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23 October 2007

Big Boost to Lotus Line-up

Supercharger for Elise, 240 PS for Exige S, amongst 2008 model year upgrades

Foreword by Mike Kimberley, CEO of Group Lotus plc

Lotus is a global high tech company and expanding fast. We are committed to driving forward with technology for both Lotus Cars and our Engineering Clients, spearheading research into ever-increasing fields, such as, hybrids, electric vehicles and renewable fuels. Lotus Cars now retails its products in 32 countries and is growing quickly in new territories such as Malaysia, Korea and China in South East Asia and the Gulf States in the Middle East. Lotus Engineering continues to provide and develop high technology engineering consultancy for the worlds motor industry.

The exciting Model Year 08 line up heralds increased levels of performance for both Elise and Exige, to provide a peerless driving experience. Listening to Lotus owners’ views we are determined to continue with improvements to the experience of Lotus ownership and as an example we have developed the option packs to simplify the purchasing process. We are expanding our future model line-up to include exciting new products such as a mid range 2+2 sportscar and a stunning high specification supercar, both of which will be true to the Lotus brand philosophy.

Key Points

  • 220 PS Supercharged Elise SC

  • 240 PS Performance Package Exige

  • Airbags standard across the whole Lotus range

  • Instrument pack with new graphic design and increased functionality

  • New alarm/immobiliser + single integrated function key

  • Simplified option packs

  • 2008 Model Year changes available from October 2007

2008 Model Year in more detail

Lotus powers into the 2008 Model year with the most powerful series production version of the Elise to date – the Supercharged Elise SC – and a 240 PS Performance Pack option for the Supercharged Exige S that further reinforces its credentials as a “race car for the road”.

But extra performance is only a part of the 2008 Model Year story. There are several other enhancements that make the Elise and Exige ranges more sophisticated and better value than ever before. Driver and passenger airbags are now standard on all models.

An advanced new instrument pack (again common to all models) provides extra information about vehicle systems, including servicing reminders, but thanks to ‘secret until lit’ technology, drivers won’t be alerted to such details until it is necessary. A completely new alarm/immobiliser system has allowed the introduction of a new Lotus designed key with integrated fob, the famous Lotus roundel operating as one of its three functional buttons.

Following feedback from customers and dealers the number of option packs for the Elise and Exige has been reduced from four to two, but with increased specification for each. And should customers wish to personalise their Lotus still further, there are a myriad of accessories available through the Lotus Aftersales Operation.

Introducing the Supercharged Elise SC

The biggest news from the 2008 Model Year Lotus line-up is the introduction of the Supercharged Elise SC, a 220 PS version of the multi award-winning roadster, easily identified by its new rear spoiler and unique new design of alloy road wheels.

Despite the on-paper similarity with the Exige S, this is no mere engine swap – this is an allnew, non-intercooled installation applied to the current Elise’s 1.8-litre 2-ZZ VVTL-i engine. The Lotus-designed, Magnuson-produced supercharger uses a smaller Eaton rotor pack (an M45 unit) than that of the current Exige S, and is married to the intake manifold plenum as part of a single-piece casting. Combined with the absence of an intercooler and its associated pipework, this integrated supercharger/intake assembly contributes to an 8kg reduction in engine weight compared with the Exige S.

A further benefit of dispensing with the intercooler for the Elise SC application is the supercharger packaging viability for Elise and improved rear visibility when adopted into the Exige S, where vision from the rear view mirror is masked by the current intercooler installation.

The Elise SC has been designed to have different driving characteristics to the Exige S. In keeping with its role as a supremely fast road car rather than extreme track machine, throttle response is very progressive but also very direct, resulting in a measured, refined driving experience.

But, as you might expect of a car with 220 PS and weighing only 903 kg (1987 lbs), the performance of the Elise SC is electrifying – 0-60 mph in 4.4 secs / 0-100 km/h in 4.6 secs (estimated); 0-100 mph / 160 km/h in 10.7 secs (estimated); top speed 150 mph / 240 km/h (estimated). Although for the record, the Exige S remains the faster car on track, thanks to its superior aerodynamics package that generates 42 kg (92 lbs) of downforce at 100 mph (160 km/h). The fuel economy of the Elise SC is impressive with an estimated combined figure of 9.1 litres / 100 km (31.0 mpg).

A new bespoke wheel design is introduced to the Elise SC, the rears having increased half an inch in width to 8.0 inches, to give even better grip performance from the standard Lotus specific Yokohama AD07 LTS 225/45 R17 tyres.

Airbags for all

In this safety-conscious age and with more and more owners using their Elise or Exige as daily transport, demand has been growing for standard-fit airbags. Lotus have responded to provide driver and passenger airbags as standard on all Elise and Exige models; previously they were available as part of the Super Touring option package. The new dashboard has a new, softtouch surface finish.

More than just new dials

The new instrument pack in the Elise and Exige contains so much more than just a fresh pair of – stylishly back-lit – dials. It also features a high-definition LCD message panel that can display a scrolling text message with vehicle systems information.

The new instrument pack always displays the fuel gauge, engine temperature and odometer, however you can select to display the time (from November 07), trip distance or a digital readout of your speed in the opposite calibration to that of your speedometer dial – if your dial is in mph, the readout is in km/h.

Warning symbols are ‘secret until lit’, keeping the instrumentation free from visual clutter and distraction until absolutely necessary. New gearchange ‘shift’ lights similarly remain hidden until required. There are three shift up lights, cumulatively lighting when the driver is getting closer to the rev limiter and when all three are illuminated, they flash to indicate that you’re almost on the rev limiter so time to change up a gear!

A “key” issue

In response to forthcoming legislation, the Elise and Exige both have a new “Thatcham approved” alarm/immobiliser system. This, in turn, has enabled a new Lotus design of key that incorporates the controls for the alarm/immobiliser and central locking functions. This upmarket key fob features three buttons, the one which locks the doors and sets the alarm/immobiliser is stylishly crowned with the famous Lotus roundel. The second button unlocks the doors and deactives the alarm/immobiliser, and the final button is a panic button.

Complete range of option packages – from four down to two

Partly because of customer demand and partly due to the fact that airbags are now standard across the Elise and Exige ranges, the number of trim option packages has been cut from four down to two.

The previous Super Touring and Super Sport packages have been dropped, in part because they included the aforementioned airbags.

The contents of the revised Touring pack, for both Elise and Exige, now includes:

  • Full leather or Microfibre suede-effect interior

  • Leather trimmed centre console

  • Leather handbrake gaiter

  • Sound system ipod connection

  • Full carpets, with embroidered logo

  • Auxiliary driving lights (where legally allowed)

  • Sound insulation kit

  • Cup holder

The Elise Sport pack includes:

  • Bilstein sports dampers

  • Traction control

  • Twin oil coolers

  • ProBax Sport seats

  • Hi-Power silver ultra lightweight Forged wheels with standard AD07 tyres

The Exige Sport pack includes:

  • Traction control

  • Twin oil coolers (standard on Exige S)

  • ProBax Sport seats

  • Adjustable front anti-roll bar

  • T45 roll bar, with integrated harness mounts

The beauty of the Touring and Sport packs is that they can be combined so a customer can have the additional interior and exterior equipment from the Touring pack with the sport focussed equipment from the Sport pack.

Air conditioning, Lotus traction control, limited slip differential and hardtop are available as stand-alone options.

Customers wanting to add further finishing touches to their Lotus – such as specifying an Exige with the adjustable dampers and forged wheels that were part of the old Super Sport option pack – will still be able to order from an extensive range of accessories.

As part of the 2008 Model Year enhancements, the Elise, Exige and Europa paint ranges have been revised, with some less popular shades being dropped and new colours, including some vibrant pearlescent colours, being introduced.

The new Premium Colour Range has been designed to further enhance the choice for customers to individualise their cars. Most of the paints in this range require a more sophisticated manufacturing process and are from our paint supplier’s premium range. The paint colours in this range have been individually priced, and it is Lotus’ intention to extend and change this range at periodic intervals.

Performance Pack – more punch, more ability for Exige S

  • 308 mm front cross-drilled and vented discs with AP Racing four piston callipers

  • Uprated front and rear brake pads

  • Full length upsized roof scoop

  • Variable slip traction control

  • Uprated clutch plate and cover

  • Uprated vehicle performance through enhanced power and torque delivery

  • Launch control

Although hardly struggling in the performance department in standard 220 PS guise, the Exige S is now being offered with an optional Performance Pack. This raises power to the same 240 PS / 179 kW (minimum) at 8000 rpm enjoyed by the limited edition 240R, courtesy of a Magnuson/Eaton M62 supercharger and new, faster flowing injectors, and higher torque clutch system and an upsized roof scoop.

This hike in power, together with an increase in torque to 170 lbft / 230 Nm / 23.5 kgm at 5,500 rpm from the standard 158.6 lbft / 215 Nm (22 kgm) at 5500 rpm, helps whisk the Performance Pack Exige S from zero to 60mph in 4.0 secs / 0-100km/h in 4.2 secs (estimated) and from standstill to 100mph in 9.7 secs (estimated). Top speed rises to 153 mph (estimated). The power and torque of the 240 PS engine is increased across the rev range giving even more flexibility. Inspite of this phenomenal performance the fuel economy is impressive with an estimated combined figure of 9.1 litres / 100 km (31.0 mpg)

Of course the increased power and straight-line performance are only a couple of elements of the Performance Pack option. The clutch is uprated and a clutch damper fitted; there are thicker, 308mm diameter cross-drilled and vented discs at the front clamped by AP Racing fourpiston callipers; the standard brakes pads are replaced by uprated items and there are braided brake hoses.

Keen to pass on lessons learned on the track with the Exige GT3 racing programme, Lotus Sport has contributed another important technology to the Performance Pack – launch control combined with variable traction control. This combo has already made its production debut with the track-oriented Lotus 2-Eleven.  From the driver’s seat the launch control allows you to determine the number of revs you wish to use during a standing start. Having programmed that limit, you then hold your foot down hard on the throttle and sidestep the clutch at departure from the line time. The clutch damper cushions the severity of the clutch / transmission engagement to minimise the stresses to the drivetrain (noting that abusive/ continuous standing start applications will destroy the drivetrain components). The launch control also keeps wheelspin at bay until 6 mph, after which the traction control assumes its duties.

As with launch control, you can control the amount of traction control you require from the driver’s seats, 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 an optimum 7 percent tyre slip to completely off. The message display in the new instrument pack displays what degree of traction control you have currently dialled in.