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2008 Panoz Esperante

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Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • RWD handling
  • Performance potential
  • Classic sports-car styling
  • Serviceable at Ford dealerships

The Bad

  • Price

What to Know

about the 2008 Panoz Esperante
  • Standard 4.6-liter V-8
  • Available supercharged engine
  • Manual or automatic
  • Coupe or convertible

Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

Vehicle Overview
Based in Georgia, Panoz (pronounced "PAY-nose") doesn't always change its products on a model-year schedule. The hot-performing, rear-wheel-drive two-passenger Esperante last received substantial modifications for 2005, including new wheel choices, interior accent packages and sound systems. For 2008, the supercharged GTLM model gets a new engine and restyled interior as well as minor front and rear styling changes.

Base and GT convertibles are available, while the supercharged GTLM can be ordered as a coupe or convertible.

Well known to sports-car enthusiasts and racing fans, Panoz Auto Development started business early in the 1990s. Production soon turned toward the Esperante roadster. In February 2001, the first car was delivered.


Exterior
Exhibiting classic sports-car styling, the Esperante features elegant flowing lines and a long-hood/short-deck profile. Mounted to a modular aluminum chassis are aluminum body panels, which are shaped by a forming process that was adapted from the aerospace industry. Panoz says this method produces stronger body panels that are more dent-resistant.

The front section of the convertible top is made of aluminum, while the rear is hand-sewn canvas. The pieces are hinged in the middle, so the top lies flat on the rear deck. Esperantes have a fully independent suspension and all-disc brakes. Each car can be hand-painted to customer specifications.

Standard equipment on the GTLM includes 18-inch aluminum BBS wheels and dual-pis...
Vehicle Overview
Based in Georgia, Panoz (pronounced "PAY-nose") doesn't always change its products on a model-year schedule. The hot-performing, rear-wheel-drive two-passenger Esperante last received substantial modifications for 2005, including new wheel choices, interior accent packages and sound systems. For 2008, the supercharged GTLM model gets a new engine and restyled interior as well as minor front and rear styling changes.

Base and GT convertibles are available, while the supercharged GTLM can be ordered as a coupe or convertible.

Well known to sports-car enthusiasts and racing fans, Panoz Auto Development started business early in the 1990s. Production soon turned toward the Esperante roadster. In February 2001, the first car was delivered.


Exterior
Exhibiting classic sports-car styling, the Esperante features elegant flowing lines and a long-hood/short-deck profile. Mounted to a modular aluminum chassis are aluminum body panels, which are shaped by a forming process that was adapted from the aerospace industry. Panoz says this method produces stronger body panels that are more dent-resistant.

The front section of the convertible top is made of aluminum, while the rear is hand-sewn canvas. The pieces are hinged in the middle, so the top lies flat on the rear deck. Esperantes have a fully independent suspension and all-disc brakes. Each car can be hand-painted to customer specifications.

Standard equipment on the GTLM includes 18-inch aluminum BBS wheels and dual-piston aluminum PBR brake calipers with Brembo vented rotors. Base and GT models receive 17-inch wheels and the same brake hardware. GT and GTLM coupes and convertibles feature a longer nose and tail than the base Esperante.


Interior
Leather bucket seats can be ordered in varying colors with contrasting stitching. All gauges are positioned in the center of the dashboard. Standard features include a tilt steering wheel, cruise control, power windows, remote keyless entry and variable intermittent wipers.

Under the Hood
Ford supplies a hand-assembled 4.6-liter V-8 that produces 305 horsepower and 320 pounds-feet of torque in base and GT Esperantes. The engine teams with a Tremec five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic. In the GTLM, a new supercharged 5.4-liter V-8 generates 500-plus hp and works exclusively with a Tremec six-speed manual gearbox.

A limited-slip differential is standard. Panoz says the Esperante GT can accelerate from zero to 62 mph in 4.9 seconds and run a quarter-mile in 13.4 seconds at 107.3 mph. The GTLM can accelerate from zero to 62 mph in 4.2 seconds.


Safety
Antilock brakes are standard. The traction control system includes a deactivation switch.

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2008 Panoz Esperante currently has 0 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2008 Panoz Esperante has not been tested.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Esperante received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker