Archive for the ‘Elise/Exige’ Category

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

Sunday, 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.

IMG_20160403_124643

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.

IMG_20160403_131546

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

Lotus Exige 360 Cup launched

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

Lotus Motorsport redefines the Exige V6 Cup with the introduction of the Exige 360 Cup. New lightweight panels and an increase in power mean the Lotus Motorsport Cup model continues to provide a benchmark in handling and performance.

Lotus Exige Cup 360

The Exige 360 Cup bespoke styling signals an evolution in design, with an option of four colours (Metallic White, Metallic Grey, Metallic Black and Metallic Silver) and stealth matt black roof, front access panel and louvered tailgate. This design is a limited edition run of 50 vehicles and each of these special Exige 360 Cup cars will receive a numbered Lotus Motorsport build plate.

This new model boasts an increase in power of 10 PS with freer flowing induction and a sports exhaust system, which combined with a low vehicle weight of 1130 kg gives an incredibly pure driving experience on road and track. The powertrain updates also give the Exige 360 Cup a sportier soundtrack to enhance the driving experience.

Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus plc, commented: “The V6 Cup was a favourite amongst many knowledgeable customers with its incredible track performance and distinctive design. I am excited about the introduction of the new 360 Cup which moves the game forward with striking new design features and performance upgrades that offer phenomenal ability on road and track.”

The Exige 360 Cup uses the track proven aero package from the Exige V6 Cup with an aerodynamically optimised front splitter, rear diffuser and wing. Together with the flat underside these aerodynamic aids offer 42 kg of downforce at 100 mph (160 km/h).

The chassis on the Exige 360 Cup is a Lotus designed stiff and lightweight bonded aluminium chassis with double wishbone suspension all round. The car is fitted with track focused 2-way adjustable suspension and a 4-dynamic mode (drive, sport, race and off) system, including launch control.

New features for the Exige 360 Cup include a bespoke lightweight front access panel, new lightweight rear tailgate and louvered panel. The Exige 360 Cup has a distinctive design, updated grooved brake discs for improved performance, Motorsport Red wheels, embroidered seats and dash panel.

The options available for the Exige 360 Cup include a new red Alcantara interior, adjustable anti-roll bars, Öhlins race dampers, fire extinguisher and electrical cut-off, FIA carbon seats, air conditioning and removable steering wheel.

The Exige 360 Cup is on sale now through the Lotus dealer network with prices starting at £62,995 (MSRP) including 20% tax.

As with all Lotus Motorsport Cup models the Exige 360 Cup is eligible for Lotus Cup race series.

Lotus Elise Oil Line Recall details

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

LOTUS IS RECALLING CERTAIN MODEL YEAR 2005-2006 ELISE AND EXIGE VEHICLES MANUFACTURED FROM JUNE 1, 2004, THROUGH NOVEMBER 30, 2006. THE OIL COOLER LINE MAY BECOME DETACHED FROM ITS FITTING.

A number of owners have reported that the oil line(s) have detacted from the oil line fitting at the oil coolers or at the engine. A detacted oil line can potentially spray oil on a tire increasing the risk of a crash or spray oil throughout the engine compartment increasing the risk of fire.

The NHTSA notified Lotus Cars of the recall on October 26, 2011. See NHTSA letter to Lotus Cars NHTSA Letter (pdf).

In January 2012 Lotus Cars USA sent a preliminary notification letter to all current owners of the affected cars. Owner Preliminary Notice (pdf).

On September 6, 2012, Lotus Cars sent a letter to the NHTSA with a proposed for the oil cooler line problem. The letter is in two parts. The body of the letter outlines the solution and how Lotus will reinburse owners cost of repairing oil lines that have detached.
Lotus Cars Letter to NHTSA (pdf).

The proposed reinbursement plan looks like this:

Customer Reimbursement Plan
1. Claimants(1) to be reimbursed for repairs conducted between 5th October 2010 and 19th January 2013 (customer notification + 10 days)
2. Claims will be refused if:
a) Repairs2 are not of the same type as the recall remedy (i.e. hose repair or replacement)
b) The repair did not address the problem that led to the recall
c) The repair was not reasonably necessary to correct the defect that led to the recall
3. Claims will only be paid if adequate documentation is provided:
a) Name and mailing address of the claimant;
b) Vehicle make, model, model year, and vehicle identification number of the vehicle;
c) Identification of the recall (either the NHTSA recall number or the manufacturer’s recall number);
d) Identification of the owner or purchaser of the recalled motor vehicle at the time that the pre-notification remedy was obtained;
e) A receipt for the pre-notification remedy, which may be an original or copy
f) Receipt must indicate that the repair addressed the defect or noncompliance that led to the recall or a manifestation of the defect or noncompliance, and state the total amount paid for the repair of that problem.
4. Within 60 days, claimant will be reimbursed for lesser of:
a) Cost paid by claimant for repair – OR
b) Lotus retail cost of parts + labour, taxes etc
5. Claims for reimbursement should be sent to: Mr Ron Mann, Customer Services & Warranty Manager, Lotus Cars USA Inc.

The letter proposes replacing the oil cooler hose end fitting where the original hose end fittings are removed and replace with new end fittings secured by Oetiker clamps.

It is proposed to replace the oil cooler hose end fittings, using a bespoke dealer fitting kit. This technique involves removal of the original hose end fittings and installing new end fittings, secured by Oetiker clamps. This repair will be carried out on the left and right longitudinal oil cooler hoses (4 end fittings). The lateral oil cooler hose will be replaced in its entirety. Following repair, the vehicle will be leak checked to verify oil cooler system integrity.

The letter continues to propose that Lotus Cars will need time to build and distribute the repair kits and train dealer technical staff. Thus the estimated date(s) that notifications will sent to owners, dealers and distributors will be subject to parts and tool availability, notification dates are as follows:
Dealer notification: 2nd January 2013
Owner notification: 9th January 2013

The proposed dealer service bulletin is available here (PDF)

Exige R-GT Rally car in action

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

In car video from Stefano D’Aste driving the Exige R-GT rally car on a tarmac stage in Northern Italy.

via Axis of Oversteer

Lotus Motorsport Hits Major Milestones

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

Whilst most sensible people prepare to wind down for the festive period, the hard working Lotus Motorsport team are busy celebrating the fruits of their labour over the past 12 months following the first successful engine fire up in the Lotus IndyCar chassis AND the first proper Exige R-GT rally car shakedown all within the space of 24 hours.

The first official Lotus IndyCar engine fire up in new car took place on 22nd December at Dallara’s headquarters in Varano Melegari, Palma under the watchful eye of Group Lotus Director of Motorsport Claudio Berro and technicians from the team. Pleased with the overall results, the team have now prepared the engine and car for shipment to the US where full testing will begin in January.

Heading north to Turin, the Exige R-GT, the Rally version of the new Exige S, took centre stage with a quick track shakedown for the first time in full Rally specification. The car handled exactly as expected and the team were delighted with the results. Testing will continue in the new year ahead of the start of the 2012 FIA World Rally Championship season where the Exige will contend the FIA GT category on asphalt at events in Monte Carlo, Tour de Corse and San Remo.

Claudio Berro said: “The fire up in the car went really well, there were no nasty surprises and I think our partners are going to be very happy with the results. It was only October last year that we announced that we would become an IndyCar engine supplier and just 12 months on, we had an all new Lotus engine and three teams signed up – Bryan Herta Autosport, Dreyer and Reinbold Racing, and HVM Racing. We’ve still got a lot of work to do ahead of the start of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar season but so far I’m very encouraged by what I see.

“And as for the Rally car, when you consider that we’ve only began working on this car in July, I think what we’ve achieved in that time has been incredible. For me the Exige S makes the perfect GT rally car, it has an awesome 3.5-litre, supercharged engine, and we’ve managed to balance the weight perfectly to meet the minimum weight regulations. The shakedown today (23rd December) has only made us even more excited to show off the car in true race form early next year – I think we’re doing the Lotus motorsport pedigree proud.”

[press release from Lotus]

Lotus to cease production of 2ZZ-GE engined Elise/Exige

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

Lotus Cars has notified US dealers that the current generation of 2ZZ-GE engined Exige and Elise will cease production this July on Model Year 11. Toyota has already stopped production of the 2ZZ-GE engine and Lotus has been buliding cars using stockpiled engines ever since.

There are to be 3 final Elise and Exige versions – “Final Editions” to be built between now and July 2011, for arrival in the US and Canada between June – August 2011. These are to be produced in strictly limited numbers as the supply of engines for production is approaching exhaustion. Interested customers need to reserve their cars NOW. The specifications of the 3 final edition cars are listed below:

Exige S260 Final Edition

Production Run: 30
An excellent value proposition, available in choice of color, these are based on the current Exige 240 spec with power enhanced to 260bhp. Tour pack, track pack and LSD are standard equipment.

Basics
• 257 horsepower supercharged and intercooled 1.8 Liter, mid-mounted 4-cylinder engine
• Multi-point fuel injection system with electronic ignition and throttle control
• Synchromesh 6-speed transaxle with lockout reverse gear
• Variable slip traction control
• Launch Control

Standard Fitment
• Touring Package with sport seats trimmed in your choice of black, red, magnolia or biscuit
leather.
• Track Package with double adjustable Ohlins dampers.
• Torsen (Torque-sensing) Limited Slip Differential.
• Black Y type 5 spoke forged wheels with A048 tires.
• Metallic paint range at no additional charge.

Options
• Choice of full range of current colors
• StarShield

Production Details
• Limited to 30 units for North America
• May/June production

MSRP
• $67,500 plus destination

Exige S260 Final Edition – Matte Black

Production run: 25
Based on the stunning Matt Black Exige Scura sold in Europe with great success, some changes for the US market to ensure that this car is even better value.

Basics
• 257 horsepower supercharged and intercooled 1.8 Liter, mid-mounted 4-cylinder engine
• Multi-point fuel injection system with electronic ignition and throttle control
• Synchromesh 6-speed transaxle with lockout reverse gear
• Variable slip traction control
• Launch Control

Standard Fitment
• Touring Package with sport seats trimmed in black Alcantara
• Track Package with double adjustable Ohlins dampers
• Torsen (Torque-sensing) Limited Slip Differential
• Black 5-spoke ultra lightweight forged wheels with A048 tires
• Special Matte Black paint
• Special numbered plaque

Options
• No options available

Production Details
• Limited to 25 units for North America
• May/June production

MSRP
• $69,900 plus destination

Elise SC Final Edition

Production run: 15
With a color scheme based upon the “Club Racer” Elise sold in Europe. Available in four colors with a high standard specification makes this Final Edition Elise an excellent value proposition. Extremely limited production run of 15 cars to close out the model in North America.

Basics
• 220 horsepower supercharged 1.8 Liter, mid-mounted 4-cylinder engine
• Multi-point fuel injection system with electronic ignition and throttle control
• Synchromesh 6-speed transaxle with lockout reverse gear

Standard Fitment
• Touring Package with sport seats trimmed in black Alcantara
• Bilstein sport pack dampers with Eibach springs
• Torsen (Torque-sensing) Limited Slip Differential
• Black 5 Y- spoke forged wheels with A048 tires
• Black rear diffuser
• Matte Black painted hard top, roll bar cover, transom panel and door mirrors
• Special numbered plaque

Options
• 4 no charge color options: Ardent Red, Aspen White, Chrome Orange and Carbon Grey
• StarShield

Production Details
• Limited to 15 units for North America
• May/June production

MSRP
• $57,500 plus destination
• $995 StarShield

Information via Lotus of Atlanta and Lotus of Newport Beach

2015 Lotus Elise – The Grown Up

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Oh yes, here it is! There’s still room for the Elise at Lotus but what a difference a decade or two makes. The Elise due for release in 2015 is a sexy, agile beast of a car. Finally the Elise comes of age.

2015 Lotus Elise

Aesthetically it’s definitely pleasing to the eye, it’s bold directional body gives you subtle hints of the Elise of old so it still seems a touch familiar but at the same time, it couldn’t be more different.

2014 Lotus Elise

Perhaps a small example of how the car has changed would help. Aside from strong graphic styling, the practicality of the car has had a major overhaul too with sizeable improvements made to the ingress and egress – in simple terms, no more acrobatics but still all the fun you expect from the Elise.

2015 Lotus Elise

Dany Bahar, Chief Executive Officer of Group Lotus, said: “We worked very hard on getting the Elise 2015 exactly right, it’s our entry level car so it needs to give a proper introduction to the Lotus driving experience.”

“The Elise you can buy now is still a fantastic car, make no mistake, Lotus remain very proud of it, but this is a natural progression for us moving forward. The Elise 2015 will also be class-leading in terms of performance and efficiency but it will do more than that it will take the Elise model to the forefront of its class across the board.”

“The design of the Elise 2015 is perfect for the target market, it’s young, strong, confident, verging on ruthless, it mirrors the engineering and technology. It’s the next generation Elise for a new generation of Lotus drivers.”

2015 Lotus Elise

Fear not though, despite the dramatic upgrades the Elise 2015 has lost none of the cheeky charm that made the two-seater sports car famous, it still retains performance through lightweight and handles like a dream – albeit a quite aggressive and tension filled dream. With a 2.0 litre inline 4 pressure charged engine delivering up to 320 PS, the Elise 2015 should reach 0-100kph in under 4.5 seconds.

The Elise 2015, proving great things come to those who wait.

2015 Lotus Elise

Elise Specification

Layout 2 seater, mid-engined, rear wheel drive
Engine Petrol with start/stop option
Hybrid technology Mild hybrid, i.e. start/stop technology
Cylinder 4
Capacity 2.0 litre
Power/Torque 320 PS / 330 Nm
Rev limit 7,800 rpm
0-100 km/h 4.3 seconds
Top speed 270 km/h
CO2 approx (CO2/km) 150 g/km**
Weight 1,095 kg
Seats 2
Transmission 6 Speed Manual, DCT optional
Drive RWD
Start of production Early 2015
Enters the market Spring 2015
Price indication Circa £35,000
** With new technology

2015 Lotus Elise

Last 2ZZ-GE powered Elise Delivered

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Lotus commemorated their successful relationship with Toyota today (17th September) at a celebration at the British Embassy in Tokyo where Lotus CEO Dany Bahar presented Toyota Motor Corporation President Akio Toyoda with a specially equipped Lotus Elise powered by the last ever Toyota 2ZZ-GE VVTL-i engine. The occasion marked the end of an era and the start of an even stronger relationship between the two companies.

Dany Bahar, CEO of Group Lotus (left) presented  the keys to the Lotus Elise R alongside a commemorative plaque encased in a leather wallet to Toyota Motor Corporation President, Akio Toyoda (right)

Dany Bahar, CEO of Group Lotus (left) presented the keys to the Lotus Elise R alongside a commemorative plaque encased in a leather wallet to Toyota Motor Corporation President, Akio Toyoda (right)

As part of the celebration, Lotus CEO Dany Bahar said: “The presentation of Toyota’s last 2ZZ engine in the Elise is a symbolic gesture of our continued respect and deep appreciation for our partner not only acknowledging our past but also looking forward to our future together.”

  David Warren, British Ambassador to Japan (left), Dany Bahar, CEO of Group Lotus (centre) and Toyota Motor Corporation President, Akio Toyoda (right) with the Lotus Elise R

David Warren, British Ambassador to Japan (left), Dany Bahar, CEO of Group Lotus (centre) and Toyota Motor Corporation President, Akio Toyoda (right) with the Lotus Elise R

Toyota Motor Corporation President responded: “A Toyota engine in a Lotus car creates a completely unique drive feeling – a special blend featuring the best of Lotus and Toyota that we hope many car lovers continue to experience and enjoy.”

Dany Bahar, CEO of Group Lotus (right) and Toyota Motor Corporation President, Akio Toyoda (left) in the Lotus Elise R housing the final Toyota 2ZZ-GE engine produced

Dany Bahar, CEO of Group Lotus (right) and Toyota Motor Corporation President, Akio Toyoda (left) in the Lotus Elise R housing the final Toyota 2ZZ-GE engine produced

Based on the successful cooperation with Toyota so far, Lotus has decided to take the relationship with Toyota to a new level that will enable Lotus to create tailor-made powertrain solutions for future Lotus cars.

For more details on exactly how Lotus will be partnering with Toyota in the future, simply look to the Lotus global unveiling at the Paris Motor Show on September 30th where Lotus will showcase their new line up to the world’s media. The eagerly anticipated event marks the dawn of a new era for Lotus and will highlight exactly why both companies are so proud of their relationship.

Lotus Exige 360 Degree Track Video

Monday, July 19th, 2010

Fantastic 360 degree wrap around video from a Lotus Exige as it laps Infineon raceway.

If you liked this video just head over to Vision Wells who will be happy to make one for you at your next track day.

Chris Harris drives the Exige 260

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Chris Harris celebrates the cult of the road racer by gathering together the very best of the breed. Renault R26.R, 430 Scuderia, GT3 RS, Exige Cup 260 and more battle it out against Colin McRaes’ 1997 Subaru WRX World Rally Championship car. The Exige clip is at the start of the second video.