This little white coupé with a slightly retro feel was built from a blank sheet of paper in four months by forty Espera students, on a limited budget of €20,000. When you see the result, it's hard to believe that in such a short time and with such limited resources, the Essenza is so mature and well thought-out.

The Essenza at the 2010 Paris Motor Show (photo Philippe Calvet)

An American accent

Espera Montbéliard students have outdone themselves by creating the Essenza, a small white coupe masked in black lacquer on the front and rear. The Essenza is inspired by American Corvettes and Vipers, according to the students. Its distinguishing features are its long hood, hollowed-out sides including an air outlet, a totally blind rear end and a Zagato-like double-bossed roof. The headlamps come from an Alfa Romeo Mito, the windscreen from a Fiat Barchetta, the door handles from a Peugeot 307 and the air vents from a Citroën C6.

Leather interior with original BMW instrumentation (photo Philippe Calvet)

Small but luxurious

The interior is not to be outdone, and leaves you breathless when you consider the constraints of rapid design and manufacture imposed on the students. The meters and other instruments come from BMW. They are set into a black lacquered dashboard, with customized white meter backgrounds. The interior is trimmed in violet-colored leather. The driving position is perfect, according to Option Auto journalists who tested the car.

Blind rear, central exhaust outlet and fuel filler flap (photo Philippe Calvet)

German heart

Mechanically, the car is powered by a BMW six-cylinder engine developing 200 hp. This, combined with the car's featherweight (850 kg), augurs well for a thrilling drive. The Essenza is not just a model, but a prototype on the road. It was driven for the first time just before the Geneva Motor Show by the school's teachers. Apparently, the exhaust system is rather liberated!

The Essenza is one of Espera's most accomplished cars (photo by Philippe Calvet)


Presenting one's work at a prestigious trade show such as Geneva is a crowning achievement. Media coverage is strong, even if the "mainstream" media don't dwell enough on Espera's unique creations. When you see the Essenza, you know that the passion for the automobile is still there, firmly anchored.


Press review

Extract from the brochure distributed at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show

"A true fruit of passion, ESSENZA was born of inspiration drawn from the depths of each of its creators. A paradox between the generosity of its shapes and the élan of its lines, ESSENZA is a concept with a strong character, despite the purity of its color. In just a few weeks, the 2009-2010 graduating class of ESPERA Sbarro Montbéliard has given this unique concept a soul and personality. ESSENZA is the culmination of over 15,000 hours of work and discovery of traditional prototyping methods."

Extract from an article published in on February 22, 2010

"Essenza is the christening name of the exceptional car designed by the Espera school. At the end of the month, the 40 students and their four instructors will hit the road to present it at the 80th Geneva International Motor Show (March 4-14). No mean feat. Showcasing a school's expertise alongside the world's leading automakers (250 exhibitors from 30 countries representing some 700 brands), who are racing to Geneva to present the latest additions to their fleets, gets the adrenalin pumping.
"We can't wait to get there. At the same time, we're a bit scared," admits Martin, 23, from Épinal (BTS in industrial automotive mechanics).
"We're a school, not a major manufacturer," reassures his troops Anthony, a trainer at Espera. The big designers come to see us at every show, congratulate the students, like last year's Chris Bangle, former BMW designer". [...]

And what does the mysterious Essenza that emerged from the paint booths on Thursday look like? "A Corvette with a touch of Viper," confess the students, who refuse to say more before Geneva.
At most, they let it slip that it's equipped with a BMW production engine, that the 2010 proto has "very accomplished opening and interior finishes", and that its design respected "strict specifications".
Françoise Jeanparis [...]

Immediately, it's Geneva with the beautiful Essenza "simple but with the essentials", sums up Guillaume, 21, from Audincourt (BEP auto mechanic) who says he has "given reality" to his childhood dream at Espera."

In brief
1- Small, retro-style coupé
2- 200 hp BMW six-cylinder engine, weighing just 850 kg
3- One of Espera's finest creations