Panoz’s Esperante sports car returns from obscurity with updated styling and tech

Think of an American sports car, and the Panoz Esperante doesn’t immediately come to mind. That’s because the company founded by racing impresario don Panoz has been laying low for awhile.

Now Panoz hopes to get back into the limelight with an updated version of the Esperante, which first entered production in 2000.

First seen back in March, the 2015 Esperante Spyder and GT were built to commemorate Panoz’s 25th anniversary, and feature some key updates to the original design.

The styling hasn’t changed too much although, considering how few Esperantes have been built, most people probably wouldn’t know. Updates include new front and rear fascias, a shorter windshield, and a wide-body treatment for the new Esperante Spyder GT model.

Underneath, is the same aluminum chassis from previous Esperante models, but Panoz says it added some tubular steel and carbon-fiber elements for added rigidity. The body panels are also aluminum, with some carbon fiber bits thrown in.

Related: Panoz promises street-legal racecars

The Esperante Spyder uses a 430-horsepower of unknown displacement. Panoz says it will do 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, and reach a top speed of 172 mph.

There’s also a 560-hp supercharged V8 option for the Esperante Spyder GT. Performance figures for that version haven’t been released, but the extra power should equate to extra go. Both engines come standard with a six-speed manual transmission, while a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters is optional.

The interior also received an overhaul. Panoz says it’s roomier than before, but like any two-seat sports car will probably be a tight squeeze. Leather, aluminum trim, and a Momo steering wheel add some class, while a 10.6-inch ID4Motion digital gauge cluster helps bring the Esperante in line with the latest tech trends.

All of that comes with a price tag of $179,120 for the Esperante Spyder and $204,750 for the Esperante Spyder GT.

That price also buys exclusivity. Panoz bills this latest model as “America’s most exclusive sports car” and, with production capped at just 25 examples that’s not just a boast.