(from Lotus Press Release)
After an absence from the market place for 2 years, Lotus is
reintroducing the Lotus Exige – a car that at the time revolutionised
the hardcore sports coupé market despite being on sale for just over 18
The first generation Exige was introduced to the world in early 2000 as
a racecar for the road. Born out of the successful Lotus Sport Elise
racecar, which was campaigned throughout Europe with such success in
2000 and 2001, the Exige was hand built in low numbers for a few markets
around the world.
The second generation Exige, unveiled as a world debut at the Geneva
Motorshow in 2004, takes the same racecar-for-the-road philosophy and
applies it to the driver of today.
With phenomenal performance and handling, powered by an advanced 1.8
litre VVTL-i (Variable Valve Timing with Lift – intelligent) engine
producing a maximum power output of 141 kW and 181 Nm of torque, the
Exige sprints to 100 km/h in 5.2 seconds and 160 km/h in 13.2 seconds
before reaching a top speed of 237 km/h.
Key to this phenomenal performance and handling is the total aerodynamic
package (which gives 41.2 kg of downforce at 160 km/h - 19.3 kg: front
and 21.9 kg: rear) and light weight, the latter made possible through
innovative engineering and clever design; indeed the Exige weighs in at
875 kg - unladen with no options - giving a power to weight ratio of 161
kW/t and 4.56 kg/PS.
Being a true mid-engine sportscoupé, the
high tech engine is located behind the cockpit and in front of the
driven rear wheels. Power comes from the state-of-the-art 2ZZ-GE 1.8
litre 4 cylinder 16-valve VVTL-i (Variable Valve Timing and
Lift-Intelligent) engine linked to the C64 six-speed gearbox. The engine
and gearbox combination, sourced from Toyota, was chosen as the ideal
engine for the Exige and perfect for the Lotus brand philosophies.
The lightweight engine, with a compact metal matrix composite alloy
cylinder block has been subject to a rigorous testing and development
programme which, as part of Lotus’ key federal Elise programme, has
involved over half a million miles of testing in a wide range of extreme
climate conditions from the Arctic Circle to the Arizona and Nevada
deserts and at altitude in Colorado. This is in addition to Toyota’s
world renowned development and testing programme that had already been
applied to the engine prior to the installation in the Exige.
To enable this class leading engine to carry the Lotus driving DNA, a
brand new, custom-engineered Lotus T4 engine management system (EMS) has
been developed. The software for the EMS was designed and developed by
Lotus specifically for the Exige. This bespoke management system and the
extensive calibration and validation work ensures that the Exige has
unique performance characteristics perfectly suited to the fast road and
The engine management system enables the VVTL-i system to select the
optimum camshaft profile, lift and timing across the full range of
engine operating conditions. This interaction between the Lotus T4 EMS
and the VVTL-i system gives the Exige its optimum linear torque
characteristics, peaking at 181 Nm at 6800 rpm with the peak power of
141 kW at 7800 rpm.
The very high revving engine is governed to a maximum engine speed of
8500 rpm on up changes (8000 rpm at steady state). The change from the
low speed cam to the high speed cam is controlled by the Lotus engine
management system to achieve a smooth transition, which will not upset
the balance of the car. This change occurs at around 6200 rpm, but can
vary by a few hundred rpm depending on engine operating conditions. The
return switching from the high speed to low speed cam occurs at 5800 rpm
to extend the operating range of the engine on the high speed cam. This
helps the enthusiastic driver stay on the high output cam between gear
In order to protect the engine during the warm up phase, the maximum
engine speed is limited to 6000 rpm and is restricted to the lower speed
cam when the engine coolant temperature is below 70 °C.
A tell-tale red LED located in the centre of the instrument binnacle
illuminates to indicate to the driver the optimum point to change gears.
The lightweight C64 six-speed gearbox (with an aluminium casing) is
fitted with an all-new Lotus designed and developed shift operating
mechanism. With the closest ratios and gearset afforded by the
transmission, the gearbox offers a fast, precise and light gearshift,
ensuring drivers have total control and flexibility to apply the power
exactly as and when required.
A bespoke exhaust system with a bifurcated downpipe exits at the rear of
the car through the centre of the rear diffuser.
The Exige is bestowed with the
performance through lightweight expected of a Lotus with a power to
weight ratio of 161 kW/t (4.56 kg/PS) and a 0-100 km/h sprint in 5.2
seconds and 0-160km/h in 13.2 seconds before reaching a top speed of 237
Of course the Exige with its small 1.8 litre engine is Euro IV Emissions
compliant and returns 8.8 l/100km on the combined cycle, as well as the
very low figure of 208 g/km of CO2 emissions – figures usually unheard
of for supercars.
Of course, the Exige isn’t all about
straight line performance. The Exige is one of the quickest and safest
cars from A to B and around a circuit. Key to this incredible
performance is the aerodynamic package, which creates 41.2 kg or
downforce at 160 km/h (19.3 kg front and 21.9 kg rear). This downforce
ratio between front (47%) and rear (53%) is of course balanced and
remains constant at the speeds of which the Exige is capable.
This class leading aerodynamic package is provided through the aid of
Completely flat underside of the car – provided by the elegantly simple
strong yet light extruded and bonded aluminium tub
Black anodised rear diffuser which helps promote the "Venturi effect"
underneath the car
Deep front splitter which sits just 108 mm 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.
Lotus specific wheels
Lotus ride and handling engineers worked
with Yokohama to develop a bespoke A048 tyre (rated W) and annotated
with "LTS". These soft compound tyres were chosen to maximise grip and
achieve the ride and handling targets set by Lotus.
Unique black lightweight eight-spoke wheels (16" front and 17" rear)
complete the wheel and tyre package, as if the Exige has just come off
the race track; in fact it probably just did - as Lotus envisages many
customers of the Exige may take part in track days, which are becoming
increasingly popular around the world.
The legendary chassis
Of course, the Exige is a Lotus and as
such has a world leading chassis. Based around the revolutionary and
award winning extruded and bonded aluminium tub, with lightweight steel
rear subframe, used in the Elise 111R, the Exige uses stiffer Lotus
Sport springs and dampers to provide minimum body roll and to exploit
the exceptional level of aerodynamic performance and downforce, and the
high levels of grip provided by the Yokohama A048 tyres.
Cooling and air
Lotus expects that some Exiges will spend
most of their time being driven hard – indeed this is exactly what it
was conceived for. Therefore the extra levels of heat from the brakes
and engine needed to be managed. At the front of the Exige are extra air
ducts (for the optional oil coolers, which are part of the Performance
Pack). To keep the brakes cool under the very high loads that are
expected with hard driving, brake ducts are located just behind the
front wheels. Towards the rear of the Exige, large side air intakes and
a roof scoop, provide much needed air to circulate around the engine
All grilles, including the rear engine cover are covered in a
lightweight steel mesh.
All Lotus products elegantly fuse form
and function by combining the optimum engineered solution with a dynamic
and elegant design that gives it a distinctive Lotus signature. The
design project, undertaken by the Lotus Design Team lead by Russell
Carr, took the core values of Lotus and the first generation Exige and
applied them to the 2004 Exige. Signature racecar features such as the
roof scoop, rear wing, deep front splitter and fast back roof have been
carefully developed whilst new features such as the engine cover vents,
side intakes and lightweight mesh grills and a unique graphic further
differentiate the Exige from other products in the Lotus stable.
All the Exige body panels are made from strong, and lightweight GRC
(Glass Reinforced Composite). Three new paint colours, in addition to
the current Lotus range, are introduced solely for the Exige in 2004,
these being Chrome Orange, Graphite Grey and Krypton Green.
Lightweight but strong composite sports
seats hold the driver under the high g-forces that will be experienced
on cornering, acceleration and braking. The small 320 mm offset steering
wheel is perfectly suited to coaxing and guiding the Exige along some of
the finest roads and around the most challenging of circuits. The
lightweight extruded aluminium pedals are perfectly positioned for
efficient heel and toeing – a technique that many drivers will wish to
perfect to be able to exploit the performance of the car and drive it
how it was meant to be driven.
Twin instrumentation dials show road speed and engine speed (up to
10,000 rpm) with the graphics and orange back lighting showing the key
information clearly and efficiently.
A four speaker Blaupunkt stereo system with CD player is provided as
standard along with a radio receiver wiring loom including a dipole
aerial kit located in the front of the Exige.
Air conditioning, weighing in at a minimal 15 kg, is standard in some
markets, where high ambient temperatures would otherwise prohibit the
driving of such a high performing sports coupé. It is available as a
cost option in all other markets.
Brakes - Track tuned ABS system to help out when needed!
The servo-assisted four-channel system individually monitors and
distributes braking force to each wheel as required, enhancing braking
performance and minimising stopping distance. Of course this track tuned
ABS system does not take over from the skill of the driver but instead
is initiated under panic conditions or when the driver is too heavy on
the brakes and would normally break traction. The specifically tuned
initiation point of the ABS system allows a skilled driver to maximise
the potential of the braking system through the utilisation of forward
weight transfer as with a non-ABS system. In the event of the driver
demanding more braking performance than is possible, only then does the
system intervene to optimise the force generated at the wheel.
Therefore, on normal driving, even hard driving, the driver would not
expect to feel the Exige ABS system in operation.
Standard equipment for the Exige
includes: Blaupunkt Lausanne radio CD-R/W player and Blaupunkt high
performance front and rear speakers, auxiliary front driving lights and
central door locking. For the Japanese market specifically, central door
looking is only included as part of the optional Touring Pack. The
Blaupunkt Lausanne radio CD-R/W player is not available in the Japanese
market but a Blaupunkt BPV755 radio CD-RW player is available as an
option (not part of the standard specification or the Touring Pack).
The Touring Pack (not available with the
Performance Pack) provides a combination of options designed to increase
comfort and convenience, while still maintaining the essence of a Lotus
sports car. This pack contains:
Full carpet set with a lightweight aluminium passenger footrest
Blaupunkt Woodstock DAB radio, CD-R/W and MP3 player (not available in
Full Alcantara trim
Interior stowage net
The Performance Pack provides the Exige
with options that will appeal to the driver who enjoys spending the
majority of time taking part in track days. This pack contains:
Sports seats with the Exige Logo on the
4 point harness (dealer fit for track use only)
Acrylic capped door panels
Carbon effect door inserts
Twin oil coolers
Lightweight forged wheels are available
as an option for the Lotus Exige. Air conditioning is available as
an option for the Lotus Exige
variations around the world:
Australia, Japan and other Asia Pacific
markets: Air conditioning and twin oil coolers are fitted as standard
equipment. The lightweight forged wheels form part of the optional
Performance Pack in these markets.
The Lotus Exige goes on sale in March 2004.