For 2009 Lotus will once again improve the already perfect Exige by adding more power and by further reducing the sportscar’s already anemic curb weight.
Lotus has managed to squeeze an additional 17hp out of the supercharged 1.8-liter Toyota powerplant for a total of 257 ponies at 8000 rpm. Torque is rated at 174 ft-lbs at 6000 rpm.
More importantly, the Exige will drop another 50 lbs thank to the extensive use of carbon fiber. In total it will weight just 2,020 lbs thanks to a carbon fiber front splitter, rear spoiler, roof, engine cover, side air intake ducts, sill covers and even the top of the dash.
Part of the 50-lb weight savings is also due to the use of several other lighter parts including a lightweight “motorsports” battery, lighter 12-spoke forged alloy wheels, a revised rear engine subframe, a lightweight flywheel, alloy piping for the supercharger and intercooler and a composite panel that replaces the rear window.
Unveiled at the 2008 LA Auto Show, the 2009 Exige 260 will retail for $74,995 – a small price to pay for one of the most amazing driving experiences possible.
Official press release after the jump: —————————————————
NEW 2009 EXIGE 260 ADDS LIGHTNESS AND POWER TO INCREASE PERFORMANCE
Extensive use of carbon fiber and lightweight components brings the strongest performance yet from the Exige.
Los Angeles, CA – The Exige 260 adds lightness and power to push the performance envelope even further. Colin Chapman, the founder of Lotus is attributed as saying “adding power makes you faster on the straights; adding lightness makes you faster everywhere” and this statement is more relevant today than it ever has been.
The new 2009 Lotus Exige 260 does both!
Through the extensive use of carbon fiber panels to replace the front lower splitter, front access panels at the base of the windshield, roof, rear engine cover, side air intake ducts, rear wing and the interior dash top and sill covers, the Exige 260 crosses the scales approximately 50 pounds lighter than the S 240 yet it also has an additional 17 horsepower on tap to propel it through whatever street scene or track experience you wish to throw at it.
The improved power-to-weight ratio enables the Exige 260 to rocket through 0 – 60 mph in just 4.0 blurred seconds and Lotus’ renowned world-leading chassis dynamics keep the 260 poised through whatever curves you carve it through. The new Lotus Exige 260 is an instrument of pure driving bliss.
The weight saving program for the Exige 260 has looked at all areas of the car where components can be replaced with a lighter version (without pushing the costs beyond the reach of the serious Lotus enthusiast) or where components can be removed completely without detracting from the purity of the driving experience:
Carbon fiber: • Front Splitter • Roof Panel • Rear Engine Cover • Front Access Panels • Side Air Intake Ducts • Rear Spoiler • One Piece Carbon Fibre Dash Top Panel • Sill Covers
Other New Lightweight components: • Lightweight ‘Motorsport’ Battery • Ultra-light 12 Spoke Forged Alloy Wheels • Revised Rear Engine Subframe with Lightweight Coating • Lightweight Flywheel • Lightweight Composite Bulkhead Panel Replacing Rear Window • Alloy Supercharger/Intercooler U-bend Pipes • Footwell Pads
The 2009 Exige 260 weighs in at just 2,020 lbs. (est.), giving an impressive power to weight ratio of just 7.85 lbs. per horsepower. But, of course, power to weight alone does not make a highly competitive sports car, therefore the Exige 260 has a formidable list of standard performance focused equipment, as follows:
Wheels and Tires Ultra-lightweight wheels, that reduce the unsprung mass and contribute a weight saving of approximately 22 lbs. over the already super-light forged Exige wheels, are shod with Lotus specific LTS construction and compound Yokohama A048 LTS tires to maximize grip and achieve the ride and handling targets set by Lotus Engineering.
Safety Equipment Like all current Lotus cars, the Exige 260 is built around a very light yet strong extruded and bonded aluminum chassis tub. Attached to the chassis is a sacrificial energy absorbing composite front structure designed to help absorb crash energy in the event of impact.
Suspension Eibach springs, one way adjustable Bilstein dampers and a stiffened and adjustable front anti-roll bar allows customers to tailor the handling characteristics of the car to their own requirements.
As the Exige 260 cars are equipped for track use, a double shear track control arm brace is provided to cope with the expected curb abuse during hard track-day driving.
Brakes The brake system includes large diameter 308 mm 2-piece aluminum belled cast iron cross-drilled and ventilated front discs and 282 mm cross-drilled and ventilated discs at the rear. Upgraded Pagid RS14 sports brake pads set into the brake calipers (AP Racing two piece radially mounted, 4 piston at the front and Brembo sliding at the rear). Stainless steel braided brake hoses are connected to the proven Lotus track tuned servo-assisted four-channel ABS system that enhances braking performance and minimizes stopping distance without taking over from the skill of the driver.
Performance The Exige 260 is one of the quickest road cars around a circuit. Key to this incredible performance is the aerodynamic package, which produces over 88 lbs. of downforce at 100 mph increasing grip and stability at higher speeds. With a top speed of 150 mph, a zero to 100 mph in about 9.9 seconds and 0 to 60 mph in a blistering 4.0 seconds, the 2009 Exige 260 is the perfect partner for the serious driving enthusiast.
Engine The supercharged and intercooled engine in the Exige 260 has a maximum power output of 257 hp (260 PS) at 8,000 rpm and a torque figure of 174 lb. ft. (236 Nm) at 6,000 rpm. This significant amount of extra power and torque now available together with the VVTL-i variable cam system ensures that there is a smooth and linear delivery of power from low engine speeds all the way to the maximum 8,000 rpm (8,500 rpm transient for 2 seconds). The Roots-type Eaton M62 supercharger (with a sealed-for-life internal mechanism meaning that it does not require the use of the engine’s oil) is run from the crankshaft and has an integral bypass valve for part load operation. Charge air (air under pressure from the supercharger) is cooled through an air-to-air intercooler (the air enters via the enhanced roof scoop) before being fed into the engine itself. All charge air ducting has been kept as short as possible with large diameter pipes to minimize restriction and maximize throttle response and efficiency. Four high capacity injectors and an uprated fuel pump add additional fuel under hard acceleration or continuous high speed driving.
A lightweight flywheel is fitted, giving even greater flexibility and response to the gear change. A sports-type clutch plate and heavy duty clutch cover transfer the engine power and torque to the lightweight C64 six-speed gearbox (with an aluminum casing) – with the same perfectly spaced ratios as the Exige S 240. A torque-sensing limited-slip differential is fitted as standard, with a plate type limited slip differential available as an option. An Accusump (engine oil accumulator unit) is included in the whole package as an oil reservoir back-up for extreme track use ensuring that, under those conditions, the engine oil pressure remains constant.
Electrical supply is provided by a lightweight motorsport battery which saves 11 lbs. of weight sitting behind the rear axle – again weight saving is not just the removal of mass but ensuring that this mass is removed where it most positively enhances performance and handling.
Lotus Launch Control and Lotus Traction Control Interested in passing along lessons learned on the track with the Exige GT3 racing program, Lotus Sport has contributed another important technology – launch control combined with variable traction control.
The launch control allows the driver to determine the number of revs they wish to use during a standing start. Having programmed that limit, the driver then holds their foot down fully on the throttle pedal and sidesteps the clutch pedal for a very quick departure from the line. The clutch damper cushions the severity of the clutch to transmission engagement to minimize the stresses to the drivetrain. The launch control also keeps wheel-spin at bay until 6 mph, after which the traction control assumes its duties.
As with launch control, the driver can control the amount of traction control desired from the driver’s seat, altering it on the move to suit the characteristics of particular corners. The amount of traction control can be varied in over 30 increments from 0 to 7 percent tire slip, or completely off. The message display in the instrument cluster displays what degree of traction control you have currently dialled in.
Roof Scoop The Lotus Exige 260 has a high flow, full-length carbon roof scoop as part of the lightweight carbon roof panel, which not only saves 8.8 lbs. but also ensures efficient cooling through the intercooler, which in turn allows the Exige 260 to gain a higher charge density in the cylinders.
Retail Price (MSRP) Recommended retail price, excluding destination charges, is $74,995.