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Titanium, it’s both light and strong… and pretty expensive. But the benefits may out-“weight” the tradeoffs for Lotus, as the premium sports-car builder is exploring the dusty silver-hued metal for use in its vehicles.
With rumors of a future for Lotus swirling, the company will live on as its new owner DRB-Hicom has signed off on a three-year plan to fund the British sports car maker.
Lotus Elise and Exige sports cars manufactured between June 1, 2004 and November 30, 2006 are subject to replacement of a faulty oil cooler line, which may be prone to leak oil or suffer from the line detaching completely. If attention isn’t given at a timely matter, the defect can cause slippery oil to coat the tires, smoke, or even fires.
This defect was first brought to Lotus’ attention after reports of smoking and in one case, a fire. Repairs will be performed at no cost to Lotus owners. Dial for Lotus, (800) 245-6557, or you may the call NHTSA vehicle safety hotline at (88) 327-4236
Lotus‘ Elise is a pretty wicked sports car straight from the factory, but with some creativity one can have a serious street/race car on their hands. This roofless Elise has been floating around the Internet for some time now, supposedly packing 305-hp in a 1500-lb body making it one ultra-lightweight, supercharged, and sequentially-shifted machine. Now its owner is willing to part ways with it for just $28,977.
The highly modified Elise features a long list of modifications, but it is a 2005 model packing just 11,000 miles on the odometer. It has been supercharged with the same Eaton MP62 supercharger Lotus uses, while an EFI stand-alone ECU and Quaife Differential ensures this isn’t your run-of-the-mill Elise. Other performance modifications include a Forced Fed race header and race cat, a ton of carbon fiber goodies from Sector111, and an ACT clutch to get the power to the ground. As options, some of the finest suspension modifications money can buy from Ohlins is available, along with top-of-the-line Alcon brakes.
It also already has a Hypersports SCCA T-1 roll cage, so it’s ready to rock on the track – which is where we believe the most fun could be had with this vehicle. Hit the source if you’re interested, it’s definitely a great price for what appears to be a well built machine.
GALLERY: R Motorsports Roofless Lotus Elise
Lotus has to clear out its hoary old inventory for the future of its “New Era,” and as such, it’s sending the Elise and Exige out of American production with some guaranteed-to-be-rare limited editions.
Production for the Elise and Exige will end August 2011 for America—Lotus cites its difficulty in sourcing Toyota’s 1.8-liter 2ZZ engine as the reason to stop building them. The final cars will be “instantly collectible,” as Lotus cites, and limited to nifty matte-black and color schemes, with supercharged engines and an impressive array of standard features.
The Elise SC Final Edition gets a supercharged 218-hp engine and matte black paint on the hardtop and mirrors. Standard features will be unprecedented for a Lotus: air conditioning, MP3-ready radio, central locking, traction control and iPod connectivity as part of the Touring pack will all be standard, as well as a a limited-slip differential. It will be available in four colors and will start at $57,500.
The Exige gets two special editions: the Exige Matte Black Final Edition gets matte black paint as reflective of its namesake, Alacantara sport seats and body-colored wings and side scoops. The Exige S260 Final Edition, on the other hand, will be available in actual hues—Lotus’s entire Metallic, Lifestyle and Limited palette is available at no extra charge—thus sparing its well-heeled owner of “Lord Vader, your car has arrived” jokes. Both cars get the same 257-hp supercharged engine with a limited-slip differential and Sport/Touring packs standard.
As per any limited edition, production will be kept to comically low examples. The Elise SC will only see 15 examples built, while the Exige Matte Black Final Edition and the Exige 260 will be numbered up to 25 and 30, respectively.
It’s safe to assume that all models have been spoken for, which really leaves this announcement as a tease for budding Lotus fans.
GALLERY: Lotus Final Editions
Lotus has officially announced that Lotus is opening dealerships in China. Lotus China Symphony will be appointed as the official distributor for the British sports cars in China. The dealership will be based out of Beijing and will offer a full range of Lotus sports cars including the Evora, the Elise and the Exige.
China has initially ordered 100 cars, the majority of which will be the Evora model, and the remaining inventory will be made up of the Elise and Exige. This limited amount of cars being shipped ensures that the exclusivity of these sports cars is maintained.
Dany Bahar, Chief Executive of Group Lotus explained, “Lotus China has joined the Lotus family at a very exciting time – with a new range of sports and super cars on the way, which will complement the current globally selling range, and a new all encompassing motorsports program, both of which ensure that Lotus is at the forefront of everyone mind as one of the world’s most desirable car brands. The team behind Lotus China has a wealth of experience in premier niche vehicles in the Chinese market and therefore we are delighted that we have teamed up with such a credible and enthusiastic team.”
Li Chen Zhang, Chief Executive of Lotus China described the merger, “We are delighted to be the official distributor of this world class sports and supercar brand and we are very much looking forward to introducing the brand to the discerning customer in China. We are investing in new dealerships throughout China to not only introduce the Evora, Elise and Exige but also in preparation for the arrival of the new Lotus super cars starting with the Esprit in 2013. I would like to thank Lotus for this opportunity and I know that we will do the brand proud in this important market!”
The first dealership will open in October followed by another dealership in Shanghai, Chongqing, and Guangzhou later in the year. By 2012, eight more dealerships will open throughout China.
Lotus has plans to improve both the Elise and Evora with a list of 150 items. Improvements are centered around the Evora, and are designed to boost dwindling sales and bridge the styling gap between the current car and the next wave of Lotus’ due 2013.
Changes include improved gearchange quality, throttle response and exhaust note. Furthermore, improving the general build quality of the car is of concern. Lotus is aiming to be on par with Porsche quality standards, says boss Dany Bahar.
A styling overhaul is also planned for the 2012 Evora model. Lotus’s ex-Ferrari design boss, Donato Coco has complained the present Evora’s front end is “too weak” for a modern sports car. “Even many economy cars look more aggressive,” he says.
Coco went on to explain the importance of motorsport being the brand’s central appeal, which is why the company is competing across so many categories.
The Lotus Elan has been put on hold indefinitely, reportedly due to the rather obvious fact that the concept was too close to the brand’s current Evora model. Previously, rumors had indicated Lotus was taking a close look at both the Esprit and Elite models, which share many of the same components and have similar style, in order to further separate two two vehicles.
But before the Esprit or Elite are put into production, Lotus will be updating the Evora with some aesthetic changes and new trim levels to align it with the rest of the “Lotus New Era” range. Updates will also be done on the Elise and Exige to make them more user friendly. The production Exige will reportedly be revealed at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.
GALLERY: Lotus Elan Concept
[Source: Top Speed]
With the new Lotus models looming on the horizon, current Lotus owners may be looking for new ways to spice up their ride before the new model range kicks off in 2015. Tecnocraft, an American manufacturer of carbon fiber products, seems to be listening to the demand, developing a program for the current model Lotus Elise and Exige.
No actual details have been released from Tecnocraft on the products that will be available, but these photos may be provide some hints. Clearly replacement carbon fiber seats will be available, saving some weight in an already svelte vehicle. The exterior meanwhile looks to get some carbon fiber inserts on the hood.
GALLERY: Tecnocraft Lotus Carbon Fiber Parts
Kit is 50-state legal and carries a factory warranty
While Lotus’s philosophy of making its cars as light weight as possible has obvious benefits on the race track, owners of non-supercharged Elise and Exige models can attest to the fact that the tiny Toyota-sourced engines don’t always deliver the sort of thrust one might hope for.
To help remedy this situation Lotus has just announced a new factory engineered, warrantied and 50 state legal supercharger kit. Using the same supercharger and intake manifold as found on the Elise SC, this kit also includes high flow fuel injectors and a reprogrammed ECU which can be bought and installed at any authorized Lotus dealer in the U.S. and Canada.
Compatible with any Toyota 2ZZ-GE engine the Lotus supercharger kit boost engine output from 189hp to 218hp and torque from 133 ft-lbs to 155 ft-lbs. Torque also comes on earlier at just 5000 rpm (as opposed to 6800 rpm in the naturally aspirated mode) to deliver a stronger powerband.
“Lotus Elise and Exige owners are genuine driving enthusiasts and that’s what has attracted them to Lotus cars in the first place,” said Lotus Cars USA, Director of Operations Arnie Johnson. “They will fully appreciate the dramatically enhanced driving character these Lotus Supercharger Kits will bring their vehicles and the peace of mind from a fully warranted, factory engineered kit.”
Official release after the jump:
New model undercuts Elise by $3,500
Lotus has confirmed that it will introduce a Purist Edition of the Elise for sale in the U.S. this year. The philosophy behind this new model is to bring the Elise back to what it was when it first crossed the pond and landed on U.S. shores.
That means it will be a more basic package and will come at a lower starting price. That starting MSRP for the new model will be $43,995 – roughly $3,500 less than a standard Elise.
What you get for that amount is quite a lot… or quite a little depending on how you look at it. Lotus prides itself on light-weight, back-to-basics vehicles and the Purist Edition, as the name suggests, is just that.
The car comes with the 190hp Toyota-source 1.8-liter four-cylinder and six-speed manual transmission. Also included are 16-inch front and 17-inch rear wheels with 175/55/16 and 225/45/17 tires. You also get Bilstein shocks and AP Racing brakes. Inside is typically Spartan, although there are leather Probax seats, a leather-wrapped MOMO wheel and air conditioning is standard. In fact, the only option is the Starshield paint protection for $995.
The Lotus Elise Purist Edition is offered in three colors: Ardent Red, Saffron Yellow and (our favorite) Monaco White.
Last July, Tex O’Reilly was clocked driving 173 mph in a 50 mph zone in his Lotus Elise – an offense that would normally have landed the father of three in jail.
O’Reilly beat the rap, however, by hiring a team of defense lawyers who argued that such a speed “was impossible.” The unmodified Elise, they said, has a top speed of 127 mph. This argument was upheld by Judge Andrew Hamilton, despite the prosecution arguing that the officer’s radar gun was accurate.
Defense lawyer Dominic Shelley, said that, “They (Lotus Elises) are not built for that speed and the likelihood of one being able to keep control of such a vehicle at that speed is beyond comprehension,” he said.
The offense occurred on a stretch of A515 (a country lane in Derbyshire). The vehicle in question could not be tested because O’Reilly sold it to an individual Germany shortly after the incident in question.
O’Reilly’s defense team did arrange a plea bargain with the prosecution, however, that saw him plead guilty to a lesser charge of dangerous driving at “just” 105 mph.
“May I make it absolutely clear that had you been driving at 150mph you would have been going immediately to prison,” said the the judge. “However, you were not driving at 150mph, you were driving at 105mph, and for whatever reason the prosecution have accepted that basis of plea, and that puts the case in a different light.”
O’Reilly didn’t exactly get completely off the hook, however, as he still had to pay a £5,000 ($7,247) fine and received a license suspension for two years. He also had to pay £1,250 ($1,812) in court costs.
“So far as this offense is concerned, he offers no excuses or justifications,” said defense lawyer Shelley. “He recognizes that day as being a gross error of judgment. He understands and accepts fully how he could have caused considerable danger.”
[Source: The Telegraph]