Boutique American automaker Panoz will celebrate a quarter-century of production with a redesigned 2015 Panoz Esperante Spyder, designated as a special 25th Anniversary Edition. The 2015 Panoz Esperante Spyder and uprated Spyder GT will benefit from engine, transmission, suspension, and braking improvements, as well both interior and exterior styling changes.
Although it is the most well-known of Panoz’s road-going cars (the Georgia-based company has participated in racing since 1997), the Panoz Esperante followed two earlier vehicles known as the Roadster and AIV (Aluminum Intensive Vehicle) Roadster. Since the low-volume automaker’s inception, Panoz has been known for its comprehensive use of lightweight aluminum, which was relatively uncommon in street cars as of 1996, when the Panoz AIV Roadster debuted.
The latest 2015 Panoz Esperante Spyder keeps the superplastic forming (SPF) aluminum chassis from the original model, but with significant improvements. Tubular steel A-pillars and rear subframe bracing, a carbon fiber windshield frame, and high-strength steel integrated roll hoops all contribute to better stiffness and rigidity than previous cars. The updated styling isn’t quite as wild as that of the Panoz Abruzzi concept, which debuted in 2011, but it’s certainly more aggressive looking than before.
The 2015 Panoz Esperante Spyder will also continue to use Ford-sourced V-8 engines, tuned to 430 hp in the standard 4.6-liter Spyder. The addition of a supercharger bumps power to 560 hp in the Spyder GT. A six-speed Tremec manual transmission is standard on both models, as is an optional paddle-shifted six-speed automatic. Although no details are available on the performance of the GT model, the 2015 Panoz Esperante Spyder can sprint from 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds with a top speed of 172 mph, and a braking distance of 112 feet from 60 to 0 mph. The GT's extra power should help it improve upon those first two metrics.
The GT’s added carbon fiber fenders, rocker panels, and optional front splitter and rear diffuser render it slightly wider than the standard Esperante, but Panoz isn’t saying exactly to what amount. Weigh-in totals 3128 and 3287 pounds for the Spyder and Spyder GT, respectively. Both models, however, will come with an available tonneau cover—a hardtop and soft top are reportedly still in development.
Fully independent rear suspensions remain the standard on the 2015 Panoz Esperante Spyder, this time with a hollow front anti-roll bar, tubular steel independent upper and lower control arms, updated bushings, and coil-over springs. The standard Spyder boasts 19-inch wheels all around with Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, 14-inch brake rotors with four-piston Brembo calipers up front, and 13-inch rotors with floating calipers at the rear. The GT model gets six-piston Brembos at the front, and four-piston units at the rear.
Panoz revised the interior as well, adding fine leather with Alcantara trim pieces, a Momo steering wheel, a new all-digital instrument cluster, and a 7-inch center console display.
Pricing for the 2015 Panoz Esperante Spyder and Spyder GT will begin at $179,120 and $294,750, respectively. Panoz plans to build about 25 of these 25th Anniversary Edition models, and as in the past, customers can expect to have a lot of latitude when it comes to customization. The company claims it can tune the 4.6-liter V-8 to north of 800 hp, if necessary.