Used 2002 Lotus Esprit

2002 Lotus Esprit
List price range

Pros

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

Cons

  • Dated chassis, minimal outward visibility, cramped cockpit, resale value drops like a stone.

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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.

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 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, 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. 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 long 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 Corvette Z06 or Porsche 911 Turbo.

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2002 Lotus Esprit.

over 3 yrs ownership
tim hayden, 12/23/2007
I have driven it daily for over 3 yrs and has been extremely reliable. I am so use to people making double takes when they see it on the road that it feels strange on the rare occasion when it does not occur. The performance is way beyond what I can explore and the exhaust note with the center exit U.S. exhaust is phenomenal and sounds only like exotic european cars can. The interior is very intimate and memorable and feels very nice once settled in. I think the exterior is one of the most beautiful, exotic shapes to date and still looks modern after all these years. I have owned Porsches and Ferraris and this is the most satisfying car yet. Don't be scared to take the plunge and get one.
A Real head turner
LotusOwner, 9/8/2002
Exotic looking car. Somewhat practical. What can you say with a car that is only waist height. Getting in and out is difficult. Styling is timeless.
Esprit V8 - Last of the Breed
Paul Hatz, 9/23/2002
It has more punch than than comparable Ferraris 355 and 360, thanks to the turbo, and it has a trunk, which they don't because of their large normally aspirated intake systems (the twin turbo design allows for a remarkably small and light engine design in the Lotus V8). Forget about all the garbage about it not sounding good, junk the exhaust and install straightpipes and this thing sings! You will get more compliments and looks with a nice Lotus V8 than any entry level Ferrari.
Esprit is Fabulous!!!
std63, 3/22/2004
After having both a Ferrari 355 and 360, I can say that the esprit is the best car out there for the money!! This thing just goes and is much more exclusive than a Ferrari
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Features & Specs

MPG
14 city / 21 hwy
Seats 2
5-speed manual
Gas
350 hp @ 6500 rpm
See all Used 2002 Lotus Esprit features & specs
More about the 2002 Lotus Esprit
Used 2002 Lotus Esprit Overview

The Used 2002 Lotus Esprit is offered in the following submodels: . Available styles include , and V8 2dr Coupe (3.5L 8cyl Turbo 5M).

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