Introduction _ Basic details of Lotus Esprit S4

1. Basic Details  

Photo's by Matthew Watkinson


Build Seq No:




Owned Since:


Previous Owners:


Esprit S4



Calypso Red

Magnolia Hide + Carbon Fibre Dash & Trim

Sept 1999



Oxford, UK


628 Lotus Esprit S4 built . 337 Imported to the US. 94 UK registered


2. Technical Specification    

Lotus introduces the latest evolution of this classic mid-engined performance car, the Lotus Esprit S4. Featuring a stunning, lithe and distinctive exterior, a refreshing new look to the interior, major advances in its suspension dynamics, and a range of other detail improvements, the S4 maintains world-leading standards of handling, performance and style for which Lotus has become famous over the last 40 years. For the first time in the model's history, the S4 is equipped with power steering.


Width: 73.5"
Height: 45.3"
Length: 172"
Wheelbase: 96"


Mid-mounted Lotus 2.2 litter aluminium alloy 16-valve charge cooled engine. Water-cooled TB03 turbocharger with integral wastegate. Multi-port fuel injection system and distributor less ignition with ECM.



New high-torque 5-speed transaxle with hydraulically operated clutch driving rear wheels. New precision gearshift mechanism.


Rigid steel zinc-coated backbone chassis, composite bodywork with seating for two.



Maximum speed: 165 mph
0 - 60 mph: 4.7 seconds
0 - 100 mph: 11.9 seconds

Maximum power: 264 bhp at 6500 rpm.
Maximum torque: 261 lb ft at 3900 rpm.

Power/Weight Ratio: 197.31 bhp/ton


Kerb Weigh: 1339 Kg.
Unladen Weight: 1320 Kg.

Front Suspension:

Independent by upper and lower wishbones, with revised anti-roll bar, coil springs and telescopic dampers.
Power steering (PAS) fitted as standard.

Rear Suspension:

Independent by upper and lower transverse links, with radius arms, coil springs and telescopic dampers.
Aluminium hub carriers.


Dual circuit, full power actuated with three channel anti-lock brakes (ABS).
10.2" dia ventilated front discs.
10.8" dia solid rear discs.


New 5-spoke alloy design, 17" diameter. 7j front and 8.5j rear rim sizes.

Optional Equipment:

Metallic paint, 6-disc remote CD changer, removable transparent roof panel.


Fuel System:

Fuel tank capacity: 19.3 gallons.
Fuel requirements: Premium unleaded.



Unique Goodyear Eagle GS-A asymmetric.
Front: 215/40ZR 17 Rear: 245/45 ZR 17

Fuel Economy:

EPA City driving 17 mpg
EPA Highway driving 27 mpg
Self-balancing dual fuel tanks, capacity 19.3 gallons

Standard Equipment:

Full Connolly Leather interior, air conditioning, power windows and door locks, electrically operated fuel filler flaps, heated and electrically operated remote outside mirrors, delay safety interior lighting system, three phase ice warning system, tinted glass. Primary safety equipment is three point retractable safety belts and Supplemental Inflatable Restraints (airbag) contained with a kevlar and aluminium passenger safety cell. AM/FM cassette receiver with four matched speakers. Four-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS) are standard.

3. Production Figures

After a build run which lasted 25 years, The DLVA have informed us just 1462 Esprits were registered in the UK in 2004

There were a total of 628 Lotus Esprit S4 models built over a 4 year span. Lotus US have records showing that a total of 337 Esprit S4 models were imported to the US. That leaves a remaining 291 for all other markets including the UK. The breakdown by year is show opposite. The latest date from the DLVA in the UK indicate that only 95 S4 Esprits were registered in the UK in 2004.

In 1994, there were 3 different Esprit models built by Lotus, totaling 370. The S4, the S4s, and the Sport 300. The Sport 300 was only available in the UK, and the S4s was likely a prototype, as there was only one built. Here's the complete breakdown for 1994:



Total Esprit S4 Built by Year

Exported to US by Year

1992 4 -
1993 233 118
1994 339 137
1995 46 82
1996 3 -

Total Esprit Build Figures in 1994.

Esprit S4 Models = 339
Esprit S4s Models = 1
Esprit Sport300 Models = 30

4. Vin Numbers

Frits van der Veen in the Netherlands has created a clever VIN Decoder for his website. Karl-Franz Marquez (EspritFactFile) has now modified the decoder to handle all VIN codes up until the 2003 Model Year. Click here to take you to his VIN Decoder on the EspritFactFile website. To understand what all the characters in your particular VIN mean you can use the charts.





This is the output from the VIN decoder for my S4. As you can see it was the 33rd S4 produced. Although built in Hethel in 1993 it was not registered by the DLVA in the UK until 1994.

4. S4 Model Evolution by Year  
March 1993, Esprit S4 (U.K. & Export, not USA): VIN: P 0001 to 0010, 1011 onwards




  • Restyled front bumper and spoiler, bonnet, sills, rear aerofoil, transom spoiler, rear valance. 
  • Power steering. 
  • Front suspension geometry altered with provision for camber adjustment. 
  • Rear suspension camber changed, with provision for adjustment. 
  • 17 inch Lotus styled 5-spoke alloy wheels, with 215/40 ZR17 (front) and 245/45 ZR17 (rear) Goodyear Eagle GS-A tires. 
  • New door window lift mechanism, incorporating 'one touch' and obstruction sensing. 
  • New door lock mechanism and CDL, with single key operation of vehicle locks. 
  • Megamoss vehicle alarm includes 'deadlocking' and engine crank immobilization. 
  • Restyled interior including: fascia, crash pad and glovebox lid, seat upholstery, instrument layout and carbon fiber look-alike masks, centre console and tunnel trim, door panels, steering wheel.
  • Elan type front side/turn lamps, new front fog lamps and interior lamp 
  • Electric vacuum pump 
  • Tailgate-mounted radio aerial. 
  • Revised 'High Torque' RH shift transmission. 
  • New wheel changing scissor jack. 

July 1993 , Esprit S4 (U.K. & Export inc. USA): VIN: R 1090 

  •  Different window lift motors with no 'one touch' or obstruction sensing.

September 1993, Esprit S4 (USA & LHD Export): VIN: R 1163 

  • Passenger side inflator module mounted in place of glovebox. 
  • Passenger side knee bolster. 
  • New DERM and dual pole arming sensor. 
December 1993, Esprit S4 LHD: VIN: R 1242  Esprit S4 RHD; VIN: R 1250 
  •  Wiring harnesses rationalized. 
  • Electrical components resited inc. engine bay components to RHR wheel arch. 
  • Addition of sensing switches to front bonnet and tailgate for alarm and illumination. 
  • Addition of front luggage compartment lamp, and 'lights on' buzzer (non-USA). 
  • New type inertia switch RHF engine bay, and Elan type electric aerial for some markets, LHR quarter. 
  • New engine coolant header tank, with incorporation of chargecooling system. 

June 1994, Esprit S4 Non-USA:  VIN: R 1443 (+ R 1377)  July '94 ; Esprit S4 USA:   VIN:  S1391   June'94 

  • Front brakes: four piston Brembo calipers and larger discs. 
  • Rear brakes: new calipers and larger ventilated discs. 
  • Rear circuit pressure limiting/proportioning valve deleted. 
  • Revised front hubs and rear hub carriers. 
  • 16" spare wheel supplied to clear new brakes. 
January 1995, Esprit S4 (non-USA): VIN: S 2000 (+1496) 
  • Caerbont instruments with 100 mm speedo & tacho, analogue clock. 
  • Oil temp. gauge and ice detection deleted. 
  • Footwell lamps added. 
  • Revised trim stitching. 
  • Walnut veneer replaces 'carbon fiber' instrument panel and door finishers. 
March 1995, Esprit S4. VIN: S 2031 (RHD) S 2017 (LHD) 
  • CFC Free, R134a air con conversion.
  • New compressor with high-pressure relief valve incorporated on rear cover; service Shraeder valves replaced by snap connectors in the suction and discharge hoses. 
  • Square shaped parallel flow condensers (2 oft) mounted side by side and plumbed in parallel. 
  • New separate chargecooler radiator. 
  • Receiver-drier with changed molecular sieve material. 
  • New hoses and pipe work for increased permeability gas. 
May 1995, Esprit S4: VIN:  S 2034 
  • Body lower molding commonised in common with non-USA S4S (enlarged wheel housings)
September 1995, Esprit S4; VIN: T2044 
  • Specification unchanged. Note that USA models starting with S 3000 are considered 95-1/2MY. No official '96 M.Y. USA cars were built.




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