GGLC Autox Sun May 15 is open for registration

April 21st, 2016

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 2016 Golden Gate Lotus Club Autocross season.

The 2nd event of the season is now open for registration for GGLC members at MotorsportReg.

Registration is limited to club members for the first week. Non-members will be able to register next week. The entry fee is $65 for GGLC members and $75 for non-members. First time autox’ers (first time at a GGLC event) are eligible for a $10 discount, so invite your friends along too.

This season we have 8 classes that you can participate in. Please read over the details on the club autocross page.

For Lotus Elise/Exige/Evora drivers, please use the classification tool to calculate the class that you should participate in and also your index points. For non-Lotus cars, please use the appropriate SCCA class.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about this year’s events or any other autox topic.

You can like us on Facebook and check out our event videos on Youtube (you might see yourself)

Colm

Lotus Evora 400 first drive

April 5th, 2016

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Last week Tom Sutton from Boardwalk Lotus invited the GGLC to swing by and take a look at the new Evora 400 which will be begining US deliveries later this summer. This particular car was one of two euro-spec demo cars that have been going all over the US to attend the auto show circuit and had 21000 kms on it. I got the chance to drive it for a few miles and wanted to write up my thoughts on the car. These are all my personal opinions and will be coloured by my experiences from owning an Elise for 10 years and an Evora S IPS for ~8 months.

Exterior
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When the Evora 400 was first announced I have to say that I was not a big fan of the looks. The sharp lines on the new front and rear looked a little “boy racer” to me and pushed me into getting an Evora S instead of waiting for the 400. However seeing the car in the flesh I have to say that the new front end looks much better in person and works really well in this carbon grey colour. The black line above the splitter kind of merges into the body and removes the thing I found most annoying about the front. The plastic grill replacing the mesh looks quite good as well.

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The rear also looks much better in person and I’d have to say that the Evora 400 looks very modern and contemporary.

Ingress/Egress
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This is perhaps the single greatest improvement of the 400 over the first gen Evora. The side sills are a lot lower and narrower than those of the Evora S (below) which means it is as easy to get in and out of as a regular sports car – no lotus position needed. Additionally the speaker enclosure in the door has been made smaller and thinner which means your feet don’t hit the door every time you get out (even with size 14 shoes). This has been my biggest annoyance with the Evora as a daily driver as you have be even more careful with your feet getting out that you have to in the Elise.
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Interior
The first thing you notice about the interior is the extra legroom in the drivers seat. The narrow sill appears to have continued towards the wheel well to give your left leg more room. The manual cars now finally have a dead pedal where you can rest your foot and if feels like there is more footroom in general which came in handy for my size 14 feet. That said my Evora S is an IPS so its hard for me to compare against the manual 400. It also felt like my right knee had some more room though the console didnt appear to be much narrower.

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The next thing you notice is the easy access and visibility of all the switchgear. You no longer have to cock your head and look behind the steering to squint at the controls. Plus they are now black with white lettering which makes them significantly easier to read than the old chrome buttons. The digital parts of the dash are now white on black and people who have been driving the car for extended periods tell me that they are easier to read that the red displays on gen 1. The steering wheel material has changed and feels more “rubbery” than my S – this is one change I would love to make to my car if possible. The side mirror controls have been moved to the dash for easy access while the trunk and fuel buttons have been moved to the door. Extra points for the trunk button no longer requiring the impossible combination of key in ignition, car in park, ebrake on, full moon night, fifth wednesday of the month, etc… to work 🙂

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The other thing I really liked was the HVAC controls are easier to turn and have many more detents instead of the current half dozen or so. The stereo is also different but I did not get a chance to play around with it. The glove box is now manual instead of electric which aligns with simplify and add lightness.

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The seats have switched from Recaro to Sparco and now have side airbag included. The stitching is a little different but they are just as comfortable as the original car. They now have a little leather pull to flip the seats forward which is much easier to reach and IMHO looks a lot cooler. The rear seats are as vestigial as ever.
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Driving impressions
I only got to drive the car for a few miles in traffic but the ride and handling felt the same as the S. It felt fast but with the lmited opportunities to accelerate it did not feel that much faster than my S. The thing I really liked about the drive was the exhaust which is sportier (louder with better tone) and has a button that controls the noise level independent of the ECU mode. This means you can drive the car in sport mode with the quiet exhaust or be in regular mode with the loud exhaust – the S ties the louder exhaust to the sport mode only which can get a little annoying in city driving. The shifter is also really smooth and felt a better than the other Evoras I have driven and miles ahead of the Elise.

The other thing I liked is that the Evora 400 is better built than the Elise and does not have all the rattles and squeaks you have come to expect from a Lotus. The demo car had over 13k miles on it and felt like a quality item just like my S does after 2 years and ~15k miles.

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Final Thoughts
My biggest takeaway about the Evora 400 is that it is a much more useable car than the S. It retains the excellent driving dynamics of the original car and adds a nice boost in power while making it easier to live with on a day to day basis. People considering a Porsche 911 as a daily driver should really have a look at the Evora 400 – it is now a competitor in terms of usability as well as performance. For me personally while it is a lot more car I can’t justify the premium over my existing S. That said the upcoming 400 convertible might make me change my mind 😉

Lotus Evora 400 @ Boardwalk Lotus

Lotus Elise Suspension comparo: Base Vs Nitron 46mm SA Vs Penske SA

April 3rd, 2016

One of the great things about being a car guy in CA is that there is a large number of fellow addicts around. This means that if you ever want to put some high dollar upgrades on a car you can usually find someone with a similar setup and get some first hand info about it. The latest to take advantage of this was Vincent from the GGLC who has been thinking of getting a set of single adjustable coilovers for his Elise and was having a tough time deciding between the Nitron 46mm Race Pro 1-Way and the BWR Penske Single Adjustable. Since the shocks run $2500+ he sent out some feelers on the forums and was able to get 3 cars together to try some back to back to back driving on some interesting roads for a highly subjective and completely unscientific comparison.

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Mag Blue (Vincent)
2005 Elise
Base suspension
LSS wheels
R888 tires

Black (Scott)
2008 Exige S 240
Nitron 46mm Race Pro 1-Way (450/600 “soft” springs)
Exige Wheels
R888 tires
A-arms for extra camber

Titanium (Rahul)
2006 Elise
BWR Penske SA (500/700 “street/track” springs)
Rota wheels (15/16)
RA1 tires wider than stock (205/50R15 245/45R16)
Aligned, lowered and corner balanced to BWR spec

Route
The road we used for the test was CA-35 from CA-92 upto Alices Restaurant which is an extremely bumpy road with lots of cracks and undulations. It is however quite a twisty road so is very popular with sports cars, bikers and cyclists. We also did drive La Honda road from Alices down to CA-1 but that section of road is so smooth that we could barely tell the difference and ended up using the original stretch again.

This was far from a scientific test and is basically about subjective feel of the various suspensions on a fairly bumpy road. We did not have any specific test criteria going into this and just wanted to drive all 3 cars. I am just going to describe my feedback from all 3 in the order I drove them:

Nitron 46mm Race Pro 1-Way (450/600)
The first car I drove was Scotts Exige S240 on the Nitrons. The car was set to 15 FFH front and rear which is a little softer than the recommended Nitron settings. The two things I noticed were that the steering was a lot lighter (extra camber A-arms) and that ride did feel pretty harsh on the on the bumpy sections. I had plenty of confidence in the car but I was feeling a lot of bumps and vibration through both the seat and the wheel. That said it certainly was not undrivable – just harsher than I would want on an everyday drive.

Lotus Base Suspension
I thought the Nitrons were harsh but when I drove the base car over the same section of road I realised just how much worse the base car is. It was crashing and skipping over the bumps and got lots of unpleasant feedback through the wheel. I should add that this is in relation to the Nitron/Penskes only – the base suspension Elise is still an incredibly capable car and I drove mine for 90k miles on that suspension including dozens of trips down CA-35. Driving the base car is still a great experience and only felt bad because it was sandwiched between two more capable (and more expensive) setups.

BWR Penske Single Adjustable
After driving the other cars I took my car for a spin down the same road just to see how it handled those bumps. While I have ~800 miles on these shocks most of them were at COTA and I had not driven a truly bumpy road on them before. The car started the day in my “highway” settings of FS/FS-5 which are significantly softer than BWR suggested settings for the street. These settings disconnect you from road harshness and expansion joints but can hit the stops on big bumps which is no fun. After Vincent drive in my car he said it felt too soft so I moved it up to FS+10/FS+25 for Scott before following him on the second run. I did notice that the rear appeared to be “bouncing” a lot over the bumps which is something he reported as well at the next stop. I started out the first couple of miles on the same settings and quickly realised that while there was no high frequency harshness the car was just too bouncy and underdamped over the bumps. I pulled over and bumped it to FS+15/FS+35 which gave it a much more compliant ride with minimal harshness (less than the Nitrons).

Final results
In the end I have to say that the Nitrons and the Penskes are both a significant improvement over stock in terms of comfort and drivability. From this informal test I’d have to say that the Penskes can be adjusted to a softer setup (this might also be due to the extra tirewall from the 15/16 wheels) but some folks can find that to be too “Cadillac-y” and unconnected. The Nitrons were very good on the smoother sections but cannot be made as “soft” as the Penskes. That said we dont know if the softer adjustments cause the Penskes to lose a bit on track (not AutoX). I have driven 3 days at COTA with Penskes but that is possibly the smoothest track in the US plus without a back-to-back its hard to really judge.

In the end if you want a good aftermarket suspension you cant really go wrong with either of these options and both vendors will work further with you to come up with the right package for your specific needs. They are both a massive upgrade over stock in terms of drivability and I wish I had bought them years ago instead of waiting 90k miles to make the change.

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Update: Added a note that the ride comfort of the Penskes is affected by the extra tire wall from the smaller wheels.

Lightening strikes again: The Lotus Evora Sport 410

February 25th, 2016

In a move that should surprise no one, Lotus has raised the bar once again by lightening the Evora in order to develop the sensational Evora Sport 410.

Evora 410

Following on from the recently announced Elise Cup 250, and the Exige Sport 350, Lotus’ famous Lightweight Laboratory has been hard at work cutting the weight of the Evora 400 by a massive 70kg. With a host of high-performance carbon fibre components as standard, and sharing the 410 hp supercharged engine with the track-bred 3-Eleven, the Lotus Evora Sport 410 clocks 0-60 in 3.9 seconds on its way to a top speed of 186mph.

Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus plc, commented, “We couldn’t help ourselves, and many may have guessed what we were planning following our recent announcements. We wanted to make the Evora even better: lighter, faster and sharper, but our team has exceeded our expectations. Lotus has distilled what makes the Evora so special into something that’s even more focused. The result is dynamically excellent and nothing short of superb.”

Evora 410 rear

This new, top-of-the-range Evora has been thoroughly re-evaluated, with every component assessed, optimised and reengineered as required. This covers every aspect of the car, including a drastically simplified carbon fibre tailgate (combining five separate elements into one), new lighter-weight door trim panels and the liberal addition of carbon fibre across the entire car.

The Sport 410 builds on the excellent work undertaken in the development of the Evora 400, itself a massive enhancement over the first generation of Evora. However, far from a stripped-out special, the Evora Sport 410 retains excellent road manners, being refined and composed during everyday driving.

The significant drop in mass, and a power boost, means the Evora Sport 410 is capable of lapping the company’s Hethel test track in 1 minute 28 seconds* – an impressive 3 seconds faster than the Evora 400. Reflecting what Lotus does best, it demonstrates the company’s principle of ‘adding lightness’.

The Lotus Evora Sport 410 is the result of Lotus’ philosophy of continuous improvement. With a lower centre of gravity, and a kerb weight slashed to just 1,325 kg, the car provides an impressive 309 hp/tonne.

In addition to boosting straight-line speed, the significant reduction in mass has allowed sharper, more agile and intuitive handling – with even greater accuracy and feel. Jean-Marc Gales added, “The Evora chassis was already the best in the business – the Evora Sport 410 takes it to a whole new level”.

Complementing this is a higher-output version of the supercharged, 3.5-litre 6-cylinder engine, developed through the Lotus 3-Eleven project which has beaten Nürburgring records. As a result, the car boasts 410 hp at 7000 rpm and 410 Nm of torque at 3500 rpm.

evora 410 hatch

The high-performance, carbon fibre components have played the single biggest role in the evolution of the Evora Sport 410. These include front splitter, roof panel, tailgate, and rear diffuser as well as race-derived sports seats and a revised front access panel. The one-piece carbon tailgate incorporates a louvered section, inspired by some of Lotus’ most-famous heritage models, and together with carbon rear quarter-light panels help provide the car with a sleeker, fastback-style trailing roofline. These changes have also improved the car’s aerodynamic downforce by 15% with no increase in drag.

evora 410 carbon splitter

The car’s reduced kerb weight has allowed the recalibration of the suspension, with improved geometry and completely revised damping, as well as a ride height 5mm lower than the Evora 400. As a result, handling is sharper, along with better body and roll control, yet ride comfort and composure is retained. Ultra light-weight, 10-spoke forged aluminium wheels, and optional Michelin Cup 2 tyres, complete the car’s dynamic revisions.

evora 410 wheels

Appealing to purists, the Evora Sport 410’s manual gearbox features a low inertia flywheel, to help ensure swift changes, while a Torsen-type limited slip differential (LSD) gives better traction, and faster exit speeds when cornering. Available as an option, the automatic transmission offers gear selection via lightweight aluminium paddles mounted to the steering wheel.

The new Evora Sport 410 also features Lotus’ Dynamic Performance Management (DPM) which, selected via a dashboard switch, provides ‘Sport’ and ‘Race’ settings. Proportionally increasing throttle response, lowering traction slip thresholds and removing understeer recognition, it allows enhanced control before the system intervenes.

As standard, the Evora Sport 410 comes with carbon fibre sports seats trimmed with Alcantara®, along with the steering wheel and centre console. An integrated touch-screen entertainment system can also be specified, including iPod® connectivity and Bluetooth® functionality.

evora 410 interior

The rest of the Sport 410’s cabin has received attention as part of its development. Weight saving measures includes attractive one-piece door trim panels finished in Alcantara®, with contrast stitching, the deletion of door arm rests and stowage pockets, the relocation of tailgate and fuel filler release buttons and the removal of speakers – if an entertainment system is not specified.

As well as the standard paint selection, the new Evora can also be personalised through the recently launched Lotus Exclusive programme. Combining traditional British craftsmanship with modern design, the service inspires customers to spend time tailoring the character of their Lotus with a comprehensive array of options.

The Lotus Evora Sport 410 will be limited to a global production run of one-hundred and fifty vehicles per year and will be available in all major markets from June 2016.

A specific North American version of the Evora Sport 410 will be announced later in 2016.

Those wishing to register their interest in the new Lotus Evora Sport 410 should visit: www.lotuscars.com/lotus-evora-range

Registration Open for Lotus Club Track Day At Buttonwillow, April 4, 2016

February 21st, 2016

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Registration is now open for the Golden Gate Lotus Club’s second track day of 2016 which will be held at Buttonwillow Raceway in Buttonwillow, California on Monday, April 4th. We will be running (3) run groups with approximately 20 minute sessions each. Your options will be Advanced Group, Intermediate Group, and Novice Group. There are a very limited number of Beginner slots available. Beginners will run in the Novice Group and will be required to have a coach assigned to them to ride in the passenger seat in order to enter the track. If we can find more coaches, we will send out an announcement for additional beginner slots.

Price is $185 for non-members and $165 for members.

You can become a Lotus club member for an annual cost of $25. This entitles you to a $20 discount on all track days for one year.

Click here to sign up via MotorsportReg

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This is a prime time of the year to be at Buttonwillow where temperatures are expected to be perfect for a track day and as such, we expect to fill up fast, so be sure to sign-up early to ensure you get a spot. Be aware that there will be absolutely no refunds. If you cancel before March 21st, and we can fill your spot, we will give you a rain check for a future event. Only sign up if you know you can attend. We will run this event rain or shine.

Please read your confirmation email as it has been expanded to include the general schedule. If you do not receive the confirmation email within approximately three days of registering, check your spam folder.

See you at the track,

John & Scott

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Registration Open for Lotus Club Laguna Seca Track Day February 22, 2016

January 14th, 2016

Evora S through the corkscrew

Registration is now open for the Golden Gate Lotus Club’s first track day of 2016 which will be held at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California on Monday, February 22nd. We will be running (3) run groups with approximately 20 minute sessions each. Your options will be Advanced Group, Intermediate Group, and Novice Group. There are a very limited number of Beginner slots available. Beginners will run in the Novice Group and will be required to have a coach assigned to them to ride in the passenger seat in order to enter the track. If we can find more coaches, we will send out an announcement for additional beginner slots.

Price is $220 for non-members and $200 for members, and $175 for Beginners.

You can become a Lotus club member for an annual cost of $25. This entitles you to a $20 discount on all track days for one year.

Please go to www.motorsportreg.com to sign up.

Our Laguna Seca events fill up fast, so be sure to sign-up early to ensure you get a spot. Due to the restrictions imposed by Laguna Seca on the number of cars allowed on the track at one time, there will be no sharing run groups as we normally do at other venues. Also, be aware that there will be absolutely no refunds. If you cancel before February 8th and we can fill your spot, we will give you a rain check for a future event. Only sign up if you know you can attend. We will run this event rain or shine.

Also, THIS WILL BE A 90dB EVENT! DO NOT RELY ON LIFTING AT THE SOUND CHECK – if your exhaust or intake is loud, take measures to reduce your levels before the event.

Please read your confirmation email as it has been expanded to include the general schedule.

See you at the track,

John & Scott

Make your mark with Lotus Exclusive

January 8th, 2016

Letting Lotus owners set the tone, the new personalisation service Lotus Exclusive offers sports car fans a unique ownership proposition. Combining traditional British craftsmanship with modern design and exhilarating performance, the service allows a comprehensive array of personalisation covering everything from colour coding through to race car preparation.

Lotus Exclusive

Developed by the Lotus Design team, the Lotus Exclusive scheme has been conceived to inspire customers to further personalise the character of their Lotus cars. With the ability to tailor vehicles to their personal taste, it provides an alluring alternative to an off-the-peg sports car.

Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus plc said, “In the past we have created a number of cars personalised to the specific requests of individual customers. These stunning cars were produced by a team of skilled craftsmen and women, using their expertise to create something exceptional and unique for the customer. Now all our customers will be offered this service, to create their own personalised car through Lotus Exclusive.”

Existing Lotus owners, as well as new car customers, can take advantage of Lotus Exclusive during the ordering process at their local Lotus dealership. Examples of what can be ordered will be on hand, providing inspiration and highlighting the areas of the car that can be personalised. Each customer’s requirements from minor details, for a subtle personal touch, to extensive customisation are then reviewed by the Lotus dealer and developed in conjunction with the Lotus Exclusive team at Lotus headquarters.

Body Colours

As the starting point for personalisation, the colour of any Lotus is an important decision. Lotus Exclusive offers a range of heritage and race themed body colours to provide a modern finish to all its cars. These colours include Essex Blue, used first on the Essex Commemorative Lotus Esprit Turbo of 1980 and corresponding Lotus F1 cars in 1980 and 1981 and Motorsport Black, which debuted on the limited edition Lotus Sport Exige 240R, a car which introduced supercharging to Lotus road cars in 2005.

In addition to the headline colours, Lotus Exclusive provides customers with a colour matching service to personalise a body colour in matt, gloss, metallic or pearlescent, providing a vast palette of possible body colours.

Body decals

Highlighting key components, such as door mirrors, sills, wings or spoilers, body work decals can be chosen in white, yellow, red or black colours. Race Stripes, again in the four key gloss colours are available in three styles (twin, single or asymmetric) and add a competition feel to any Lotus sports car.

The roof panel and mirror caps can be given larger graphics with national flags, including the Union Jack, giving an iconic look to the car.

roof decal

Interior Trim

All Lotus cars interiors are skilfully hand sewn at the Lotus headquarters in Hethel, Norfolk. Five suggested leather colours and four stitch colours available on all models.

interior 1

interior 2

Market Availability

Lotus Exclusive is available on all Lotus cars including the new Lotus 3-Eleven, the latest road and race car from Lotus, which will include a full range of performance options making it truly made to measure. Lotus Exclusive is available for all Lotus customers in Europe through the Lotus dealer network, with expansion into other regions later in 2016.

The Lotus Exclusive brochure can be downloaded here: http://www.lotuscars.com/exclusive.

2016 Annual Anti-Football Drive

December 31st, 2015

Saturday 6:22 pm 12/2/06 San Jose, California

The Annual Anti-Football Drive is Saturday January 30 and returns to the Peninsula. This is a casual moderate paced drive. The road conditions are always iffy at this time of the year so the pace will take into consideration the recent and then current weather.

Start:
Meet at 9:00am at Starbucks
111 De Anza Blvd
San Mateo, CA 94402

This is just off Hwy 92 near I280
We will depart at 9:30 sharp.

Route:
The route will be straight forward and easy to follow.

  • Left from the Starbucks parking lot onto De Anza
  • Right onto Hwy 92 toward Half Moon Bay
  • Continue on Hwy 92 toward Half Moon Bay at I280
  • Left at Skyline Blvd (Hwy 35)
  • Continue south on Hwy 35 past Hwy 84 (Alice’s)
  • We stop for break at the Vista Point on Skyline about 18.5 miles from Hwy 92 (photo opp)
  • Continue past Hwy 9
  • Left at Black Road (about 14 miles from the Vista Point)
  • Left on Montevina Rd (4.5 miles, T-intersection)
  • Left at Bear Creek Rd and across Hwy 17
  • Left onto Old Santa Cruz Hwy and merge onto Hwy 17 North
  • Continue 9 mi on Hwy 17 to the Hamilton Ave (#25) exit
  • Right at the end of the Off-Ramp toward “Bascom Ave. South” (Creekside)
  • Right on Campisi Way (T-intersection).
  • Follow Campisi to the parking lot for the Prune Yard Shopping Center. You will see Rock Bottom Brewery on your left. There will be a parking structure on your right that may have more parking.

Lunch
Lunch will be at the Rock Bottom Brewery at 1875 S Bascom Ave #700, Campbell, CA 95008.
Lunch will be from 11:30 to 12:30.

Route from Rock Bottom to Rosicrusian

  • Get to S. Bascom Ave and make a left onto S. Bascom
  • Veer Right onto Naglee Ave (2.7 miles)
  • Continue to Chapman St and park in the parking lot on the corner
  • We stop briefly at the Vista Point on the left to gather up the group

Rosicrusian Museum & Tour

Our final stop is the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum. Please head immediately to the Museum lobby so we can enter as a group. There is a Tomb Tour at 1:30pm that we can participate in, but we need to be at the museum promptly. http://www.egyptianmuseum.org/

RSVP is required for the Lunch & Museum stops!
Email me at webguy@gglotus.org

New Lotus Exige Sport 350 – Light is Right

December 10th, 2015

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As the ultimate incarnation of the world famous Exige, Lotus has revealed the Sport 350, the latest version of the class-leading and award winning sports car, that’s lighter and faster than ever before.

The new Exige Sport 350 is the next model in the range to mark the reintroduction of the renowned ‘Sport’ naming designation. It joins the recently announced Lotus Elise Sport and Elise Sport 220 – delivering a lighter and even more performance-focused driving experience.

Concentrating on what Lotus does best, and with a focus on pure performance, the two-seater has been developed to deliver an unrivalled experience for the driver, being sharper and more direct than previous models. Drawing on the core elements that have made the Exige a firm favourite with driving enthusiasts, the Exige Sport 350 combines Lotus’ lightweight extruded aluminium chassis structure with muscular and aerodynamically efficient composite bodywork.

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A product of Lotus’ ‘Lightweight Laboratory’, the Exige Sport 350 weighs just 1125 kg and has shed 51 kg compared to the previous model Exige S. This reduction in mass is the result of a thorough re-evaluation designed to deliver a pure driving experience.

Lotus engineers weighed every component in the previous Lotus Exige S in order to save weight, the result of which includes, amongst many other changes, the introduction of a louvered tailgate panel, a lighter battery, lightweight engine mounts, a lightweight centre console featuring an exposed gearshift mechanism, lighter HVAC pipework and the optimised use of sound insulation.

Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus plc, commented: “The Lotus Exige is already regarded as one of the world’s best sports cars and a benchmark for performance and handling both on road and on track. With the Exige Sport 350 we took an already phenomenally quick car and made it even faster, more dynamic and more pure, perfectly demonstrating our Lotus design philosophy of ‘lighter and faster’.”

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The 3.5-litre supercharged V6 engine generates 345 hp and 295lbft of torque at 4500rpm, offering scintillating, progressive power to the road, while revised suspension tuning and wheel geometry contribute to un-matched vehicle dynamics and steering precision. Coupled with the car’s lower mass, this power and torque enables the Lotus Exige Sport 350 to accelerate to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds (0-100km/h in 3.9 seconds) before reaching a top speed of 170 mph (274 km/h).

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The manual gearbox has been heavily revised, giving more precise and quicker shifting. The gearshift mechanism uses light weight machined and cast aluminium components which are so technically aesthetically appealing they are no longer hidden within the transmission tunnel but exposed through an open-gate design, further reducing weight.

The Lotus Exige Sport 350 is also available with a 6-speed automatic option where drivers can change gears manually via forged aluminium paddles located behind the steering wheel, or rely on the gearbox’s fully automatic mode. The automatic gearbox control panel is integrated neatly into the centre console of the cockpit, with buttons for Park, Reverse, Neutral and Drive. Up-shifts take just 240 milliseconds, with rapid downshifts accompanied by automatic throttle-blip (when in Sport mode).

When fitted with the optional automatic gearbox, the new Exige Sport 350 is slightly quicker for 0-62 mph (0-100km/h), clocking a time of 3.8 seconds against 3.9 seconds for the manual gearbox, due to electronically optimised gearshifts.

Replacing the previous car’s glass tailgate, the newly designed lightweight, strong and stiff, rear louvered tailgate not only helps lower the Exige’s centre of gravity, but also aids engine bay cooling – a feature first introduced on the Lotus Esprit Turbo in 1980.

The Exige Sport 350’s aerodynamic styling produces 42 kg of down force at 100 mph (160 km/h) with the rear wing and flat underside both contributing to its phenomenal aerodynamic performance and finely balanced handling.

The Exige Sport 350’s suspension, with firmer dampers and revised geometry, delivers more responsive handling and, combined with a lowered centre of gravity and four piston brake calipers, help it lap Lotus’ test track 2.5 seconds faster than the previous Exige S model, in a time of 1 minute 29.8 seconds. This makes it the first production Lotus ever to go sub 1 minute 30 seconds around the famed Hethel track.

Lotus Dynamic Performance Management (DPM) provides three discrete modes – ‘Drive’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Race’ – with the latter offering increased levels of traction slip threshold, allowing wider drift angles before intervening. The system also opens the engine exhaust bypass valve at mid-to-high engine speeds. Both ‘Sport’ and ‘Race’ settings increase throttle responsiveness.

New larger switches with improved haptics have been introduced for the DPM system (Sport and Race) with the headlights and rear fog lights mounted together with the vehicle’s new engine start button.

New trim packs introduce a heritage theme to the cabin with lightweight sports seats and door panels clad in red or yellow Tartan (leather or Alcantara interior trim options are also available). The Tartan theme was first introduced in 1976 in the Lotus Esprit S1 and was a bold statement originally in keeping with the fashion of the time and now fitting for the new Exige Sport 350.

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Optional extras for the Exige Sport 350 include lightweight forged alloy wheels (reducing kerb weight by a further 5 kg), cross drilled and vented two-piece brake discs (shaving yet another 5 kg off the weight), black or yellow painted four-piston callipers, air conditioning, an in-car entertainment system and full carpet and sound insulation pack. Interior packs cover Alcantara, leather and Tartan options, for both seat and door trims. By selecting the lightweight options available the total weight of the Exige Sport 350 becomes a featherweight 1115 kg.

As standard, the front splitter, rear wing, front access panel, roof panel, wing mirrors and rear transom are finished in matt black to complement the car’s aggressive stance; with the option for these components to be painted in body colour at no additional cost.

Jean-Marc Gales continued, “Light weight is the most important aspect of our heritage and future Lotus cars will follow the direction of our most recently launched models, the Evora 400, Elise Sport and of course our latest Exige Sport 350, all of which are both lighter and faster than their predecessors. Over the last 15 years, successive versions of the Lotus Exige have beaten more expensive sports car rivals in media comparison tests and I expect the Exige Sport 350 to continue this. The best has just got better!”

The Lotus Exige Sport 350 goes on sale in Europe in February 2016 and will be available outside Europe, excluding North America from March 2016.

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The Lotus Exige Sport 350 will also be available as a Roadster from March 2016.

Those wishing to register their interest in the new Lotus Exige Sport 350 should visit: http://www.lotuscars.com/lotus-exige-range.

The Lotus 3-Eleven heads to the Nurburgring

October 14th, 2015