Lotus Esprit is a small-lot supercar typical of the 90s. His intensely pointy body is punctuated by square taillights. The cockpit is cleverly executed as a Power Wheels car. But 25 years later, the limited-edition Sport 300 is still special.
In all seriousness, the final exterior design of the Lotus Esprit is one of the things I like best in Europe or any other continent. The retractable headlights and the handles of the retractable doors let you glimpse every possibility that this car can become "timeless", but I still think it's nice and opportunely looking for what it should be: a real driving machine. [1
Sport 300 was not just another Esprit. Although in reality there is no "just another Esprit". I think I see one or two in the year, even in Los Angeles, where supercars are as common as Camrys. But you get my point of view: this particular variant is exceptionally rare.
Only 64 Esprit Sport 300 were made, according to Catchpole. Although a 1993 AutoCar article promised that 50 would be built when the car came out for the first time. This article also explains that Sport 300 is not actually a "modified S4" version of Esprit, as it seems. "In essence, the Sport 300 is a derivative of the Esprit X180R driver who has successfully competed in the US supercar series SCCA and IMSA over the past three years," wrote AutoCar about 25 years ago.
Today, Catchpole notes that the driver's seat feels "about a foot closer to the ground" than a modern Lotus Evora, which, wow.
In any era the car was a marvel of volumetric efficiency: its 2.2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine was a proven 302 brake horsepower and 287 lb-ft of torque. Considering the fact that the car should have weighed only 2,738 pounds, it should have been a screamer, the specific ones were rather modest compared to modern standards – AutoCar called from 0 to 60 times to 4.7 seconds, with a quarter mile of 13.4.
Catchpole notes that "the unexpected joy of the Sport 300 is how hard it is", however. And the real pleasure of pushing a Lotus around comes from the turn, not banging straight from a light.
To this end, the Sport 300 is much wider and stiffer than a normal Esprit, which you can see Catchpole using in its video is slightly lateral.
Esprit Sport 300 is quoted at £ 64,995 when it was new. This is $ 83.695 at the current exchange rate, which translates to just over $ 145,000 in today's money. If this car had arrived on the market as it is, I'm sure we'll all complain about the interior that seems to have been raised by a Playskool product and of adult size.
But it seems that the car is still a handful, which of course is what we love most about the fast cars of this era.