1988 Lotus Esprit Turbo (X180)


  • 2.2-litre turbocharged powertrain
  • Gorgeous Mediterranean Blue paintwork
  • Subtle OEM upgraded wheels and spoiler
  • Transmission rebuilt just 2,000 miles ago
  • Retrimmed leather upholstery

The Appeal

From the minute Giugiaro’s initial design for the Esprit leapt into public view, the Esprit has been a supercar icon. That fantastic 1970s styling and superb proportions, combined with Lotus’ legendary ability to make a car handle incredibly well, lightweight construction and a series of potent engines meant that it was always as good to drive as it was to look at.

Come the mid-80s, a redesign was called for and Peter Stevens was enlisted to enhance and modernise the design. The result was the X180 – slightly larger with slightly softened corners and angles. It was a design that brought the Esprit bang up-to-date while maintaining the incredible original silhouette and wonderful driving dynamics. Little wonder it is still regarded as one of the finest supercars ever built.

This example is finished in shimmering Mediterranean Blue, one of our favourite colours for the Esprit, and the owner has cleverly enhanced the styling with wheels from a later S4 model and a genuine Esprit SE rear wing. The result is a wonderfully cohesive and attractive piece of design that just so happens to also offer a brilliant, dynamically engaging drive. If you’ve always wanted to pop an Esprit in your garage, then this would be a great way to fulfil that dream.

The History and Paperwork

  • First registered in February 1988
  • 13 owners from new, current owner since March 2018
  • Current MOT to March 2024
  • Transmission rebuilt just 2,000 miles ago
  • 79,623 miles from new
  • Just about 2,500 miles covered since September 2008
  • Complete with the original toolkit, owner’s handbook and a file of old MOT certificates and maintenance invoices

The Interior

  • Retrimmed a few years ago, the magnolia leather upholstery is ageing well, with some light creasing and wear, but no damage or tears we could identify
  • The black carpeting was apparently refreshed at the same time as the upholstery, and remains in good order, with coordinated floor mats
  • Air conditioning
  • Electric windows and door mirrors
  • Modern CD/radio system with removable security face
  • All of the trim and instrumentation looks to be in nice condition, with some light wear and natural patina, but nothing missing or broken as far as we can see
  • No faults or issues with the cabin’s functions are reported by the vendor
  • There is a small luggage compartment at the rear, which is trimmed in dark grey carpet
  • Under the bonnet at the front there is a spare wheel

The Exterior

  • The VIN plate shows the car to be finished in Mediterranean Blue (code A52), a lovely shade that presents in good, original condition with a few chips and minor blemishes
  • We noted some chipping to the edge of the boot lit, and some micro-blistering and possible lacquer lift to the rear wing
  • Fibreglass bodyshell on a steel ‘backbone’ chassis
  • The fibreglass shell looks to be in fine fettle, with no cracking, warping or misalignment apparent
  • Large glass sunroof with a light tint
  • Pop-up headlights are working just as they should
  • Integrated front fog lights
  • An OEM spoiler from an Esprit SE has been fitted and colour-matched
  • We noticed a few spots of corrosion showing on the black anodised window trim
  • The rest of the trim and glass elements all show very well, with no cracking, chipping or obvious damage 
  • Underneath, everything looks nice and straight, with undamaged floor panels and no serious corrosion we could identify
  • A set of genuine 17-inch Esprit S4 five-spoke alloy wheels by O.Z. have been fitted, they wear a smart silver finish and show no signs of kerbing or lacquer peel
  • The wheels are dressed in a matched set of Goodyear tyres

The Mechanics

  • 2,174cc DOHC, turbocharged inline-four
  • Said to have delivered 215hp and 220lb-ft to the rear wheels when new
  • Claimed performance figures: 0-60mph in under 5.5 seconds, 150mph top speed
  • Five-speed manual transmission, which was rebuilt in March 2014 at 77,831 miles
  • In February 2014, at around 77,800 miles, the cambelt and auxiliary belts were changed, and the car was serviced
  • The engine bay presents in tidy fashion, with no obvious issues we could discern
  • No faults or mechanical problems are reported by the vendor


This delightfully blue wedge of turbocharged joy presents us with quite the dilemma. We love it, you see. It ticks every box – an Esprit Turbo, relatively low mileage, in a great specification. Why is that a dilemma? Well, because we want it, but apparently we’re not allowed to have it. So why not benefit from our pain and add this handsome design classic to your collection. 

As supercars go, this one is genuinely usable and wonderfully accessible. What on earth are you waiting for?

 Notice to bidders

This item is sold on an ‘As is Where is’ basis. The condition of this item is the opinion of the seller and may differ from your own opinion. Photos and listing descriptions are for guidance purposes only. Car & Classic do not warrant listing accuracy. Full inspection is recommended. Viewings are at the seller’s discretion. Buyer is responsible for delivery and collection of any item purchased.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1988
  • Make Lotus
  • Model Esprit Turbo
  • Colour Mediterranean Blue
  • Odometer 79,623 Miles
  • Engine size 2174cc
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Town Hever
  • Location Kent
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
16 bids
  • gl•••• £21,250 01/06/23
  • da•••• £21,000 28/05/23
  • gl•••• £20,750 28/05/23
  • da•••• £20,500 28/05/23
  • gl•••• £20,250 28/05/23
  • da•••• £20,000 28/05/23
  • Sl•••• £19,750 28/05/23
  • Sl•••• £19,500 28/05/23
  • gl•••• £19,250 28/05/23
  • pr•••• £19,000 28/05/23

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