The Lotus Esprit is an enduring British sports car range which first arrived in the 1970s and would continue to evolve over the next three decades, with a modern reimagining of the vehicle recently announced by the manufacturer.
The Esprit S1 was revealed in 1975 and went on sale the next year, with its place in the Lotus line up secured thanks to the decommissioning of the Europa.
With a 2.0 litre engine the S1 Esprit could generate 160bhp and its lightweight body tipped the scales at under a thousand kilos, which allowed it to hit 60mph in eight seconds and go on to 133mph flat out.
The S1 Esprit was immortalised in the 1977 Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me, in which it could be seen both on the road and underwater as an espionage-friendly submarine.
Shortly after its launch the Esprit underwent some major changes and in 1978 Lotus was ready to launch the S2 model.
New model-specific alloy wheels, refreshed tail lights and a front spoiler were just a few of the changes made.
In 1980 Lotus fitted a turbocharger to the Esprit, naming it the Essex, which boosted the horsepower to 210 and allowed it to hit 60mph in a hair over six seconds.
Just 45 of these turbo models were produced, although the same technology remained in use without the Essex nametag after this point.
In 1981 the S3 Esprit arrived, with a 2.2 litre engine and also a turbo option for those who wanted a little more performance.
Minor alterations were made to this model in 1985, although it was the 1987 redesign carried out under the supervision of Peter Stevens that saw the most significant changes made to the styling of the Esprit range.
The turbo iteration of this new car had the same bhp as its predecessors but benefitted from improved 0-60 times and offered a top speed of 150 miles per hour. A prominent rear spoiler also became an important design and performance feature at this time.
1993 saw yet another Esprit redesign, this time at the hands of Julian Thompson, with enough changes enacted to allow the car to be known as the S4.
Two years later the S4 Sport arrived, giving the car 300bhp and a 168mph top seed, while pulling the 0-60 time down well below five seconds.
The final Esprit of the 1990s was the V8 model, which had two turbochargers and although the engine could output up to 500bph the engineers actually had to limit it to 350 in order to preserve the integrity of the gearbox.
Lotus left the Esprit in production until 2004, at which point the name was retired. However, in 2010 it revealed a new Esprit which will be part of the car's sixth generation and use all-new components, allowing the marque to live on.
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