The GT3 was introduced by Lotus in 1996 as an "entry-level" Esprit. By
putting a smaller, less-powerful 2.0 liter engine and deleting some of the
luxury options of the Esprit they made the Esprit affordable to a new market
of supercar owners. Ironically, even though it was the Esprit line's
cheapest model, the GT3 turned out to be one of the best handling due to its
lighter weight. Many regard the GT3 to be almost as great in handling as the
venerable S4s. The smaller 2-liter engine was originally developed to
conform to Italian regulations. Spare engines later became the basis for
designing the GT3. The car was not available for sale in the USA because it
doesn't comply with federal regulations. GT3 changes over a standard S4
2 liter (type 920) 250 bhp engine.
No back pressure valve or throttle jack.
No tailgate mounted aerofoil. Swiss type
rear transom spoiler lip.
Single fuel filler on LH side.
GT3 decals along door bottoms.
Sport 300 type seats with backs painted
Cloth/vinyl interior trim.
Senotex instrument masks.
Body color composite gear lever shroud.
Aluminum gear lever knob.
Optional panel lamps rheostat; alarm; door
edge, bonnet and footwell lamps; lights on buzzer; one touch windows.
In order to commonize the GT3 with changes made to the Esprit V8 for the
1998MY, the following changes were made:
Restyled interior with compact instrument
binnacle, new center console and tunnel top.
Four instrument set, new tell tale
clusters, Elise style push switches. Deletion of boost and oil temperature
gauges and time clock.
Cobra 6422 security system with remote
Revised interior climate control system,
with rotary selector switches and electro-pneumatic flap operation.
Stepper motor water valve. New face level vents. Separate re-circulation
New windscreen wiper arm, washer bottle
Revised twin cable gearchange mechanism
dispenses with translator.
Modified transmission selector cross
shaft. Adopted on GT3 together with lower third gear and final drive ratio
in June '98 at VIN 2272..
New Kelsey-Hayes EBC 430 anti-lock brakes
electro-hydraulic control unit.