For years, the Lotus Esprit considered itself a supercar, and indeed, that was the common perception of this agile and fast car. Those in the know, however, were not nearly as impressed, as the Esprit boasted nothing more than a four-cylinder engine, albeit turbo. True supercar aficionados require at LEAST twice as many cylinders, ideally thrice. Lotus heard the grumblings, and in 1995 the Lotus Esprit V8 was introduced. Stylistically, it was absolutely impeccable, and retained all the handling finesse of its smaller-engine predecessor. There were some complaints as to the faded and passé interior, but that was soon fixed in later models, no later than 1997.
As its name wold indicate, the Esprit V8 was powered by a 3.5-liter V8 engine, with twin overhead camshafts and 32 valves, and twin Garrett T25 Turbochargers, for a sweet total output of 353 horsepower, at 6,500 RPM. Needless to say, this was a very, very fast car, with a 0-60 time of only 4.8 seconds and a top speed of *cough* 175 miles per hour.
Incredibly, the V8 managed to take up less room than the old four cylinder did, keeping the car nice and light, just as Lotus likes them. Unfortunately, and despite being very smooth and torquey, the V8 still sounded like a four-cylinder. Also, the early Esprit V8, namely the 1995 and 1996 models were hampered by a terrible gear-change mechanism, which didn’t allow the engine to be exploited to its full potential. This was fixed in 1997, same time as the interior. The 1995 Lotus Esprit V8 is every inch the supercar, but if you’re buying one, stick with the ’97 models or later.