I LOVE these cars, a blast to drive and own ... but you have to WANT to drive them. They are not for the meek or shy. Maintenance is a must but is not close to other exotic cars.
My 2 Mid Life Crises
i own 2,08/20/2003
only problem is the high amount of maintainence that a lotus needs but if you can afford to buy a decent esprit than you can afford to keep it on the road
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Features & Specs

15 city / 27 hwy
Seats 2
5-speed manual
350 hp @ 6500 rpm
See all Used 2001 Lotus Esprit features & specs
More about the 2001 Lotus Esprit
Used 2001 Lotus Esprit Overview

The Used 2001 Lotus Esprit is offered in the following submodels: Esprit Coupe. Available styles include V8 2dr Coupe (3.5L 8cyl Turbo 5M).

What's a good price on a Used 2001 Lotus Esprit?

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Which used 2001 Lotus Esprits are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2001 Lotus Esprit for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2001 Lotus Esprit.

Can't find a used 2001 Lotus Esprits you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Lotus Esprit for sale - 8 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $21,261.

Find a used Lotus for sale - 6 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $18,996.

Find a used certified pre-owned Lotus Esprit for sale - 2 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $17,361.

Find a used certified pre-owned Lotus for sale - 8 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $11,851.

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Should I lease or buy a 2001 Lotus Esprit?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Lotus lease specials
Check out Lotus Esprit lease specials