First Look(s): Lotus Exige S, Exige R-GT, Elise S

By Brandon Turkus

September 14, 2011

Lotus continues to make waves on the auto show circuit, unveiling three versions of the Elise to the Frankfurt crowds. The first model is the S version of a Winding Road favorite, the Exige. Power now comes from a 3.5-liter V-6, which generates an impressive 345 horsepower. That hefty piece of metal does add some weight, with the new car weighing in at 2380 pounds. Acceleration should still be brisk, though, as the weight-to-power ratio remains at a very respectable 6.89 pounds per horsepower. Other enhancements include a new front splitter and rear spoiler for added aerodynamics.
Stepping away from Lotus’ normal position as a road-track staple is the Exige R-GT. This car is dedicated to running in the FIA’s World Rally Championship in the GT category. The R-GT is slated to participate in the Monte Carlo, Tour de Corse, and San Remo rallies. Power comes from the same 3.5-liter V-6 found in the Exige S, although changes have been made to limit the horsepower. Lotus won’t directly campaign the Exige R-GT, instead taking the same route it has for Indy Car and Le Mans, with customer teams purchasing and campaigning the cars.
Finally, there is the Elise S. Boasting a supercharged version of its 1.8-liter four-cylinder, the blown Elise promises 217 horsepower. Torque is increased an unspecified amount.
Lotus hasn’t really shared many details about pricing and availability for any of these cars. Once we get that information, we’ll be sure to pass it on.
Please scroll down for the official press release from Lotus.
9am (CET) Tuesday 13th September saw Group Lotus showcase three new cars, two new options and one special limited edition. CEO Dany Bahar was joined by F1 presenter Jake Humphrey to host the Lotus press conference at the Frankfurt Motor Show. More Lotus than ever? You decide…..
3 New Models
Exige S: Raw performance, mind blowing agility and unparalleled ride and handling, these attributes are what people have come to expect from Lotus. And we don’t like to disappoint. After months of media speculation Group Lotus proudly unveiled the latest addition to the family: the extraordinary new Exige S, the ultimate lightweight high performance sportscar.
With a lightweight 1080kg chassis teamed with a V6 3.5 litre engine delivering 350 PS, the Exige S has a completely new exterior and interior look and feel. The dramatic styling overhaul sees a completely new look for the Exige including a new front splitter and rear spoiler giving it a strong and aerodynamic profile.
Commenting on the Exige S, Group Lotus Chief Executive Officer Dany Bahar said: “Anyone who has ever driven an Exige will tell you that it’s not for the faint-hearted. The new Exige S skips a few rungs on the ladder to give the driver the ultimate Lotus experience. Quite simply you can’t get more Lotus than the Exige S.”
Exige R-GT: What better way to demonstrate Lotus’ superior ride and handling than by re-entering the adrenaline filled Rally Championships? Showcasing the new Exige S’ phenomenal performance, the Exige R-GT will participate in the newly formed FIA GT category of the FIA Rally Championship on asphalt in Monte Carlo, Tour de Corse and San Remo.
Powered by the same V6 3.5 litre engine as the new road Exige, significant changes have been made to the gearbox and the restrictors on the engine in order to control the power. Lotus will initially partner with several customer teams following the tried and tested method in which Lotus entered IndyCar and returned to Le Mans.
For Group Lotus’ Director of Motorsport Claudio Berro the return to rally has an extra special meaning: “My motorsport career started in rally, in fact, I even took part in the Talbot Sunbeam Lotus’ Italian Rally championship winning a race in San Marino back in 1981 so this is a very nostalgic moment for me. As we unveiled the car in Frankfurt, alongside the original championship winning car, I had the chance to get back inside and the smell was exactly the same – it brought back many happy memories for me.”
“With the new R-GT rules in rally, it’s a very interesting time for us to return to the sport. Naturally our approach this time around will be different to when we won the championship three decades ago, but I think our philosophy is definitely the same, we want to compete and ultimately we want to win. Our new rally car, the Exige R-GT is a dream come true for those who are passionate about GT racing – this will be their car.”
The beauty of the Exige R-GT is that although it’s a professionally set up race car, you don’t need to be a pro to drive it – the race car has been developed alongside the road car allowing the technical team to create the perfect race machine, high performance but without losing the sense of fun to drive and ease of use. Developing the race version of the Exige in parallel with the road car has allowed the Lotus technicians to make rapid advances in terms of safety and reliability.
Elise S: Want more torque? Then the new Elise S is the answer to your prayers. The Elise S replaces the Elise SC with a new 1.8l super charged engine capable of delivering 220 PS and a power delivery which results in even more torque.
With the new engine and improved throttle response the Elise S gives an even more exhilarating and lively drive experience. The more efficient engine results in lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions than the outgoing Elise SC.
2 New Options
Evora S IPS: The new Evora S with IPS (Intelligent Precision Shift) option is added to the award-winning Evora line-up with all the power and handling of the Evora S with the versatility of IPS. The S with IPS option features the 3.5l V6 supercharged engine delivering 350 PS and optimised IPS calibration. The paddle shift manual mode allows the driver the full and uncompromised Evora S experience with the added bonus of switching to automatic mode. This is the most versatile Evora yet.
Group Lotus Chief Executive Officer Dany Bahar said: “We’re really proud of the IPS option for the Evora S - people loved the Evora S and we had a great response to IPS, combining these two was a natural step and we’re delighted with the result. Nothing has been compromised in the development of this model, it’s a true Lotus through and through with a great drive experience enhanced through the integration of superior technology and typically dynamic Lotus engineering.”
The entire Evora model year 12 range has benefited from over 130 quality improvements including significant changes to the transmission dynamics, engine performance, improved IPS calibration and interior trim upgrades. The model year 12 Evora S IPS on display in Frankfurt showcases the first physical evidence of Lotus new era in action.
Elise SPS: The SPS (Serial Precision Shift) is the latest gearbox option available for the 1.6l Elise. The SPS option utilises new lightweight robotised automated manual transmission technology to allow the driver to switch between manual and automatic driving modes via paddles fixed to the steering column giving an even more direct connection with the road. The SPS option showcases Lotus’ clever approach to increasing the pure driving experience through innovative use of lightweight technology.
1 Special Limited Edition
Evora GTE road car: All hail the mighty Evora GTE road car. Producing over 444 PS from the race developed Lotus Evora GTE engine, this is, quite simply, the most powerful Lotus road car ever built. Yet contrary to its extreme roots, the Evora GTE road car also delivers a comfortable and refined element to its high performance driving characteristics. Originally designed as a special limited edition for the Asian market, production will now be expanded on the Evora GTE road car to meet demand and reach further markets.
Lotus Lightweight DNA: Clever use of carbon fibre has been integrated extensively throughout the exterior and interior of the car, this is one major contributors to the 105kg weight reduction versus the base Evora. Carbon fibre has been used for all the bodywork modifications including the front and rear bumpers, the rear wing and the doors.
Commenting on the Evora GTE road car, Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar said: “To celebrate our successful return to Le Mans this year we created the ultimate road car racer. Initially we introduced this to the Asian market with our partners in China as a ‘taste of Lotus’ however the response was so great that we received 114 orders from China alone. This justified us looking in to speeding up the process of bringing this car to other territories. We showed a concept at Pebble Beach and are showing this production intent car at Frankfurt. We will bring this car to Europe and the US. People get so excited when they see and especially hear it for the first time. It’s a very special car and will appeal to a very special type of driver – and they won’t be disappointed!”
Lotus Engineering showcased the best of British technology - previewing what could be the future of transport: with the new and innovative 2-cylinder Lotus Fagor Ederlan Range Extender engine, a hydrogen fuel cell Lotus Taxi which produces emissions of just water and the Lotus Evora 414E hybrid, powered by two electric motors giving 800Nm of torque and 414 PS slingshotting this technical demonstrator to 100 km/h in just four seconds.
So to sum up Lotus in Frankfurt:
Performance + Superior ride & handling + Lightweight technology + Improved quality