Esprit Turbo
Lotus logo
46,000 CR
Model year: 1980
Performance Index: D 304
Drive Type: RWD
Engine Placement: Mid
Basic Performance
Advanced Performance
Power: 205 HP (152 kW)
Torque: 194 lb ft (263 N·m)
Weight: 2710 lbs (1229 Kg)
Front: 44%
Displ: 2.2 L
Power/weight: 166 HP per ton

124 kW per ton

One of the simplest but most attractive of all the “wedge” cars of the 1970s is the original Lotus Esprit, and the second series Turbo manages to refine the basic shape while adding a healthy dose of performance. Much more than simply the addition of a turbocharger to the 2.2-liter Lotus Type 912 four-cylinder motor, the Esprit Turbo actually represents an official redesign, conducted by original designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, that includes such revisions as new facias front and rear, larger side skirts, and the side-mounted NACA ducts to provide cooling air to the engine. Under the skin, an entirely new Y-frame chassis not only increases structural rigidity, it is also designed to accommodate the V8 engine that wouldn’t debut for another 16 years—a forward-looking move on the part of Lotus. Handling is what you’d expect from a Lotus—extremely competent and entirely unflustered by mid-course corrections—and power improves to 205 horsepower, a respectable figure for the time. And in case anyone could possibly mistake what they’re looking at when this Lotus roars by, appropriately period graphics unambiguously proclaim to onlookers “TURBO ESPRIT.” Subtle, it’s not.

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