The gorgeous Exige S. Surely one of the best-looking, best-handling and most exciting British sports cars ever.
The Lotus Exige S – breathtaking performance from the fastest accelerating Lotus ever to come off the production line.
A small lightweight sportscar weighing just 935 kg (2057 lbs), powered by a 162.5 kW (218 hp, 221 PS) high revving supercharged engine, giving a zero to 100 km/h time of just 4.3 seconds (0 – 60 mph in 4.1 seconds). It comes straight off the production line and isn’t an “aftermarket special”.
Is this the quickest ever real-world production car? It is certainly the quickest Lotus production car - so far!
The Lotus Exige S is the latest addition to the Exige range and is a real sportscar that redefines the term “Extreme Performance”. With 90.5 kW / litre (121.4 hp / litre, 123 PS / litre), it is one of most powerful production cars in the world for its engine size but most importantly it has full type approval for all the markets in which it will be sold. The Lotus Exige S is not a limited edition, nor is it an aftermarket special – it is manufactured from start to finish in the world leading and award winning Lotus Manufacturing facility at Hethel, Norfolk.
Because the basic car is so immensely strong but lightweight (935 kg, 2057 lbs), giving a power to weight ratio of 173.8 kW/tonne (233.2 hp/tonne, 236.4 PS/tonne), performance is phenomenal, with 100 km/h being reached from a standing start in 4.3 seconds (0 – 60 mph in 4.1 seconds) and 160 km/h (100 mph) being reached in 9.98 seconds (estimate) before topping out at 238 km/h (148 mph). Inspite of this phenomenal performance the fuel economy is impressive with an official combined figure of 9.1 litres / 100 km (31.0 mpg) - extra urban is an impressive 7.2 litres / 100 km (39.2 mpg). Lotus believes that there is no car on sale anywhere in the world that has such good performance combined with such good fuel economy! Not that many customers will be buying this car principally for its fuel economy!
Being a Lotus, straight-line performance is not the most important factor, but every day driving on normal roads, or around a circuit is. There are very few cars on sale today that can match the speed, agility and safety of the Exige S in both day to day and track or circuit driving. However the Exige S is not just a track day warrior. It is a sportscar that would be at home on the back roads, freeways and autobahns, as well as on city streets. With an extremely "torquey" engine and the classic Lotus suspension set-up of soft compliant springs and firm controllable dampers, the driving experience is an uncanny combination of telepathic-like handling with a taught and comfortable ride. There is really no car that handles quite like a Lotus. Clive Dopson, Managing Director of Lotus Cars says, “The Exige S represents the ultimate “extreme” production Lotus, with performance that trumps other supercars costing twice or even three times as much. That it does so with the fuel economy of a family hatchback, stands as a testament to the Lotus concept of performance through light weight. Its an unbeatable package and an unbeatable drive.”
For what is probably the quickest “real world” production car, the driving experience has to be pretty special. The lightweight composite seats with ProBax technology hug the driver and passenger giving the right amount of support and security to cope with acceleration, braking and cornering forces of well over 1g. The steering wheel is a small off-centre leather clad unit (both the airbag wheel and the non-airbag wheel) and is set in just the right position for comfort, driver dexterity and feedback. The gear stick is located just 15 cm (6 inches) from the steering wheel for quick, accurate and safe gear changes and the lightweight steel and aluminium pedals are located in just the right position for heel and toeing. The Lotus Exige S doesn’t have a multitude of user adjustment to the wheel or seat position – Lotus believes that the driving position is pretty close to perfect anyway!
What does acceleration feel like in a Lotus Exige S? First of all the feeling of acceleration is mildly addictive. Few vehicles, aside from racing cars, motorbikes and extreme theme-park rides, can pull this amount of g-force under acceleration, braking and cornering. This gives a safe, but fun (even exhilarating) experience that you can only get from such a finely honed
The heart of the Exige S is a Roots-type supercharger and air to air intercooler attached to the tried and tested 4-cylinder, 1.8 litre 2ZZ-GE VVTL-i (Toyota) engine. Using a development of the supercharger and intercooler package developed first for the already legendary Lotus Sport Exige 240R, the Exige S has peak power of 162.5 kW (221 PS, 218 hp) at 7800 rpm, 215 Nm (158.6 lb ft) of torque at 5500 rpm (but 80% is produced at just over 2000 rpm). Maximum engine speed is 8000 rpm (8500 rpm transient for up to 2 seconds). 162.5 kW (218 hp, 221 PS) is the figure that has been achieved by Lotus Engineers whilst retaining full vehicle type approval for the markets in which it is sold.
A slightly redesigned air intake and roof scoop has been added to the Exige S to ensure that the air to air intercooler works as efficiently and effectively as possible in all climates and environments. A single oval exhaust exits from the centre of the undertray.
The Lotus Exige S uses the same aerodynamic package as the standard Exige. Like all Lotus cars, the Lotus Exige S isn’t all about straight-line performance. The Lotus Exige S is one of the quickest cars on normal roads and also around a circuit. Key to this incredible performance is the aerodynamic package, which creates 41.2 kg (90.64 lbs) of downforce - 19.3 kg (42.46 lbs) at the front and 21.9 kg (48.18 lbs) at the rear - at 160 km/h (100 mph). This downforce ratio between front (47%) and rear (53%) is balanced and remains constant at the speeds of which the Exige S is capable. This class leading aerodynamic package is provided through the contribution of the following components:
Completely flat underside of the car – provided by the elegantly simple, strong yet light weight extruded and bonded aluminium tub.
Anodised rear diffuser which helps promote the “Venturi effect” underneath the car.
Deep front splitter, which sits just 108 mm (4.3 inches) from the ground (giving just enough ramp angle clearance) whilst still maintaining the aerodynamic properties and, of course, the aggressive stance.
Fixed rear wing that is set at the optimum 11.5 degree angle for the best compromise between downforce and drag.
and... ta-ta-raa... the newly unveiled, to-die-for, Europa S
The New Lotus Europa S - ‘Business Class by Lotus’
The new Lotus Europa S, a Grand Tourer (GT) inspired two-seater, will provide Lotus customers a spectacular sportscar with significantly enhanced levels of touring and cruising capability, as well as higher levels of practicality and refinement to complement the simplicity of the Lotus Elise and Exige models.
The Europa S follows the core Lotus philosophy of performance through light weight, enabling this refined and high-performing GT car to weigh a mere 995 kg, making it class- leading in this respect. This low weight has been obtained through the clever use of advanced and hightech materials including an extruded and bonded aluminium chassis, composite body panels and a very advanced composite energy absorbing front crash structure. When compared to the award-winning Lotus Elise, the Europa S has a larger boot / luggage compartment and easier cabin access, resulting from lower chassis sides and a higher roof line. Combined with a full leather interior, Satellite Navigation, driver and passenger airbags and carpets all as standard, Lotus has created a “Business Class” driving experience which remains true to the Company’s design philosophy.
The new mid-engine coupe will deliver high levels of performance from a high torque (263 Nm or 194 lbft at 4200 rpm) 2.0-litre turbo (Opel) engine producing 149 kW (200 hp or 203 PS) at 5400rpm. The Lotus Europa S achieves around 90% of its maximum torque at only 2000 rpm to give class-leading levels of acceleration from low engine speeds, propelling the car from 0 – 96 km/h (60 mph) in around 5.5 seconds, and 160 km/h (100 mph) in around 14 seconds. Maximum speed is approximately 225 km/h (140 mph). Being a Lotus, the Europa S has a competitive power to weight ratio of 201 hp / tonne (204 PS / tonne or 6.68 kg/kW).
The introduction of a GT-inspired car, represents both an important and unique addition to the Lotus product range, as Clive Dopson, Managing Director of Lotus Cars, explains: “The launch of the Europa S re-affirms our position as an innovative player in the highly competitive sportscar marketplace. It allows Lotus to extend its product appeal beyond our traditional customer base, and provides yet another demonstration of the key Lotus brand attributes and high levels of quality for which we are particularly proud.”
Trevor Houghton-Berry, Head of Commercial Operations for Lotus Cars explains further the positioning of the Lotus Europa S: "No longer will the outrageous fun and exhilaration of driving a true Lotus require Lotus customers to make such significant compromises when it comes to the practicality of living with their 'pride and joy' on a daily basis. The purity and simplicity of the Lotus Elise and Exige ranges is now perfectly complemented with the arrival of the new Europa S - a car which stays true to the Lotus philosophy of 'Performance through light weight', but recognises that for some, the Elise and Exige experience may sometimes prove just a little too 'extreme'!"
Full production of the Lotus Europa S is scheduled to commence in July 2006 at the awardwinning and world-class Lotus manufacturing facility at the Lotus Headquarters in Hethel,
The Lotus Europa S went from concept to production in just 28 months. This rapid development was down to the capabilities of the Lotus Engineering and Lotus Manufacturing divisions. Extensive testing was conducted around the world in hot and cold climates, high humidity, city and urban environments as well as on the freeways and autobahns around Europe. Also used was the demanding 4 km (2.25 mile) Lotus test track and the roads around the Hethel headquarters – regarded by many as some of the world’s most demanding with an almost unique variety of surfaces and conditions. However, engineering a vehicle is only one of the challenges to developing a successful product. The Europa S was developed for manufacture by the team responsible for what is regarded by many as the finest niche vehicle and low volume manufacturing facility in the world. This manufacturing facility, based at the Lotus Headquarters in England currently produces 4000 to 4500 cars per year (with the Elise and the Exige). The Europa S will reach maximum volume rate in late Summer 2006 after a steady volume ramp up starting in late Spring 2006. Volumes are expected to be in the order of 500 cars per year but this figure is flexible and volumes can be rapidly altered to meet demand when required.
Lotus uses a worldwide network of high quality suppliers who not only have excellent products, but are also willing to work with Lotus to produce components specifically designed and developed to meet the exacting requirements of a Lotus vehicle. With the Europa S programme, special attention has been paid to broadening this supplier network in South East Asia, resulting in the body panels for example, being produced in Malaysia through a new partnership between Lotus and a leading local aerospace manufacturer. Such activity has been strongly supported by Proton, the parent company to Lotus, who continue to provide assistance in this region.
Lotus remains committed to using environmentally friendly high solids water based paints, and each car is carefully inspected to ensure an “A1” class finish.
Each car goes through a number of quality checking stages before being delivered to the customer – these quality standards are world class - Lotus was the first vehicle manufacturer and engineering consultancy in the world to be awarded the prestigious QS9000 which is linked to ISO9001/2000.
It is this attention to detail that lead to Lotus to be awarded the prestigious ‘World Class Manufacturer of the Year’ award in 2005.
Each Europa S will take about 3 ½ days and 130 man-hours to build.
How's this for STYLE? The new Lotus APX...
APX by Lotus Engineering (APX stands for “Aluminium Performance Crossover”) is the first example of a complete vehicle built on the innovative Versatile Vehicle Architecture (VVA). APX is a demonstration of Lotus Engineering’s ability to create innovative and exciting, high performance products through its world class capability in Vehicle Design, Performance Powertrain Engineering and niche vehicle development, the first production car from this technology will be the new Lotus mid-engine super sportscar. It is a 7-seater (in reality a 5 + 2 with the two rear seats being occasional) four-wheel drive “Crossover” vehicle with a front mounted 300 hp supercharged V6 petrol engine. Weighing in at just 1570 kg and with a power to weight ratio of 191 hp per tonne, the APX has sportscar like performance of 5.4 seconds to 100 km/h (5.0 seconds to 60 mph) before reaching a top speed of 245 km/h (152 mph). These performance figures are as good as the highest performing 4x4 “Crossover” vehicles from other brands with up to 195 hp per tonne. Crucially though, whereas those vehicles need higher output engines to compensate for heavy weight, APX does not. Combined fuel consumption for APX is estimated to be 8.7 litres / 100 km (or 32 mpg) – impressive on its own and more so when compared to its production rivals which often consume more than 13 litres per 100 km (22 mpg). APX is manufactured predominantly from aluminium in the form of high-pressure die-cast corner nodes, stampings and extrusions. It uses advanced assembly techniques, including adhesive bonding, self piercing rivets and flow-drill screws for construction – joining techniques that Lotus calls Riv-Bonding. Lotus has optimised the use of these technologies thus significantly reducing the number of mechanical fixings within the monocoque structure. This has reduced the level of investment required in manufacturing equipment.
APX is not just a Lotus Engineering concept, but a feasible prototype close to production; it is not a concept indicating a strategic direction of Lotus Cars; it is, however, a brilliant demonstration of VVA and the skills of the team from Lotus Engineering into what is regarded as the future of niche vehicle manufacture. APX is production feasible as all the components can be made cost effectively and in high niche volume (up to around 30,000 per year). APX is powered by a V6 engine has been designed by Lotus Engineering’s powertrain division. The directive for Project NEF was to produce a high performance prototype engine without the need to resort to exotic materials or manufacturing technology, allowing manufacture around the world.
APX’s engine is a supercharged 3 litre (2996 cc, Bore: 88 mm, stroke: 82.1 mm) V6 DOHC engine, mounted longitudinally in the front of the vehicle. Performance of the engine is maximum power of 224 kW (300 hp, 304 PS) at 6250 rpm and a torque of 360 Nm at 4500 rpm. Like the vehicle, the engine not just a Lotus Engineering concept, but a feasible prototype close to production, however it is not a concept indicating a strategic powertrain direction of Lotus Cars. The engine is production feasible and it is expected that the commercialisation of this engine will be of interest to the automotive clients of Lotus Engineering. Simon Wood, Director of Lotus Engineering explains the rationale behind building APX: “the first production car from Lotus to use the Versatile Vehicle Architecture will be the new mid engine “super sportscar”, which will go into production in 2008. Lotus Cars customers eagerly await this vehicle that will be a class-leading and phenomenally high performing car. However, we wanted to demonstrate the true versatility of the VVA technology, and what better way than to build a type of car that no one would expect from Lotus – a 4-wheel drive “Crossover” vehicle. I am delighted with this vehicle and we believe that this technology and strategy is what the motor industry must follow to be able to produce niche vehicles efficiently and quickly.
You saw it in REDLINE