Comparison 2002 Ferrari 360 Modena Manual vs 2001 Lotus Esprit V8 Twin-turbo

Discussion in '360/430' started by MD355, Aug 8, 2018.

  1. MD355

    MD355 Formula Junior

    Mar 8, 2004
    Full Name:
    I have owned a Ferrari 360 Modena Manual since 2005 and last week I bought a 2001 Lotus Esprit V8 TT !!
    Of course not as a replacement for my amazing Ferrari, rather as something to complement my garage.
    After 13 years of ownership of the Ferrari, I wanted something "new" to give me more thrills.
    By coincidence I was looking at car ads and found an amazing Esprit V8 (one of the last ones) that was an amazing deal and I could not resist.

    First of all comparing the two in terms of looks, I won't say who wins, but the Esprit V8 is a 1980-1990s icon, whereas the 360 Modena is a modern day Ferrari of the 2000 decade.

    The Esprit has all the necessary supercar elements, very low wedge shape, almost flat windscreen, Big rear wing and of course, pop up lights !! It looks amazing up close. When you step inside, is is VERY tight and at 6 ft 3 I fit perfectly !! Visibility is non existent at the rear, while at the front it is very good !!

    The Modena (in red) looks very modern and slick and it cannot be mistaken for anything other than a Ferrari !! It turns heads everywhere you go, and the more you look at it, you appreciate the brilliant design of Pininfarina !! The cabin is MUCH more spacious than the Lotus !! And visibility is EXCELLENT all around !!

    The build quality and finish of the Lotus is a joke !! It makes the Ferrari look like a German car !! But when you buy a Lotus you know in advance that you are buying a racecar with kitcar quality !! The inside leather however in the Lotus is AMAZING especially in Magnolia Creme as in mine !! The smell of the Lotus is great, apart from the panels that smell like plastic, since they are indeed fiberglass / kevlar. The gap panels in the Esprit are hilarious !! You feel you could get inside without opening the door !! But I guess this is the same built quality as the F40, which nobody complains !!

    Now the driving experience, you sit inside the Esprit, it is like wearing the car, with its wide tunnel. The pedals are not that off set or bad as they say. Just wear narrow shoes to be able to drive it. You start the engine and it rumbles with an uneven idle. My car has aftermarket exhaust and racing cats, so it sounds agressive. Once you hit the clutch you are surprised by how heavy it is !!! Dual disc clutch required a lot of effort. Next you try to understand where the gear are. The first 2-3 times you confuse 1-3 and 2-4 !! Lets just say that the gearbox is vague, very vague !! Once you get going you are impressed at how direct the steering is !! Like a racecar !! The gas pedal is heavy, and when you step on it you immediately feel a surge of power and torque, which is missing from the Modena. This car is a little intimidating at first, as you don't know how much power the engine will give you when the turbos spool !! It has a little lag, so when the power arrives it feels like a power surge !! The brakes, simply amazing !! And the handling excellent and very predictable and confidence inspiring !! Ergonomics are not bad, windows and the controls very well placed, but the AC is a joke. I serviced it, and still it only works well when the car is moving !! Clearly the Lotus is not a car for warm climates.

    Compared to the Modena, the driving experience of the Modena is light years ahead !! As soon as you sit inside you feel comfortable and when you start driving you immediately appreciate the quality and development of the car !! The clutch works smoothly and effortlessly, the gears on the open gate shifter slide perfectly and the handling amazing !! The engine produces the most amazing sound !! And it pulls straight at all revs !! AC is perfect and when you arrive at your destination you feel relaxed and you have enjoyed the experience !!

    Overall, both cars are great but the 360 Modena is much better !! The Esprit however is still worth having for 3 reasons : a) for the turbo rush and racecar driving position with excellent handling b) the traditional supercar look with the rear spoiler and popup lights and the fact that has become (Esprit V8) very rare car c) the fact it was a Bond 007 car !!! It might not be as good all around as a Ferrari, but its flaws and the fact that it is VERY DEMANDING to drive, make it a challenge and something that I always look forward to driving !!

    A comparison to my other two cars, the Porsche 993 C2 manual and the Mercedes SL 55 will follow in the future !! I feel like I have a complete garage for Ferrari, Porsche, Lotus and Mercedes AMG !! Mid-engined, rear engined, front engined, always RWD !! NA, supercharged and turbo !! At least for now !!
    greg328 and tifosi101 like this.
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  3. bassgruvn

    bassgruvn Rookie

    Jul 3, 2016
    Great comparison, I have a 1990 Lotus SE and your evaluation of the Lotus is spot on.
    I don't have a Ferrari yet to compare it to, yet.
  4. timwu12

    timwu12 Formula Junior

    Oct 31, 2014
    Houston, TX
    all of that text and no pics?!
    RedNeck likes this.
  5. cfensty

    cfensty Formula Junior
    Silver Subscribed

    Jan 1, 2008
    Hilton Head Is., SC
    Full Name:
    Great spec on the Lotus!! How the heck did you get the 993 wedged in behind that wall???

    Sent from my iPhone using mobile app
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  7. MD355

    MD355 Formula Junior

    Mar 8, 2004
    Full Name:
    Hahaha !!! Your observation is amazing !!
    In fact I purchased 4 x Vehicle Positioning Hydraulic Wheel Skates - 680kg Per Skate !!
    I drive the 993 on the spot where the Lotus currently is parked, I place the skates and raise the car 2 inches, and then I move it in place !!
    DefunctNeurons likes this.
  8. ihavearedferrari

    ihavearedferrari F1 Rookie

    Nov 23, 2007
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    Which car do you drive the most out of them all?
    MD355 likes this.
  9. RedNeck

    RedNeck F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed

    Jul 8, 2016
    The CSA
    Full Name:
    I've always loved the Lotuses, even passed on some incredible deals out of fear. Maybe one of these days I will add one to the collection.
    02360spider likes this.
  10. MD355

    MD355 Formula Junior

    Mar 8, 2004
    Full Name:
    Well, on a daily basis I drive the SL 55 AMG !!! Very comfortable car, great AC, automatic, lots of low end torque, no problem with parking, all weather car, trunk space, reliable, does not attract bad attention !!

    Weeknights, in the winter I take the Lotus for a drive to enjoy the small explosions from the exhausts !! It is a special and fun car, the low driving position makes you feel like James Bond !! In the summertime, I choose the Ferrari, since it takes too long in the winter time to warm up, and my impression is that because of the very small engine tolerances, the car drives weird when cold (feels weak) !!

    On Saturdays, I use the Porsche 993 all day , or sometimes the Lotus !!

    Sundays is Ferrari Day !!!!! I take it for a nice coastal drive and enjoy it with a sunny day !!!

    Each car is so different, Mid-engined NA high rpm (Ferrari), Mid-engined Turbo (Lotus) , Rear Engined Air cooled (993) , Front Engine Supercharged Automatic (SL55) that I never get bored of the transition !!!

    For comparison, I like to drive the Lotus first (very low, difficult gearbox and clutch, brutal power delivery) , next Ferrari (improved visability and comfort, puts linearly with amazing sound and very controlable handling), next 993 (cool sound and amazing gearbox, feels solid) , finally SL55 (so comfortable and Effortless power, very relaxing)

    Lotus - Ferrari - Porsche - SL55
    Looks : 9 , 10 , 8 , 8
    Quality : 4 , 9 , 10 , 9
    Power : 8 , 9 , 7 , 10
    Handling : 8 , 10 , 8 , 7
    Fun : 9 , 10, 8 , 8
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  12. MD355

    MD355 Formula Junior

    Mar 8, 2004
    Full Name:
    Check out the latest video of my Lotus Esprit V8 shooting flames !!! Top fun !!!

    tifosi101 and DefunctNeurons like this.
  13. cgfen

    cgfen Formula Junior

    Jun 1, 2015
    vista ca
    Thanks for posting.
    I lusted after one of these for years, then I drove one..................
    They are beautiful, but as you say, the dynamics leave a bit to be desired.

    I saw one just yesterday in a very nice yellow, a bit warmer than Porsche Speed yellow and it looked FABULOUS!
    MD355 likes this.
  14. Btrillis

    Btrillis Rookie

    Aug 12, 2020
    hi MD355, I’m new here and this thread is new to me. I found your review of your lotus very insightful and I was wondering if you would be willing to say what you paid for your that you considered a great deal. I am in the market for one myself and I know the market from 2 years ago is likely to be different than today, however, there is such a wide range of asking prices for relatively similar cars, it’s always nice to have a barometer from a savvy buyer.

  15. 550nitis

    550nitis Formula Junior
    Silver Subscribed

    Feb 3, 2016
    Los Angeles, CA
    Lotus has. Beautiful timeless design.
  16. 02360spider

    02360spider Formula 3
    Rossa Subscribed

    May 27, 2015
    Never owned a lotus would love to i love the way they look.

    Sent from my SM-N975U using Tapatalk
  17. Themaven

    Themaven F1 Rookie
    Rossa Subscribed

    Nov 2, 2014
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    The Espirit V8 TT was one of the very first cars I drove for review, back in the 90s. I loved it. So fast, such a punchy engine, great handling, great looks, very involving, muscular. Dreadful build quality. A catch, I think the front hood catch (under the steering wheel) snapped in two when I pulled it. I would still be tempted.
    02360spider likes this.
  18. MD355

    MD355 Formula Junior

    Mar 8, 2004
    Full Name:
    Hi Brian !!
    In July 2018, I found a perfect looking 2001 Lotus Esprit V8 with black exterior and creme interior with 30k miles, US car Left hand drive, imported to the UK in 2007.
    It was advertised for GBP 27990 but the closed the deal at GBP 26700, sight unseen.
    I have a very good mechanic so we figured at this price we could sort everything out.
    And believe me, everything needed to be replaced.
    Of course I also improved some items.
    For starters brand new suspension all parts
    Next I bought a set of forged pistons which we installed with new oil pump, water pump, alternator, fuel pump, all sensors, etc
    Complete turbo rebuild..
    Installation of LSD differential..
    And much more..
    In the end I paid another 12000 Euro in parts and 5-6000 in labor
    I also installed straight pipes, cat delete and k&n air filters
    Now the car is amazing..
    I only recommend to buy an Esprit V8 if you have a good mechanic and lots of patience

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