AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Unveiling its first new vehicle in over 70 years, the resurrected Detroit Electric car company debuted the SP:01 in the motor city last night.
Truth be told, the majority of us are anxiously awaiting the release of the next generation of Lotus vehicles. But until the British automaker releases the new range, we’ll have to settle for the new Exige S Roadster. Or rather we won’t, since it won’t even be making its way to American shores.
Lotus is calling this their fastest convertible ever, powered by a supercharged 3.5L V6 and mated to a six-speed manual transmission, or a six-speed paddle-shifted automatic. Even though exact figures weren’t released, the Toyota-derived V6 will deliver roughly 345-hp and 295 lb-ft of torque – the same as in the Evora S model.
Speaking of the Evora, this “new” Exige S Roadster is actually the front section of the old Exige mated to the rear section of the new Evora. Either way, Lotus claims that the Exige S Roadster will hit 60-mph in just 3.8 seconds with a top speed of 145-mph. Weighing in at a scant 2,425 lbs it is one of the world’s lightest six-cylinder convertibles available. But alas, it’ll only be going on sale in Europe and Asia, yet another fun-packed roadster American will miss out on.
GALLERY: Exige S Roadster
Lotus will offer the Exige in 2012 as a track-only car in America, despite killing off the street-legal Elise and Exige due to air bag laws and the discontinuation of the car’s 1.8L Toyota 4-cylinder motor.
The 2012 Exige for North America will be based on the Exige S and get a 3.5L supercharged V6 from the Evora making 345 horsepower. 60 mph comes up in 3.8 seconds and the car is good for a V-Max of 170 mph. Standard equipment should include a roll cage, harnesses, bucket seats, an electrical cut-off switch and other features that will make it legal for competition use.
The Exige is expected to carry a base price of around $85,000-$90,000, but we’ll have to wait for an official announcement from Lotus for more info.
[Source: DuPont Registry]
Ahead of its Frankfurt Auto Show premiere of six new models, Lotus has released a perplexing video teaser of one of these new sports cars. But wait, the above screen shot, taken from the boxer-on-a-race-track Lotus Films production, hints that perhaps Lotus will reveal an all-new Exige in Frankfurt.
Don’t expect a production model, but rather a concept, likely powered by either the same non-existent 2.0-liter 4-cylinder as found in the Elise concept, or perhaps the 3.5-liter V6 shared with the Evora.
Previous reports have also suggested the Exige will be a race car intended for use in rally racing.
In addition, Lotus has promised a new Elise S supercharged model, an Evora S IPS (automatic transmission) model, as well as an Elise SPS – using some type of automated manual gearbox. The remaining two cars are expected to be the production version of the Evora GTE Road Car concept, as well as the special Evora S Freddie Mercury Edition.
Look for more details tomorrow at AutoGuide’s official Frankfurt Auto Show page here.
Watch the video after the jump:
The Lotus Cup USA Series will begin its season on September 2nd at New Jersey Motorsports Park, followed by a second round at Lime Rock Park In Connecticut on October 20th.
The inaugural East Coast events kick off the series, which features both open lapping days and a time trial event. The idea is to let Lotus customers experience their car on a closed course, and operate them in the way they were intended to be driven.
Participants will also be able to receive professional instruction behind the wheel of an Evora as part of the aptly named “Evora Performance Driving Experience”.
Lotus will be packing heat this year at the upcoming Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance with the Evora GTE Road Car Concept and the Exige Matte Black Final Edition.
The Evora GTE Road Car will be unveiled to the world for the first time at the McCall’s Motorworks Revival event Wednesday night, August 17 at the Monterey Jet Center. This high performance Evora was built for the sole purpose of being successful in the new global motorsport GTE category. The Evora will crank out 420-hp with a sequential AMT racing gearbox sending power to the wheels via ultra-light forged alloy rims with center-lock hubs and Pirelli P-Zero Corsa tires. The sports car will later be shown within the Lotus exhibit on Peter Hay Hill on August 18-20 before being moved onto the Concept Car Lawn for display for the rest of the weekend.
The US Premiere of the North American only Exige Matte Black Final Edition will premiere within the Lotus exhibit on Peter Hay Hill on August 18-21. This Exige gets bumped up to 257-hp, a stealthy paint job and black Alacantara sport seats. Only twenty-five of these vehicles will be produced, each with their own number plate.
The current Lotus Exige is on the way out. Production has stopped for the European spec model since last December, because its current 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine does not meet current emission standards. And here at home, Lotus just announced a Final Edition model to bring the car’s run to a close.
So what is Lotus to do with the Exige now? Simple answer, make a V6 version with the engine out of the Evora. But it is no easy swap. The Toyota-sourced V6 engine is bigger, so Lotus has been running a test mule with a wider track and a longer wheelbase.
Don’t think the next Exige will be some Frankensteinien-like disfigured monster either, cobbled together hastily. The new car will be mostly new and its styling will be quite different. Lotus design boss Donato Coco thinks their current line-up looks “too weak” and wants to inject more style in their future models.
So expect the new Exige to have the new family look as previewed by Lotus at various auto shows over the last year. Their first completely new model will be the Esprit, which is due in 2013.
For the time-being, an updated Exige along with the current Evora should allow Lotus to bridge the gap between their current and their future cars.
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 is planning to build a Exige-based rally car that it will debut later this year at the Frankfurt Auto Show. The decision to enter the pro-rallying ranks is the latest move by the British sports car maker to further expand its motorsports activities that currently stretch from GT car racing at Le Mans to Formula 1 and Indy Car.
Reports are unclear as to weather this race car will share parts with the now-discontinued Exige, or if it will be an all-new chassis (likely based on the Evora platform).
According to CAR Magazine, Lotus’s ambitions aren’t to compete at the top-tier, but instead the RWD rally car will be built to drive in a class below the Super 2000 category.
It’s not yet clear if Lotus will enter a factory-backed team in either the WRC or IRC rally series, and instead may rely on selling prepped-cars to independent teams.
The Frankfurt show car will be ready for racing duty by January 2012 and in order to meet homologation standards at least 300 versions of the car will have to be built for street use.
The RSRNurburg school runs a fleet of brand new Lotus cars at the Nurburgring and Spa-Francorchamps for those feeling the need for speed. Based out of Nurburg, Germany, the company allows drivers to sample a new Lotus Exige S’s and track the car on both the Nuburgring in Germany and the Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.
As well as the two track sessions, beautiful twisty turny roads have been selected so the driver gets to experience both road and track. The tour is ended by passing the secret factory workshops of Porshce, Ferrari and Aston Martin. RSRNurburg will teach the driver high speed driving techniques, correst use of the controls, the racing line and the best use of different variations through the convoy training system and finding the importance of balance.
Prices vary from €249 which includes fuel and insurance for a half day package to €1495 per driver for a full day of racing at the Nurburgring racetrack.
[Source: The Lotus Forums]
According to a report from Autoblog North American-spec production of the Lotus Elise and Exige will end in August, leaving the brand with only the Evora to sell as its sole product.
Since its debut in 2004 the Elise, and its hardtop Exige sibling have won accolades from enthusiasts and journalists alike, but have always been a niche product. The end of the Toyota 2ZZ engine, which powered the Elise on our shores, likely contributed to this decision.
The Elise will continue to be sold in Europe with a new 1.6L four-cylinder engine until a replacement arrives in 2015.
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
Although the onslaught of all-new Lotus products is still years away, the company is apparently plotting to inject some new blood into the company portfolio in advance of their rebooting as a brand.
The mid-size Evora will allegedly get a refresh in 2012, about a year after the new, more powerful Evora S debuts. The main focus of the updates will be the cabin, in an effort to bring them up to the standards of Porsche, Audi and Mercedes-Benz, the eventual targets for the new Lotus lineup.
Also rumored is a new Exige, which may debut at the Geneva Auto Show, although details have yet to be revealed.
We can already hear the cries of “sellout” from enthusiasts across the world. Lotus announced that they were abandoning their “lightweight and simple” design philosophy in favor of increasing volume and building more technologically advanced, luxurious and upmarket sports cars.
Proton, the Malaysian owner of Lotus, pledged in 1996 to make Lotus profitable within 5 years. Having failed to achieve that goal, the company has chosen a new direction. New models will feature advanced features like dual-clutch gearboxes, active suspension systems, hybrids and other alternative powertrains. Proton is hoping to increase sales from between 2000-2500 cars per year to 6000-8000 cars per year within five years.
True aficionados of the brand will be relieved to know that the current lineup will remain in place and untouched by the changes, but new models will adopt the brand’s new philosophy. If you want an Exige 240S, better get it now.
Gentlemen, turn up your speakers. The title really needs no further explanation. A Lotus Exige S, Bugatti Veyron and a Ferrari F430 get together and go toe-to-toe on Laguna Seca. There aren’t too many in-car shots, but the ones that do exist show the Ferrari driver shuffle steering (a big no-no among race car drivers) and a not-quite-rapid pace through some of the turns (especially through the Corkscrew). We can understand not wanting to put your Ferrari at risk on an open lapping day, but if you’re going to baby the car, then ditch the race harnesses and the firesuit. A t-shirt, 3 point belt and an SA-rated helmet would be more than enough.
[Source: Motor Authority]
In a truly heroic display of automotive badassery, Roger Green, a writer for England’s own Evo magazine, jumped from his burning Lotus Exige race car during the 24 Hour race at the Nurburgring, Germany’s famed race course affectionately known as “The Green Hell.”
If the inferno wasn’t enough, Green’s brakes also failed, forcing him to find a way to slow the car. He was able to do so, brining the car to a crawl near a barrier, at which point he lept from the vehicle and let the marshals handle the rest. If you’ve ever driven a car with a fixed bucket seat, a five-point racing harness and a quick release steering wheel, you’ll know that getting in and out while stationary is a task for Cirque De Soliel acrobats, and doing it while you’re high on adrenalin, rolling down a Nurburgring and on fire is no easy feat. Fortunately, Green walked away from the accident unharmed, and while he didn’t finish the race, his legendary bail will be enshrined in the hallowed halls of Youtube for all eternity.
Video after the jump
“Add lightness,” is the world famous maxim of Lotus founder Colin Chapman, and decades on, the British specialty firm rigidly adheres to their mantra, producing cars like the Elise, Exige and Evora that can hang with the world’s best supercars and still deliver terrific fuel economy, thanks to their featherweight construction and efficient powertrains.
But the sports car market is limited in its scope, and Lotus is looking to bring its trade secrets to the mainstream world. Lotus held a demonstration featuring a Toyota Venza that had been given a weight reduction treatment by Lotus, and the improved car was 38% lighter, excluding the drivetrain.
Despite retaining the same interior and exterior dimensions, as well as safety characteristics, the car used lighter interior pieces, climate control units and re-designed suspension components that allowed for more efficient packaging of the car, and exotic materials were kept to a minimum.
Lotus claims that lightweight cars will have a positive effect on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and boost fuel consumption, although no specifics were given. Lotus has collaborated with other manufacturers in the past, notably General Motors and Ford, but their projects have always been performance rather than economy cars.
[Source: World Car Fans]
Tyler McQuarrie, best known for his sideways style in the Formula D professional drifting series, proved his versatility as a racing driver by dominating the Toyo Tires World Challenge GTS class at Long Beach throughout the weekend in the LPL/DRS/Switcars/LCS/Dayco/M&T Lotus Exige 240 S. McQuarrie’s win was made all the more impressive by the fact that this was the World Challenge debut for both the car and the driver.
Having out-qualified class points leader P.D. Cunningham and his famous Realtime Racing Acura TSX, McQuarrie started on pole and got a jump on the field on the first lap. Shortly after the green flag dropped, Cunningham made contact with another car and had his Acura’s hood open into the windshield on lap one, forcing him into the pits and ending any challenge the Series’ all-time wins leader could have given McQuarrie.
“I had a great start and actually got by a couple of GT cars,” McQuarrie said. “I didn’t have a working radio in the race, so I didn’t actually realize who was behind me. I looked up at the screen on the second lap and saw one of the Acuras head to the pits with the hood up. I dialed it back just a little bit when I felt I could.”
“I have to really thank the LPL and DRS team. They only got this car about five weeks ago and really did a fantastic job with it. To be able to run it here at Long Beach—to run both weekends, is really awesome. I think April in Long Beach is a little bit like May in Indy. It’s a special time and to win here is just awesome.”
The GTS win was the first time a Lotus had won a race of any kind at Long Beach since Mario Andretti won the 1977 Formula One event in a John Player Lotus.
Acura/RealTime Racing’s Esayian finished a distant second to McQuarrie in the No. 34 Acura TSX for his third podium finish in as many races and GTS points leader Cunningham finished 6th after the early incident with his hood.
[source: World Challenge]