Panoz, an American sports car manufacturer founded in 1989, rolled out the Esperante back in 2000. Developed as a mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive, luxury sport convertible, the first Esperante featured an aluminum body and a modular, extruded-aluminum chassis with steel subframes. The first iteration was powered by a Ford-sourced, 4.6-liter, V-8 engine that cranked out 305 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque with modifications made by Elan Motorsport Technologies. First-gen models were capable of 0-to-60-mph sprints of 4.9 to 5.1 seconds and top speeds of up to 155 mph. The Esperante also spawned a GTLM race car with notable results in the American Le Mans series. As we approach the 2015 model year, Panoz has launched an updated version of the Esperante, this time with larger, more powerful engines, a revised exterior and a completely new interior.

As with most Esperantes, the 2015 model is available in both standard and GT versions, with the latter being highlighted by a wider body kit. The revised Esperante Spyder GT comes just as Panoz is celebrating its 25th anniversary as one of America’s most exclusive sports car manufacturer. Let’s see what Don Panoz has in store this time.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Panoz Esperante Spyder GT.

  • 2015 Panoz Esperante Spyder GT
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V8
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    430
  • Displacement:
    5.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    3.7 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    172 mph
  • Price:
    204750
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2015 Panoz Esperante Spyder GT High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Panoz Esperante Spyder GT High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Panoz Esperante Spyder GT High Resolution Exterior
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Unlike the regular Spyder, the Spyder GT sports a wider body with aluminum panels and flared carbon-fiber fenders and rocker panels.

The 2015 Esperante Spyder GT may still resemble the original vehicle launched in 2000, but take a closer look and revised details will quickly surface. Up front, the Spyder GT gains a redesigned front bumper and a new set of headlamps. The same is noticeable around back, where a sportier apron replaces the previous piece. The taillights have also been revamped, while a black center piece aims for a Ferrari-like appearance. The prominent spoiler has been ditched for this model.

Unlike the regular Spyder, the Spyder GT sports a wider body with aluminum panels and flared carbon-fiber fenders and rocker panels. The GT is thus wider and more aerodynamic than the standard Spyder, which affords it quicker acceleration times and better performance at the track.

Exterior Dimensions

Front Track Width 62 inches (1,575mm)
Rear Track Width 61 inches (1,549mm)
Wheelbase 106 inches (2,692mm)
Length 182 inches (4,623mm)
Height 47.9 inches (1,217mm)
Width (excluding mirrors) 74.75 inches (1,899mm)
Width (including mirrors) 76.5 inches (1,943mm)

Interior

2015 Panoz Esperante Spyder GT Interior
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2015 Panoz Esperante Spyder GT Interior
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2015 Panoz Esperante Spyder GT Interior
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The center console features a seven-inch infotainment screen with navigation, and DVD and satellite radio connectivity.

Although the car’s exterior is still reminiscent of the original Esperante, the Spyder GT benefits from an entirely new interior. High-quality leather now covers everything from the seats and the door panels to the dashboard and the center console, with carbon-fiber inserts rounding off the cabin. Alcantara accents can be had as an option for even more class. The race-inspired seats feature form-fitting bolsters and carbon-fiber shells, and come equipped with Schroth four-point safety harnesses with inertia reels and competition lock-out switches.

A state-of-the-art, 10.6-inch digital instrument display replaces the old gauge-cluster unit, which can also be operated via controls mounted on the leather-wrapped Momo steering wheel. The latter comes standard, but customers looking for something fancier have the option of ordering a carbon-fiber wheel wrapped in leather and Alcantara. The center console features a seven-inch infotainment screen with navigation, a DVD player and satellite radio connectivity.

The Esperante Spyder GT also comes with push-button ignition, while the extensive options list includes carbon-fiber door sills, wood trim and "to some extent nearly anything the customer desires." Try getting that on a 2015 Corvette Stingray!

Drivetrain

2015 Panoz Esperante Spyder GT Drivetrain
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These custom units are to be built in conjunction with Elan Power Products and deliver more than 800 horsepower.

As with most recent iterations of the Esperante, the Spyder GT is also available with a choice of two engines. The base model is motivated by a naturally aspirated, 5.0-liter V-8 rated at 430 horsepower, while the more expensive option brings a supercharged, 5.4-liter eight-banger with 560 ponies on tap. Both units feature sequential multi-port electronic fuel injection and a 3.55-to-1-ratio, limited-slip differential. A close-ratio Tremec T56 Magnum six-speed manual transmission is offered as standard, but a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters can be had as an option.

Performance figures have yet to be released, but expect the Spyder GT to be slightly quicker than the standard Spyder, which takes about 3.7 seconds to accelerate from naught to 60 mph. Top speed is likely to remain at 172 mph.

Although details are thin as of 9/5/2014, Panoz mentions the possibility of offering an even more powerful engine with the Spyder GT. These custom units are to be built in conjunction with Elan Power Products and deliver more than 800 horsepower. There’s no word on how many liters such an engine will displace, but expect a eight cylinders with a large supercharger on top.

Chassis, Suspension and Brakes

2015 Panoz Esperante Spyder GT High Resolution Exterior
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Braking power is provided by 14-inch discs with six-piston Brembo calipers up front and 13-inch discs with four-piston calipers on the rear.

The Esperante rides on a modular extruded-aluminum chassis patented by Panoz itself. The structure is completed with highly modified stampings sourced from various suppliers, in-house tubular-steel subframes and carbon-fiber composite superstructures. The result is a very stiff, durable, and lightweight structure that enables the Esperante to be awfully quick in both coupe and roadster body styles.

The Spyder GT also features fully independent front and rear suspension systems with a hollow front sway bar, tubular-steel independent upper and lower control arms, revised bushings, coil-over springs and adjustable nitrogen-charged shocks. Braking power is provided by 14-inch discs with six-piston Brembo calipers up front and 13-inch discs with four-piston calipers on the rear. The 19-inch BBS wheels come wrapped in high-performance Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires.

Prices

2015 Panoz Esperante Spyder GT Exterior
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The Esperante Spyder GT is priced from $204,750, about $25,000 more than the 25th Anniversary Edition Esperante Spyder. Needless to say, the Spyder GT is awfully expensive in its base trim, fetching more than a Chevrolet Corvette Stingray and a Dodge Viper SRT put together.

Competition

Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

2014 - 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray High Resolution Exterior
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When it comes to front-engine, rear-wheel-drive sports cars, the C7 Corvette Stingray is definitely a vehicle you should consider. Completely redesigned for the 2014 model year, the seventh-generation Corvette doesn’t feature just a reshaped body, but an overhauled interior too. GM finally ditched the `Vette’s cheap cabin for a more premium layout with soft-touch surfaces and plenty of leather.

A new engine has been developed as well. Dubbed LT1, the V-8 unit displaces 6.2 liters and churns 455 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque in its standard guise. Add the performance exhaust system and output jumps to 460 ponies. The Convertible needs only 3.8 seconds to sprint from 0 to 60 mph, making it fast enough to take on the base Esperante Spyder GT. While the two sports cars are pretty much on par as far as performance goes, the Corvette is arguably the better looking car. The Corvette also wins when it comes to pricing, thanks to its $56,000 sticker.

Sure, the `Vette might not have the fancy interior of the Esperante, but we mustn’t forget the latter comes in at more than $200,000.

Conclusion

2015 Panoz Esperante Spyder GT High Resolution Exterior
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The Panoz Esperante is far from being a mainstream sports car, but the Spyder GT is a colorful presence in today’s market. And although it won’t win any beauty contests, this V-8-powered convertible is impressive once you realize nearly every piece of its body and chassis is crafted from aluminum and carbon-fiber. If an exclusive, race-bred sports car is what interests you most and you have more than $200,000 to throw around, then the Esperante Spyder GT is a vehicle you need to consider. Otherwise, you’re better off with a Corvette or, if a rear-mounted engine doesn’t bother you, a Porsche 911.

  • Leave it
    • * Not exactly a looker
    • * Awfully expensive
    • * Tough market
    • * Full specs not yet available

Press Release

The 2015 Panoz 25th Anniversary Edition Esperante Spyder and Spyder GT mark a new chapter in the Panoz LLC© history where all-new performance features and luxury amenities thrust this hallmark of Panoz sports car design far forward while remaining true to its Esperante styling roots.

2015 Panoz Esperante Spyder GT High Resolution Exterior
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“When it came to painting a new interpretation of the Esperante, it was very important to not abandon our origins and recognize that an Esperante must look like an Esperante,” said Panoz LLC President and COO Bill Orr. “At the same time, we knew we needed to deliver the performance and features that Panoz sports car aficionados and fans of performance expect in the 21st century.”

According to Panoz LLC’s Director of Product Planning/Engineering John M. Leverett, the development team retained important and proven lightweight measures such as using SPF (Superplastic Forming) aluminum body panels and Panoz LLC’s patented modular extruded aluminum chassis with a light-but-strong carbon fiber superstructure. But nearly everything else – from engine and transmission packages and suspension and brake systems to the luxurious interior and functional carbon fiber cockpit structures – is all new or significantly upgraded.

“This is not yesteryear’s Esperante,” said Leverett.

America’s Most Exclusive Sports Car
According to John A. Leverett, Panoz LLC’s vice president of sales and marketing, the 25th Anniversary Edition Esperante Spyder is a special exclusive hand-built model that celebrates the company’s racing heritage as well as Panoz sports cars of the past 25 years. It is the direct result of close technological collaboration among the various Panoz affiliates, including Élan Motorsports Technologies, Élan Composites, Panoz Engineering Services, JRD Tuning, and Panoz LLC.

A hallmark of the Panoz LLC approach is its one-on-one “Extreme Personalization” process with the customer and the Panoz designer driving the results to create the customer’s dream car while nurturing a true personal relationship.

2015 Panoz Esperante Spyder GT Drivetrain
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Panoz LLC expects to produce about 25 examples of the 25th Anniversary Edition Esperante Spyder and Spyder GT to commemorate the anniversary milestone. Production will be intentionally limited to a handful of custom builds for select customers, keeping with Panoz LLC’s goal of creating America’s most exclusive custom sports car.

The Esperante Spyder takes just 3.7 seconds (estimated) to reach 60 mph (3.9 seconds [estimated] to 62 mph or 100 km/h) on its way to a top test track speed of 172 mph. It can cover the quarter mile in 12.5 seconds/112 mph.

On the braking side of the spectrum, the Esperante Spyder goes from 60 mph to zero in just 112 feet. The performance specifications for the Esperante Spyder GT are not yet available

The Panoz Modular Chassis
The common ingredient in all outstanding sports cars is a lightweight yet robust and stiff chassis that is capable of handling the acceleration, braking and lateral g-force rigors of performance driving.

The Esperante Spyder starts with the company’s patented modular extruded aluminum chassis, adds a few highly modified stampings sourced in the United States, Panoz tubular steel subframes and carbon fiber composite superstructures. Engineers added tubular steel A-pillars as an important structural upgrade over traditional stamped parts and also added more tubular bracing to the rear subframe. “This setup works well,” said John M. Leverett. “The end result is very stiff, strong, durable and lightweight structure in an open-cockpit sports car with the performance attributes rivaling the inherently strong and stiff closed-top construction of a coupe or sedan.”

2015 Panoz Esperante Spyder GT Drivetrain
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The Spyder has a new, shorter windshield reinforced by the aforementioned tubular steel A-pillars with an all-new carbon fiber windshield frame. The carbon fiber windshield frame is not just high-tech window dressing; it makes extensive use of uni-directional carbon fiber for additional strength and stiffness. Twin high-strength steel roll hoops braced into the rear subframe also help contribute to the vehicle’s stiffness and increased structural integrity. It also contributes greatly to the new car’s low-slung profile.

Engineers struck an ideal balance between the chassis rigidity needed to deliver very high levels of traction, braking and cornering and a design that would not severely impact overall ride comfort.

Esperante Spyder and Spyder GT Bodies
The Esperante Spyder and Spyder GT each offer unique sports car bodies. The Esperante Spyder has the proven and lightweight SPF (Superplastic Forming, commonly referred to as ‘super formed’) aluminum body revolutionized on previous Esperante variants. It is made in Riverside, Calif. through a process developed for aerospace applications.

Panoz was the first U.S. auto manufacturer to use super formed aluminum panels for its bodies when it created the 1992 Panoz Roadster. It followed up in 1996 adding an aluminum chassis and an all-aluminum modular V8 engine for the Panoz AIV Roadster. It became America’s first Aluminum Intensive Vehicle (AIV), a process used by some of the world’s most elite vehicle manufacturers.

The Esperante Spyder GT is a wide body version that features a mix of SPF aluminum panels and strong and lightweight carbon fiber body panels that are created with help from Élan Composites. A division of Élan Motorsports Technologies (a Panoz LLC affiliate), Élan Composites is an advanced composites parts and tooling maker that uses modern, ultra-lightweight materials such as carbon fiber, prepreg glass, aramid fibers, Kevlar®, aluminum and Nomex® core, and woven polypropylene to create components for automotive, motorsports, aerospace and many other applications.

2015 Panoz Esperante Spyder GT Interior
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A key visual difference with past Esperante sports cars is the car’s namesake Spyder configuration. The low-slung, open-cockpit, two-seat configuration features a visually dynamic carbon fiber panel where the convertible top traditionally is located. It conceals the functional twin roll hoops, houses the car’s twin fuel doors and assemblies, and gently flows to the leading edge of the Esperante’s trunk lid. Included is a tonneau cover to seal and protect the cockpit from the elements. Engineers are developing an optional hardtop as well as a soft top that Panoz LLC is planning to offer in the very near future.

Both bodies feature completely redesigned and aggressive front fascias. In back is a new rear fascia with a center exhaust port and a blacked-out taillight and license plate section that coordinates with the black carbon fiber trim on the car.

The Spyder GT features a wide body version with flared carbon fiber fenders and rocker panels with an optional clear-coated carbon fiber front splitter and rear diffuser.

Esperante Spyder GT dimensions are not yet available.

Suspension, Steering and Braking
The Esperante Spyder features completely revised and fully independent front and rear suspension systems with a hollow front sway bar, tubular steel independent upper and lower control arms, revised bushings, coil-over springs and double adjustable nitrogen-charged shocks.

Steering control comes by way of hydraulically assisted rack and pinion setup providing quick-response sports car steering of 2.6 turns from lock-to-lock. The overall turning radius is 36.9 feet (11.25 meters).

Of course, Panoz engineers ensured the Spyder’s braking performance is on par with its outstanding driving capabilities. In the front are 14-inch (356mm) two-piece floating internally ventilated and slotted discs with four-piston Brembo® calipers. The rear brakes feature 13-inch (330mm) two-piece floating internally ventilated and slotted discs with floating calipers. The Spyder GT features six-piston monobloc Brembo® calipers up front and four-piston Brembo® calipers in the back.

Finally, the 25th Anniversary Edition Esperante Spyder rides on 8.5 x 19-inch front and 9.5 x 19-inch rear forged aluminum BBS wheels with 245/40 ZR19 and 285/35 ZR 19 Michelin Pilot Super Sport ultra-high-performance front and rear sport tires. An optional two-piece forged aluminum BBS RS GT wheel set is available. BBS aluminum monobloc front and rear wheels measuring 10 x 19 inches and 12 x 19 inches are standard on the Spyder GT, and all come equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS).

2015 Panoz Esperante Spyder GT High Resolution Exterior
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The Panoz designers’ and engineers’ weight-savings measures paid off as the Esperante Spyder weighs just 3,128 pounds and 3,287 pounds for the Spyder GT.

The Heart of the Esperante Spyder – Multiple Powertrain Choices
Keeping with its customization objectives, Panoz LLC offers customers several high-performance powertrain packages ranging from 430 naturally aspirated horsepower to 560 supercharged horsepower.

The standard powertrain package is a Panoz/ Élan Power Products-tuned naturally aspirated 430-horsepower V8 engine featuring an all-aluminum block and aluminum heads. Optional is a 560-horsepower supercharged aluminum block V8 with aluminum heads. Both are mated to a heavy duty, close-ratio Tremec® T56 Magnum six-speed manual transmission as standard equipment. A six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters is available as an option.

For those desiring more power, Panoz LLC, with help from Élan Power Products (a division of Panoz LLC affiliate Élan Motorsports Technologies), can custom build engines producing 800-plus horsepower. Élan Power Products has decades of experience producing high-performance engines for street applications as well as sports car and open-wheel competition.

All engines feature sequential multi-port electronic fuel injection. Other features include a 3.55:1 ratio limited slip differential in an aluminum housing with heavy duty half shafts.

Entirely New Interior with Modern Connectivity
Past Esperante interiors are absolutely unique to Panoz as designers and craftsmen were able to add Panoz styling by mixing custom work with components sourced from U.S. automotive suppliers.

2015 Panoz Esperante Spyder GT Exterior
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Today the Esperante Spyder features an entirely new and luxurious full leather interior with optional Alcantara® accents on the seats, dash, door panels, center console, and as inserts on the Spyder’s carbon fiber Spyder shell.

In the ongoing effort to save weight, the standard lightweight sports seats feature manual adjustability and offer outstanding support and luxurious comfort. Panoz LLC also offers the optional ultra-lightweight race-inspired seats, which feature form-fitting functional bolsters and carbon fiber shells on the seatbacks. Both are adorned with embossed Panoz logos on the headrests, and multi-tone leather and tan stitching options are also available to suit individual customer tastes.

Both the standard and the optional seats come with Schroth four-point safety harnesses with inertia reels and competition lock-out switches. They operate like regular seat belts for normal driving but with a push of a button they can be locked to perform like a harness to help keep occupants secure during performance driving activities such as closed-course track or autocross events.

The interior offers more room than the previous generation Esperante models, with 44.25 inches (1,124mm) of legroom, 54 inches (1,372mm) of shoulder room, and 54 inches (1,372mm) of elbow room. The trunk provides 8.8 cubic feet (249 liters) of cargo capacity.

Most striking is the Esperante Spyder’s all-new leather dash with its state-of-the-art electronic gauge cluster positioned directly in front of the driver. While a departure from the Esperante’s traditional centrally positioned gauge cluster, the new design is a fresh approach and further indication of the sports car’s evolution.

The 10.6-inch ID4Motion digital instrument display features graphic representations of high-tech gauges to monitor the car’s vital systems such as speed, rpm, water temperature, oil pressure, charging, temperature, fuel level, and odometer. The display also has two “skins” allowing the driver to choose between traditional black background graphics or a light brushed aluminum/silver background.

Brushed billet aluminum accents for the gauge cluster, air vents, and lower dash add a touch of modern sophistication and richness to the overall appearance and tie in nicely with the aluminum body and chassis philosophy.

Customer options include the ability to have these components painted, created out of carbon fiber, or adorned in several unique colors of “billet” wood. Instead of the thin layers of wood veneer traditionally used by many auto manufacturers, which tends to fade or peel over time, Panoz LLC uses a resin-infused wood process that enables the company to offer real, solid wood trim in a stable, durable form. Several exotic wood options and a range of unique colors enables to Panoz Esperante Spyder customer to personalize their car’s interiors to suit their individual tastes.

Standard is a 13.75-inch diameter leather-wrapped Momo© steering wheel features the Panoz logo and controls for the ID4Motion display. Customers can also upgrade to an extra thick, 14-inch diameter D-shaped carbon fiber custom steering wheel with leather or Alcantara® accents and available custom stitching. The turn indicators are operated using a conventional single stalk that also contains controls for the two-speed, intermittent wipers and the headlights’ high/low beam functions.

The new dash flows elegantly into the center console that features a 7-inch multimedia infotainment screen with navigation, DVD and AM/FM/SirusXM® satellite radio (subscription required), connectivity for many mobile and portable audio devices, and full HVAC controls.

2015 Panoz Esperante Spyder GT High Resolution Exterior
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Power window and door lock controls are located at the passengers’ fingertips on the billet center console near the brushed aluminum gear shifter/selector along with the competition belt lock switch. Keyless ignition with push-button start adds further convenience.

Clear-coated carbon fiber door sills and a range of optional trim, including wood, carbon fiber and to some extent nearly anything the customer desires, also are available. Panoz LLC also offers a range of custom options, giving customers an array of personalization choices to suit their individual desires and needs.

With a price of $179,120 for the 25th Anniversary Edition Esperante Spyder and $204,750 (plus destination) for the Spyder GT version, these all-new Esperante models continue to herald the Panoz LLC goal of offering its customers true exclusivity, uncompromising performance and outstanding value.

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