This 1984 Lotus Esprit Turbo is the perfect supercar for our times. With gas getting more expensive by the day, Colin Chapman's philosophy of adding lightness created a machine that performs like an exotic but pulls down fuel mileage like an economy car. Better yet, no matter where you go in this red cruise missile, you'll be treated like an A-list celebrity, thanks to its timeless good looks and legendary reputation for performance.
We're more accustomed to seeing these in white, thanks to the exploits of our favorite British secret agent, but in brilliant Signal Red it looks every bit a match for its Italian competitors. The body is fiberglass, styled by Giugiaro, and completely hand built by artisans in England who only do it the old fashioned way. 1984 brought many improvements to the Esprit, including body-colored bumpers which helped save the wedge shape from the fate of, say, the Countach, with its ridiculous federally-mandated monstrosities. Fit and finish are on par for a hand-built English car, and it shows signs of careful use and has benefitted from the care of someone who was passionate about the car. The red paint carries a bright gloss, just in case the shape and color haven't seared enough eyeballs, and the satin black trim is nicely preserved with no chalky UV damage.
The black leather interior is sumptuous in a way that only the English can deliver. The hides are still supple, the deep pile carpeting feels plush under your feet, and the ergonomics are surprisingly good. Everything remains in excellent condition considering its age, although the natural leather on the door panels has started to pucker simply by virtue of hanging vertically for 27 years. The Esprit also came loaded with features, including effective A/C, power brakes, and a more recent Kenwood AM/FM/CD stereo head unit with equalizer. There's also a wonderfully old school wooden shifter knob that seems quite out of place in the futuristic Lotus, but it feels awesome in your hand as you stir the gears in the mid-mounted transmission. Between the two trunks there's adequate amount storage space, but you'll need to travel light.
Power comes from a bulletproof 2.2 liter inline-four that was turbocharged to generate a very impressive 210 horsepower. Turbo boost is minimal, and when the revs are up, this car is an absolute weapon. Other cars may carry more firepower, but this car's featherweight body endows it with the performance of a much more powerful machine. The suspension engineers at Lotus are perhaps the finest in the world, and gave the Esprit world-class handling with a supple ride, again made possible by the car's light weight. New for 1984 were lovely BBS alloy wheels wearing staggered 225/50/15 and 245/50/15 BFGoodrich radials.
If you've lusted after an exotic, but could never quite stomach their astronomical asking prices, this Lotus is an ideal alternative.
This vehicle is located in our Charlotte, NC showroom. For more information, please call (704) 598-2130 or toll free (866) 542-8392.