If the Lotus Esprit had a problem it was that it never had the right number of cylinders. Eight or twelve are the requisite number in any supercar worthy of the title yet Lotus felt four were enough. In turbocharged form they probably were going on the basis of mere figures, but in terms of delivery and smoothness buyers were beginning to expect something a bit more grown up, a bit less marginal. The Esprit V8 of the 1995 to some extent answered these criticisms. This new 32 valve, four cam unit, fitted with two Garrett T25 Turbocharged was the first of a new family of modular engines Lotus planned to sell to other manufactures. It delivered 353 bhp, could take the Esprit to 175 mph yet took up less, space in the engine bay than the old in line four. It also had huge torque and impressive smoothness but somehow, however impossible it seemed, Lotus had contrived to make it sound no more exciting than the old four, which stayed in production at the GT3. The real problem was that it was allied to a poor gear change that made the car difficult to drive smoothly.
To add yet another snag, Lotus expected buyers to have to put up with the same old interior, which had lost any charm and was beginning to look very dated. Lotus took the problems to heart and at the end of 1997 came up with a much improved V8 with a racing clutch and improved linkage for the Renault van derived gearbox. Now it was possible to fully access the V8s fantastic performance and enjoy its handling, which was still right at the top of the class.