2004 Lotus Esprit V8 2dr Coupe (3.5L 8cyl Turbo 5M)
Only 33 2003.5-2004 Final Edition Lotus Esprits were made and shipped to the United States. Equipped with a turbocharged 32-valve flat-plane crankshaft V8, they start, idle and sound very much like a '60's era musclecar with a hot cam. Exhaust note is very good from a low grumble at idle to a roar under acceleration. There is almost no turbo lag, tons of torque above 2000 rpm allowing the Esprit to easily burn rubber in its first 3 gears. Steering is very, very fast and precise - plus the turning radius is exceptionally tight. Cockpit space is adequate for those under 6 feet and trunk space is surprisingly generous. Handling is outstanding, as in all Lotuses. Front spoiler seeks bumps.
Acceleration, handling, exhaust note, exterior styling and exclusivity. This is a rare machine, with only 10,500 made worldwide in several versions over its 28 year production run. And only 33 in its last year. Also the last Lotus production vehicle that Colin Chapman had a direct hand in design.
Entry and exit can be difficult while the sound system labors to be heard over the engine note. The glass top squeaks and rattles while the long front overhang helps the spoiler/airdam to impact every road blemish in sight. Luckily, both are removable and have no notable impact under 140 MPH.