1999 Lotus Esprit Reviews

1999 Lotus Esprit SE V8 TT from North America

Model year1999
Year of manufacture1999
First year of ownership2005
Most recent year of ownership2005
Engine and transmission V8 TT Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.8 / 10
Distance when acquired25000 miles
Most recent distance26000 miles

Summary:

Best supercar for the money.

Faults:

Nothing. Yet.

General Comments:

The car is absolutely stunning to behold in person and a rocket-sled to drive.

It's very low and wide and charismatic on the street. The flying wedge styling is classically beautiful.

Getting in and out requires some acrobatics. This is not an old man's car.

It accelerates with ferocity, especially if you have the sport exhaust growling behind you. The handling is tight but the ride is surprisingly supple. Steering feel is amazing, the best I've ever experienced. Throttle, clutch, brakes and shifter are much improved over earlier (4-cylinder) models, but still not the best - a modern Corvette is easier to drive. Overall I'd say that except for heavy stop-and-go traffic it's a very comfortable car.

Nice big trunk in the back can hold some serious baggage.

I love my Esprit V8.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 31st August, 2005

1999 Lotus Esprit GT3 2.2 turbo from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1999
First year of ownership1999
Most recent year of ownership2001
Engine and transmission 2.2 turbo Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.8 / 10
Distance when acquired0 miles
Most recent distance19000 miles
Previous carFiat Coupe

Summary:

A modern classic

Faults:

The clutch master cylinder failed.

The dash trim peeled away from under the windscreen.

General Comments:

It was a sensational experience in all respects of driving performance, as you'd expect from one of the world's leading experts in chassis and handling design. The trusty "old" Lotus four-pot power-plant provided eye-watering acceleration and top-speed. Though I have to admit I never did manage to test the claimed 163mph on the UK roads (came close, though - Name & Address withheld!!).

I decided not to spend the extra £20k on the V8 engine, as even with "only" 250bhp on tap the very respectable power-to-weight ratio meant the car's limits were way beyond mine!

I also loved the sexy low-slung look of the car. It's a real head-turner despite the fact that Guigaro penned the design around 1980 and it's still largely unchanged (notwithstanding the odd spoiler that has come and gone). Not many other manufacturers can sell new cars shaped 20 years ago!

Don't believe all you read about these cars being impractical, either. It was equally flexible on the daily commute to the office, long-haul fishing trips (2 adults and a weeks-worth of equipment carried with ease!), or on fun-run thrashes through Mid-Wales.

All in all, I was quite prepared to overlook the couple of things that went wrong, especially as the dealer service on both warranty repairs was impeccable.

It's a great pity to see Lotus struggling at the moment, with Elise sales nose-diving and the M250 project being binned. Their ability to produce raw driving-pleasure machines is the stuff of legends, and only my subsequent acquisition of a thoroughbred supercar tore me away from the marque...

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 30th May, 2001

Average review marks: 7.8 / 10, based on 2 reviews