1997 to 1998MY

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 include:

In order to commonize the GT3 with changes made to the Esprit V8 for the 1998MY, the following changes were made: