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An exotic car has a different set of demands for tires. Owners of a Lotus Esprit might wonder, what are the best tires available for their Esprit?

Performance and exotic vehicles need some good rubber to get the most of out of their capabilities. Finding a tire that has been tried and true on these vehicles can be a challenge, but we have some answers for you.

Some of the best tires out there for your  Lotus Esprit include the Falkin Azenis RT615K+, Falken Azenis RT660, and Toyo Proxes Sport. All season tires include Vredestein Quatrac Pro. These tires do have varying levels of performance. Read on to learn more!

We examine many of the tires available for the Lotus Esprit and looked at online reviews for them, written by users who have used the tires themselves. These reviews are useful in addition to real world tests by websites like TireRack who offer a serious glimpse into how these tires do in all conditions.

We've tried many tires and interpreted lots of reviews. We'll use TireRack and other websites to both understand the needs of the Lotus Esprit and its tires.

Table of Contents

What is different about the Lotus Esprit?

Lotus isn't a vehicle brand name you hear about every day. As a British made exotic car, they are fairly rare in the United States – and if you own one and are seeking tires for one – this is gonna be fun! Depending on what year you buy, the Esprit has either a 301 horsepower 2.2 liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine or a much larger 8-cylinder engine that can run the 0-60 MPH test in just over four seconds. That's pretty fast. The Esprit is a little heavier than it used to be thanks for the larger engine and to a more plush interior that just weighs more, while previous decades of the Esprit were known for being rather lightweight machines.

The Lotus Esprit is perhaps best known for being featured in the James Bond film, the Spy Who Loved Me. The Esprit turned into from its typical exotic car race car self into a submarine.

How do people drive a Lotus Esprit?

For many drivers, the Esprit might not be an every day driver, though it is difficult to know that for sure. The vehicle isn't exactly meant for winter or snow driver, but a driver in the US south or west would be able to appreciate the far for more of the year.

Drivers say that the suspension is soft and natural, though it actually has been stiffened up since the last iteration of the Esprit in the 1970s and 1980s. One owner who bought a Esprit used said that the steering feels very “true” in the sense that a lack of electronics within the steering allows you to feel the pavement without the numbness often associated with more robust power steering systems.

The Espirit is capable of going very fast, and taking high speed corners. TireRack seems to agree with us, and presents primarily options relating to performance tires with just one or two typical all-season tires.

Best Tires for Lotus Esprit

Best Performance Tires for the Lotus Esprit – Falken Azenis RT615K+


First, let's clarify what kind of tire this is. The Azenis RT615K+ is an “Extreme Performance Summer Tire”. This means that the tire focuses primarily on dry grip and will willingly give up wet performance and overall comfort to achieve serious grip with your Lotus Esprit. We will introduce an all-season tire or two later that have a different philosophy.

The first thing you'll notice visually about the Azenis is the wide shoulder blocks. Some all-season tires offer nearly uniform treads and blocks. Not the Azenis. The wide blocks help you while cornering, and will help the Esprit feel natural and grounded. The asymmetric pattern encourages extra grip with its unique compound designed to be extra sticky.

The ratings for the Falken Azenis feel low in some areas, but are high in the right spots with a great 9.1 on the dry subjective test – noting that the person who is buying this tire fully expects the best dry grip possible with a performance vehicle.

In a true head to head test against other extreme performance tires, the Falken Azenis did well. The slalom time, which effectively measures cornering ability and speed, was very competitive though the Azenis didn't finish first – all tires were within .1 seconds. Dry stopping distance was great and right in line with everything but a Bridgestone Potenza.

While we will be getting into the pricing of other tires later, the Azenis is a good deal by comparison to others we well. Between $147 and $170 per tire, these are among the lowest priced but most competitive tires available at TireRack. One of the best things about ordering at TireRack is the inclusion of free shipping.

As you might expect for a true summer tire, you aren't offered a warranty for these tires.

Best Tire for Summer Performance – Falken Azenis RT660


Yes, you read that right. Another Falken Azenis. There is a reason why this tire made this list, and it's not because it is Falken again. The RT660 offers slightly better dry performance while wet performance falls a bit – not that we didn't expect that out of a performance tire! One big difference you'll notice with the RT660 is that the larger shoulders are indeed quite wide like the RT615K+ - but these are more prominent and on both sides. The RT660 also has a wider continuous strip in the middle for hard acceleration and braking.

In real world tests against some serious competitors, drivers said that the Azenis RT660 made their car feel very athletic and eager – because it was able to bite corners harder and accelerate freely through corners. Steering and road handling had among the highest ratings we've seen from a commercially available tire at 9. Slalom tires were very good too – though just .1 seconds faster than competition and a bit slower on wet. Stop tires were competitive too with about 1 to 2 feet of difference.

You'll add a little price onto the price of the previous Azenis, with the RT660 available for around $180 per tire on TireRack. If you are an Esprit owner, you might be willing to pay a little more for the extra performance. We know that if we owned an Esprit, we would take the opportunity to get every ounce of energy we could out of the rare vehicle.

Best Tire for Summer Performance – Yokohama ADVAN Neova AD08R


The Yokohama ADVAN adds a couple of elements that make it unique to this list and your Lotus Esprit in multiple ways. First, it has a higher than average wet rating at 8. While this doesn't put it in the same territory as an all season tire, it is an improvement over the previous two Falken tires. Yokohama uniquely adds a new silica to their protection to make the ADVAN more capable in rain by getting a better grip and better tread rigidity in wet conditions. Like the Falken's, you'll have two wide shoulder blocks on the exterior to encourage grip and a big center block. We have to admit that ADVAN looks cool and has a bit of a swirling flame appearance.

The Yokohama has another advancement in its treadwear. Treadwear can be overlooked for summer performance tires, though it really shouldn't because these tire are often driven the hardest. Instead, Yokohama has a 7.7 in treadwear. While this doesn't match all season tire either, it is better than either Falken by at least 10 percent.

Head to head tests against other summer tires gave the Yokohama high marks for steering and road handling, which his great for the Esprit. It also handled lap times better – finishing a half second to a full second ahead of some BFGoodrichs and was extremely competitive in the slalom both wet and dry.

The Yokohama also did well in an area where we don't expect much of the other two – on a 50 degree day. You should also note that you simply shouldn't use any of these tires in colder weather.

Best Grand Touring All Season Tire – Vredestein Quatrac Pro


We've arrived on tires you might be more comfortable driving through the rain or light snow, though of course you'll see a decline in acceleration and steering.

The Vredestein Quatrac gets high marks overall for wet and dry performance, 9.2 on both, though that should be taken with a big grain of salt. People who measure subjectively on an all season tire are probably driving a typical sedan or SUV and not a Lotus Esprit. Your comfort level should in fact go way up to the suggested 8.9 out of 10 simply because Grand Touring All Season Tires are definitely good at keeping you comfortable compared to performance tires.

Quatrac uses a high silica compound and an assymetric pattern to achieve both good regular road grip and flexibility and stability in wet conditions. No giant shoulder blocks to see here, so your Esprit won't turn as well as they would with Falkens or Yokohamas, but if you want a better balance of wet and dry performance, the Vredestein becomes a great option.

Unfortunately, the Vredestein was tested against other all season tires with a focus on winter performance and wet. The Lotus Esprit isn't well designed for either of these things.

Priced at $180 to $200 per tire depending on the size, these are more expensive- but the reason is clear through TireRack. The Vredestein does come with a warranty of 8 years or 50,000 miles, and the treadwear rating is much higher at 8.5 out of 10. Simple said, the Vredestein and other all season tires offer a completely different balance of abilities than our high performance tires, which are meant to grip on dry. You are paying more for longevity, all around grip, and more comfortable driving, though wicket fast turns don't feel as good.

Best High Performance Tire for Lotus Esprit – Toyo Proxes Sport


We are headed to a different site now! offers these starting at $152 for the front and a little over $200 for rear. You'll get wide, symmetrical shoulders blocks to handle those corners and a triple band of tread between for fast, long takeoffs.

DiscountTire and Toyo do offer a warranty, though it's not real long, we didn't expect much for a high performance tire. We appreciate the 25,000 mile warranty offered.

Best Ultra High Performance Summer Tire – Kumho Ecsta PS31


Ultra High performance tires are meant to be capable on wet and dry roads, making this tire a bit more unique to our selection. Kumho offers a different compound with High Dispersible Micro Silica meant to get a good covering of silica across the entire contact patch, and a higher grip resin for better wet traction. We haven't discussed sipes – the grooves that carry water out, because the higher performance tires don't often have them – but Kumho has diagnol sipes to improve resistance to hydroplaning.

The head to head test results are OK for a rather rare tire that fits on the Esprit. While Kumho doesn't ace the test against Dunlop and Firestone, it offers a good balance of high performance and wet driving, which is still an improvement depending on your local weather. Some complained that the performance was a little bouncy, which might not be a bad thing!

The Ecsta is reasonably priced at around $120 to $152 per tire on TireRack.

Frequently Asked Questions about Lotus Esprit Tires

How do I get Tire Rack tires installed?

If you are the kind of person who is used to going to a dealership or tire shop and picking out tires – having done maybe a little research, and had them installed while you wait, TireRack will be a little different. First, the best part of “how” is that TireRack offers free shipping to either your place or an independent affiliate of TireRack. Don't worry, TireRack offers more than a few affiliates and probably has plenty near you.

Maybe it's because we don't have a big truck to haul four tires or the garage space for it, but having a tire shop received our tires makes way more sense to us. Plus, if you get them delivered to your home, you might as well put them on yourself.

Of course, the shop will charge you some labor and potentially parts, but it might be a good time for an inspection anyway?

Can I put snow tires on my Lotus Esprit?

We'll be honest here: we looked at a couple of websites including TireRack, SimpleTire, and DiscountTire. At the moment, there aren't any snow tires available in the size a late 90s Lotus Esprit takes if that tells you anything.

We also assume that an Esprit driver probably enjoys a warmer winter climate and has a secondary vehicle with better snow and ice capabilities.

Does anything bad happen to high-performance tires in cold weather?

When shopping for tires, you are going to see numerous warnings for cold weather. These tires are not meant to be driven below winter temperatures – often starting at 40 to 50 degrees. They even recommend letting them warm up for a bit before going anywhere, then taking it easy when you start out. Why? The tires are literally soft to make them sticky when warm, and they can crack. Cracking definitely isn't good as it makes the structural integrity of the tire poor, and that's not good for cornering or much of anything.

Can I put two different size tires on my Esprit?

Yes, you can often can. Some years of the Esprit actually come with bigger tires on the rear. As a mid-engine and rear-wheel drive vehicle, different size tires serve a purpose. A larger rear wheel can get more grip with a slightly larger footprint, so your Esprit will have a better “launch” with more stability. In some vehicles, larger rear tires are more of a visual effect, but in this case, it can definitely help your Lotus.

The result is going to be paying slightly more and looking for two different tire sets, but believe us, it is worth it!

Why does my Lotus Esprit need high-performance tires?

Lotus is basically engineering race cars. Some of their trims and models are used in competitive racing, so you know these are fast and capable cars. Owners also pay a premium for what are often twin turbocharged engines packed into a fairly small vehicle. In order to get the best performance out of these vehicles, pairing them with sticky tires capable of keeping a grip on the road under strenuous driving.

Why use TireRack?

TireRack offers lots of tests on tires and has literally millions of individual reviews of tires with an uncomplicated system for looking at them. We love their real-world tests that include stopping distances and comparing multiple tires, too. We do keep in mind that the subjective ratings can be based on what the driver's experts of the vehicle. For example, an all-season tire can get a very high rating for your family SUV, with completely different expectations and abilities than a Lotus Esprit.

They've been in business for a long time and are very helpful in finding the right tire for you. Their tests go well beyond the vague ratings given by mechanic shops and tire stores.

How often should I replace tires on my Esprit?

As often as you need to - especially if performance diminishes. Keep in mind that the last Esprit left the assembly line over 10 years ago, so if you are buying one, the tires aren’t going to be factory new unless a private seller or dealer is being generous.

If you drive your Esprit aggressively, plan to replace the tires at least every couple of years. The price of tires will feel small relative to the performance you get out of a vehicle that very few people own. We just suggest you don’t do burnouts because those will wear your tires down rapidly.

How can I make Esprit tires last longer?

Rather than telling you to slow down in a mini supercar, our better suggestion is to maintain them. Park the vehicle inside to prevent cracks and damage. Have your tires rotated and inspected during regular maintenance. Drive with an even temper occasionally and you will see tread last a little longer.

Which tires would you pick?

The Falken Azenis RT660 sounds like a great option to us. When considering what the Esprit can do, we would rather buy a complete performance tire that has excellent handling and a chance in the rain. We’re also OK with paying a little more for it, considering the cost of the vehicle itself. This also assumes that the weather around is constantly reasonably warm because those kinds of tires don’t handle well otherwise.

Best Tires For Lotus Esprit

About The Author

Charles Redding

Charles Redding

I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.

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