The Lotus Exige S is back for 2008, faster, more powerful and better equipped.
An optional Performance Pack offers a power increase to 179kW, up from 163kW, which is also supported by MY08 Lotus range updates.
Although hardly slow in standard 163kW guise, the 2008 Exige S is now available with an optional Performance Pack. Power rises to the same 179kW at 8000rpm enjoyed by the limited edition Sport 240, courtesy of a Magnuson/Eaton M62 supercharger, faster flowing injectors, plus a higher torque clutch system and an upsized roof scoop.
This hike in power, together with an increase in torque from the standard 215Nm to 230Nm at 5500rpm, helps rocket the Performance Pack Exige S from 0-100km/h in 4.16 seconds, 0-160km/h in 9.9 seconds with a top speed of 245km/h – just 0.2 seconds and 4km/h off the track focused 2-Eleven. Its remarkable power to weight of 191kW per tonne is at supercar levels.
Power and torque is increased across the rev range offering greater flexibility, while fuel economy is an impressive combined figure of 9.1 litres/100km.
But the increased power and speed are only 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 four-piston callipers; the standard brakes pads are replaced by uprated items and there are braided brake hoses.
Passing on its racing lessons from the UK Exige GT3 racing programme, Lotus Sport has contributed launch control combined with variable traction control, a feature seen on the Lotus 2-Eleven and Australian only Exige Sport 240.
A dial on the steering column selects starting revs for optimum standing starts, so all a driver needs to do is floor the throttle and quickly release the clutch. The clutch damper cushions the severity of the clutch/transmission engagement to minimise the stresses to the drivetrain .The launch control also minimises wheelspin until 10km/h, after which the traction control takes over.
As with launch control, the amount of traction control is adjusted from the driver's seat, altering on the move to suit the characteristics of particular corners. The amount of traction control can be varied in 30 increments from seven percent tyre slip to completely disabled.
To allow finer tuning and increased knowledge of the system, the message display in the new instrument pack displays what degree of traction control is currently dialled in.
New gauges and more
The 2008 Lotus Elise and Exige ranges now sport a new stylish design of instruments featuring a more legible white on black design. Along with a 300km/h speedo, the instruments feature a number of minor upgrades that add to driving pleasure and convenience. The indicator lights now flash on the dash to signal left or right, as opposed to a single light previously. The shift light also changes from a single LED to three sequential red lights that illuminate during the final 500rpm before the rev-limiter cut-out.
The dash also features a new high-definition LCD message panel that can display a scrolling message with vehicle system information. The red on black also maintains legibility in direct sunlight.
The new instruments constantly display fuel, engine temperature and odometer; however it can also display the time, trip distance or a digital speed readout in mph or km/h.
Warning symbols are 'secret until lit', keeping the instrumentation free from visual clutter and distraction until necessary.
The display also features a visual indication of the adjustable traction control system.
The key issue
The 2008 Lotus Elise & Exige ranges now feature a new one-piece alarm/immobiliser and key. This has enabled a new design that incorporates three buttons. The first button is the famous Lotus roundel which locks the doors and sets the immobiliser. The second button unlocks and deactivates it, while the third is a panic function.
Partly due to customer demand and partly due to airbags now being standard across the Elise and Exige ranges worldwide (previously part of an option pack in the UK), the number of trim option packages has been reduced in Australia from four to two, a Touring and a Sport pack.
The revised Exige S Touring pack now includes:
The Exige S Sport pack includes:
Touring and Sport packs can also be combined.
The Exige S Performance Pack includes:
Exige S Touring Pack RRP: $8000
Exige S Sport Pack RRP: $6000
Exige S Performance Pack: $11,000
Stand-alone options for the Exige S include Bilstein 1-way adjustable dampers and ride height, split-type 7-spoke ultra lightweight forged wheels, Lotus switchable traction control and a limited-slip differential.
For 2008, paint ranges have been revised including the addition of vibrant pearlescent colours. The new Premium Colour Range has been designed to offer further customising and due to the more sophisticated manufacturing process have been individually priced.
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