A small lightweight sportscar weighing just 935 kg (2057 lbs),
powered by a 162.5 kW (218 hp, 221 PS) high revving supercharged
engine, giving a zero to 100 km/h time of just 4.3 seconds (0 - 60
mph in 4.1 seconds). It comes straight off the production line and
isn't an "aftermarket special".
Is this the quickest ever real-world production car?
It is certainly the quickest Lotus production car - so far!
The Lotus Exige S is the latest addition to the Exige range and
is a real sportscar that redefines the term "Extreme Performance".
With 90.5 kW / litre (121.4 hp / litre, 123 PS / litre), it is one
of most powerful production cars in the world for its engine size
but most importantly it has full type approval for all the markets
in which it will be sold. The Lotus Exige S is not a limited edition,
nor is it an aftermarket special - it is manufactured from start to
finish in the world leading and award winning Lotus Manufacturing
facility at Hethel, Norfolk.
Because the basic car is so immensely strong but lightweight (935
kg, 2057 lbs), giving a power to weight ratio of 173.8 kW/tonne
(233.2 hp/tonne, 236.4 PS/tonne), performance is phenomenal, with
100 km/h being reached from a standing start in 4.3 seconds (0 - 60
mph in 4.1 seconds) and 160 km/h (100 mph) being reached in 9.98
seconds (estimate) before topping out at 238 km/h (148 mph). Inspite
of this phenomenal performance the fuel economy is impressive with
an official combined figure of 9.1 litres / 100 km (31.0 mpg) -
extra urban is an impressive 7.2 litres / 100 km (39.2 mpg).
Lotus believes that there is no car on sale anywhere in the world
that has such good performance combined with such good fuel economy!
Not that many customers will be buying this car principally for its
Being a Lotus, straight-line performance is not the most
important factor, but every day driving on normal roads, or around a
circuit is. There are very few cars on sale today that can match the
speed, agility and safety of the Exige S in both day to day and
track or circuit driving.
However the Exige S is not just a track day warrior. It is a
sportscar that would be at home on the back roads, freeways and
autobahns, as well as on city streets. With an extremely "torquey"
engine and the classic Lotus suspension set-up of soft compliant
springs and firm controllable dampers, the driving experience is an
uncanny combination of telepathic-like handling with a taught and
comfortable ride. There is really no car that handles quite like a
Clive Dopson, Managing Director of Lotus Cars says, "The Exige S
represents the ultimate "extreme" production Lotus, with performance
that trumps other supercars costing twice or even three times as
much. That it does so with the fuel economy of a family hatchback,
stands as a testament to the Lotus concept of performance through
light weight. Its an unbeatable package and an unbeatable drive."
The Lotus Exige S in more detail
The Driving Experience
For what is probably the quickest "real world" production car,
the driving experience has to be pretty special. The lightweight
composite seats with ProBax technology hug the driver and passenger
giving the right amount of support and security to cope with
acceleration, braking and cornering forces of well over 1g. The
steering wheel is a small off-centre leather clad unit (both the
airbag wheel and the non-airbag wheel) and is set in just the right
position for comfort, driver dexterity and feedback. The gear stick
is located just 15 cm (6 inches) from the steering wheel for quick,
accurate and safe gear changes and the lightweight steel and
aluminium pedals are located in just the right position for heel and
toeing. The Lotus Exige S doesn't have a multitude of user
adjustment to the wheel or seat position - Lotus believes that the
driving position is pretty close to perfect anyway!
What does acceleration feel like in a Lotus Exige S? First of all
the feeling of acceleration is mildly addictive. Few vehicles, aside
from racing cars, motorbikes and extreme theme-park rides, can pull
this amount of g-force under acceleration, braking and cornering.
This gives a safe, but fun (even exhilarating) experience that you
can only get from such a finely honed sportscar.
The heart of the Exige S is a Roots-type supercharger and air to
air intercooler attached to the tried and tested 4-cylinder, 1.8
litre 2ZZ-GE VVTL-i engine. Using a development of the supercharger
and intercooler package developed first for the already legendary
Lotus Sport Exige 240R, the Exige S has peak power of 162.5 kW (221
PS, 218 hp) at 7800 rpm, 215 Nm
(158.6 lb ft) of torque at 5500 rpm (but 80% is produced at just
over 2000 rpm). Maximum engine speed is 8000 rpm (8500 rpm transient
for up to 2 seconds). 162.5 kW (218 hp, 221 PS) is the figure that
has been achieved by Lotus Engineers whilst retaining full vehicle
type approval for the markets in which it is sold.
A slightly redesigned air intake and roof scoop has been added to
the Exige S to ensure that the air to air intercooler works as
efficiently and effectively as possible in all climates and
A single oval exhaust exits from the centre of the undertray.
Aerodynamics is the key
The Lotus Exige S uses the same aerodynamic package as the
standard Exige. Like all Lotus cars, the Lotus Exige S isn't all
about straight-line performance.
The Lotus Exige S is one of the quickest cars on normal roads and
also around a circuit. Key to this incredible performance is the
aerodynamic package, which creates 41.2 kg (90.64 lbs) of downforce
- 19.3 kg (42.46
lbs) at the front and 21.9 kg (48.18 lbs) at the rear - at 160
km/h (100 mph). This downforce ratio between front (47%) and rear
(53%) is balanced and remains constant at the speeds of which the
Exige S is capable.
This class leading aerodynamic package is provided through the
contribution of the following components:
* Completely flat underside of the car - provided by the
elegantly simple, strong yet light weight extruded and bonded
* Anodised rear diffuser which helps promote the "Venturi effect"
underneath the car
* Deep front splitter, which sits just 108 mm (4.3 inches) from
the ground (giving just enough ramp angle clearance) whilst still
maintaining the aerodynamic properties and, of course, the
* Fixed rear wing that is set at the optimum 11.5 degree angle
for the best compromise between downforce and drag.
The Legendary Chassis and Body
The Lotus Exige S is built around the revolutionary and award
winning extruded and bonded aluminium tub, with a light weight steel
rear subframe, as used in the Exige. The chassis tub itself weighs
just 68 kg (150 lbs) and has a stiffness of 10,500 Nm per degree.
The body of the Lotus Exige S remains unchanged from the Exige,
as it is already a winning formula that is both effective and
stunning to look at.
However, the key body components of the rear wing, front splitter
and side air intakes are body colour coded to differentiate it from
its naturally aspirated cousin.
Closely Related to the Lotus Sport Exige GT3.
At the end of 2005, Lotus developed and built the Lotus Sport
GT3 to suit the new FIA GT3 sportscar championship regulations.
Weighing in at just 750 kg and producing around 285 hp, the Lotus
Sport Exige GT3 is suitable for this new power to weight ratio
The Lotus Sport Exige GT3 also uses a Roots type supercharger, an
air-to-air intercooler (both are race prepared) and the 1.8 2ZZ-GE
VVTL-I engine. The base engine and supercharger system is identical
in the Lotus Exige S.
So with the Exige S acting as the base, a competitive GT3
sportscar has been successfully developed!
Engine Down-Sizing is key to the Exige S
One of the key demands of the automotive industry is to produce
engines with not only low emissions and good fuel economy but also
extremely good performance. These two demands for performance and
economy are not normally compatible unless there is a significant
change in the engine development strategy.
Lotus Engineering's Powertrain Division, has been conducting
extensive research into "engine downsizing". Engine downsizing is
the concept of using advanced technologies to enable a small engine
to produce the power and torque of a much larger engine, with the
obvious reduction in weight, fuel consumption and emissions.
Lotus has recognised that there are changing market and
legislative demands in this area, and has developed a solution to
the problem: supercharging a high compression ratio and high speed
Lotus Engineering had to ensure that there were minimal changes
to the normally aspirated 2ZZ-GE engine, which arrives fully dressed
from Toyota for the Exige and the Elise 111R. The lightweight 2ZZ-GE
engine, with a compact metal matrix composite alloy cylinder block,
is a perfect unit on which to conduct the necessary research, as it
runs to a high 8500 rpm, with a very high compression ratio of
11.5:1. The only changes needed to be made to the engine were the
addition of a low pressure supercharger (and the longer drive belt
that this requires), the intercooler and a new intake manifold,
plenum and induction system.
An electronic drive-by-wire throttle ensures the quickest engine
response possible whilst keeping the emissions clean and as low as
possible, to meet relevant legislative demands.
The Roots-type 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 cooling air enters via the
redesigned roof scoop) before being fed into the engine itself. All
charge air ducting has been kept as short as possible with large
diameter pipes making sure that the bends in these ducts are not too
tight, to the benefit of throttle response and efficiency.
The whole vehicle has been tested extensively around the world in
hot and cold climates as well at renowned proving grounds and
The Lotus T4e Engine Management System.
The Lotus T4e Engine Management system is used in the Lotus Exige
This engine management system has been programmed to optimise the
The lightweight C64 six-speed gearbox (with an aluminium casing)
is fitted with the closest ratios and gearset afforded by the
transmission. The gearbox offers a fast, precise and light gearshift,
ensuring drivers have total control and flexibility to apply the
power exactly as and when required.
Equipment and Options
ProBax seats help to significantly improve the postural position
of the driver and passenger by maintaining the natural curvature of
the spine, so improving comfort and improving the body's blood flow.
The Touring Pack includes electric windows, black suede effect
interior with leather highlights, full carpet set, high
specification DAB Radio and CD/MP3 player, sound insulation,
auxiliary front driving lamps and interior stowage net.
The Super Touring Pack includes the contents of the Touring Pack
plus an upgraded interior trim with driver and passenger airbags,
high specification leather covered steering wheel, front speakers
located in the fascia top panel, engine start button, trinket tray
stowage unit, cup holder, leather handbrake sleeve, leather
handbrake gaiter and gear shift knob and embroidered logo premium
The Sports Pack includes switchable Lotus Traction Control (LTC)
- see later for a full explanation of LTC. In addition, it is
equipped with sports seats and a T45 steel roll-over hoop and
harness bar for the aftermarket fitment of four point harnesses for
track use only.
The Super Sports Pack includes the contents of the Sports Pack
plus black coloured ultra lightweight seven-twin spoke forged (6.5J
rear) alloy wheels (giving an unsprung weight saving of 2.7 kg (6
lbs) for each front wheel and 1.3 kg (2.8 lbs) for each rear wheel -
compared to the already lightweight cast wheels), track suspension
with Eibach springs and Bilstein one-way adjustable dampers - with a
single adjuster for bump and rebound - and adjustable ride height),
adjustable front anti-roll bar and a double-shear rear traction
control arm brace.
Stand alone options
Lotus Traction Control and Limited Slip Differential
A switchable Lotus Traction Control System (LTC) is available for
the Exige S. The LTC works through the Lotus T4e Engine Management
System to reduce power when required to maintain traction. Unlike
many traction control systems, LTC has been tuned to complement the
skills of the driver without taking over. The Lotus LTC is active
above 8 km/h (5 mph) and operates much more quickly than many brake
based systems. The system can be deactivated with an illuminated
button, which is located adjacent to the gear lever. A Torsen type
limited slip differential (LSD) is also available for tight and
twisty driving (such as in auto tests). The LSD is only available if
LTC has been specified and is not available by itself.
Air-conditioning is available as a cost option (standard in some
markets) and weighs in at a featherweight 15 kg (~33 lbs).
A Comprehensive Range of Colours
The range of colours, from standard solid shades to metallic and
fashionable lifestyle colours is available. Colours include black,
shades of silver, shades of blue, a vivid Aspen White, non metallic
British Racing Green, a hot Chilli Red, a high metallic Solar Yellow
and a harmonious Autumn Gold.
The total number of colours available is 20, excluding the
bespoke custom colours.
Market Positioning and Pricing
The Lotus Exige S, being a fully homologated vehicle for the
markets in which it is sold, introduces a more powerful and higher
performing series production variant of the Exige to the market. The
rest of the Exige range consists of the 141 kW (189 hp, 192 PS)
Exige, the Lotus Exige Cup 190 and its supercharged variant the
Exige Cup 240 (both of which are developed and converted by Lotus
Sport, the performance arm of Lotus Cars) and the Lotus Sport Exige
GT3 (developed and built by Lotus Sport specifically for the FIA GT3
The Lotus Exige S is priced at: UK: £33,995 including VAT (Manufacturer's
Suggested Retail Price)
Mainland Europe: 44,147 Euros excluding individual market taxes (Manufacturer's
Suggested Retail Price)
Japan: JYP 6,909,000 including tax (Manufacturer's Suggested
UK: March / April 2006
Mainland EU: April / May 2006
Japan and APac: May / June 2006
USA: There are currently no plans to launch the Exige S in the