2004 Lotus Exige
(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 months.
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 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 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.
Lotus specific wheels and tyres
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.
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 management
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 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.
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.
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:
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:
Lightweight forged wheels are available as an option for the Lotus Exige. Air conditioning is available as an option for the Lotus Exige
Specification 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.