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20th February 2004

The Last Lotus Esprit

Hethel, England

The last Lotus Esprit, regarded by many as the classic supercar, has been driven off the Lotus assembly line at Hethel. The Lotus Esprit had been in production for 28 years and each car was hand built at Lotus' headquarters in Norfolk. Since production started in 1976, 10675 Esprits have been built and sold all over the world.

The last Esprit, built for the USA market, uses the Lotus designed 3.5 litre twin turbocharged V8 engine producing 260 kW (350 hp) at 6,500 rpm and 400 Nm (295 ft.lb.) at 4,250 rpm. This endows the wedge-shaped supercar with phenomenal performance including 0-100 km/h (0-62mph) in 4.9 seconds, 0-160km/h (0-100mph) in 10.3 seconds before reaching a top speed of 282km/h (175 mph).

The Lotus Esprit will be remembered by many as Britain's iconic supercar - an accolade held for four decades. Over the last 28 years, many famous celebrities and racing drivers have owned Esprits, but others will remember it for its many film roles. Such roles included the "Spy Who Loved Me" here James Bond used one of the first Esprits to foil his nemesis' henchmen in a spectacular car chase culminating in the Esprit metamorphosing into a submarine. After another outing with James Bond in "For Your Eyes Only" in the 1980s, the fame and popularity of the Lotus Esprit was further enhanced when it was used as the lead car in the blockbuster film "Pretty Woman" with Richard Gere and Julia Roberts in 1990. Two Lotus Esprits (one in black and the other in white) took leading roles in the 1990s film Basic Instinct - the two car chases in the California based classic film stablished the Lotus Esprit as choice for the glamorous and sophisticated driver whom, of course, loves high performance!

The last Esprit, in Saffron Yellow with a black interior, will be delivered to a customer in the USA (the details of which cannot be released). The last Esprits to be sold in Europe were delivered to customers in mid 2003 and 46 " Final Edition" Esprits built exclusively for the USA market are being delivered to USA dealers throughout early 2004. Clive Dopson, Director of Manufacturing at Group Lotus explains the significance of the Esprit to Lotus: "The Esprit today is as much of a head turner now as it was when the concept was exhibited in 1972. We are very proud of the fact that our supercar is now regarded by many as legendary, it has stood the test of time, demonstrated by the fact that it is still one of the highest performing cars in the world. For enthusiasts and fans, the end of the Esprit will be a sad time, but for Lotus this is a time for the celebration of our classic supercar. And let's not forget, we are working on new Lotus cars for the future, one of which will be a new mid-engined supercar to enter the marketplace in a few years time!"