Lotus has always pursued efficiency and fuel economy and for the 2010 model year Lotus Exige S, Lotus has reduced the emissions to only 199g/km CO2, combined with improved fuel economy, to an impressive 8.5 litres/100km (combined cycle) and a frugal 6.5 litres/100km on the highway cycle.
The 2010 Lotus Exige S also sees the introduction of a few key changes to enhance the look and improve aerodynamic performance. A restyled front end and new larger, rear wing that not only reduces drag, but also gives a more muscular stance enhancing the lightweight shrink-wrapped look of the whole car.
The composite rear wing is based on the design from the Exige GT3 road car concept, shown at the Geneva Motorshow in 2007. Compared to the 2009 Exige tailgate-mounted wing, it is 181mm wider, mounted 46mm higher and 61mm further back. It is attached to the rear bodyshell clam via rear end plates, which not only increase the stiffness of the whole structure; it ensures maximum airflow over the rear wing. This careful airflow management increases stability, reduces drag and, most importantly, maintains the impressive downforce figures of 42kg at 160km/h.
The restyled front end includes a larger, more angular air intake mouth to help funnel more air through the radiator, to improve the efficiency of the engine system. On either side of the main aperture, two larger air intakes increase the airflow to the twin oil coolers, with bisecting horizontal vanes to stabilise the airflow for ultimate cooling efficiency.
Since the Exige S2 was launched in 2004, power has increased from 141kW to 163kW, up to 179kW in Sport 240 and optional Performance Pack guises, peaking at 192kW in the track-centric Exige Cup 260 form, and the new larger air intakes improve engine cooling for these current high-powered Exige variants.
Mounted below the three new air intakes is a new aerodynamic splitter. Made from a lightweight composite, the splitter is now extended to wrap around the whole of the front end and chiseled side lips are raised to deflect air around the tyres to reduce drag.
Jonathan Stretton, General Manager at Lotus Cars Australia said: “Over the years, the Lotus Exige has developed a hardcore fan base around the world and its popularity has placed it as one of the legendary sports cars of the 21st century.
“So far, over 5000 Exiges have been hand-built at our high-tech manufacturing facility making it a significant contributor to our global production. The lightweight Exige has one of the highest specific power outputs of any globally emissions certified car and 107kW/litre is a perfect demonstration of Colin Chapman’s philosophy of performance through light weight and of Lotus’ relentless pursuit of efficiency.
Like all Lotus cars, the functional components of the car are also beautifully designed as Russell Carr, Chief of Lotus Design, explains: “For 2010 we have taken the already extreme Exige and given it even more visual drama. The changes we have integrated into the front and rear of the Exige signal an even clearer and purposeful intent. The new rear wing is race inspired, the new angular air intakes and full width splitter gives a more hard-edged and aggressive look.
Roger Becker, Director of Vehicle Engineering said: “Taken as a complete package the updates make significant improvements to aerodynamics and the overall look of the car. The Exige is a classic fit-for-purpose performance machine, the design tweaks we have made have reduced the drag, cleaned up the airflow around the front and rear of the car, whilst retaining the impressive balanced downforce figures, to give an exciting high performance drive.”
The instrument pack in the Exige contains two main stylishly backlit dials, in addition to a high-definition LCD message panel that can display a scrolling text message with vehicle systems information.
The instrument pack always displays the fuel level, engine temperature and odometer, however it can also display time, trip distance or a digital speed in the opposite calibration of the speedometer, in km/h or mph.
Warning symbols are ‘secret until lit’, keeping the instrumentation free from visual clutter and distraction until necessary. Gear change shift lights similarly remain hidden until required, with three sequential red lights, flashing simultaneously just before the rev limiter.
The 2010 Exige continues with the unified key and alarm/immobiliser system with central locking, with the famous Lotus roundel. The key features separate locking/unlocking buttons and a third for a panic alarm.
With the Exige Performance Pack, the power is raised to 179kW at 8000 rpm courtesy of a Magnuson/Eaton M62 supercharger, new faster flowing injectors and higher torque clutch system and an upsized roof scoop to feed more air to the supercharger intercooler system. This hike in power, together with an increase in torque to 230Nm at 5500rpm from the standard 215Nm at 5500rpm, helps whisk the Performance Pack Exige S from 0-100km/h in 4.77 seconds, and on to 160km/h in 11.97 seconds. Top speed rises to 232km/h.
The power and torque of the 179kW engine is increased across the rev range giving even more flexibility. Despite these high levels of performance the fuel economy is impressive with a new combined figure of 8.5 litres per 100km and 199g/km CO2 – reduced from 9.1l/100km and 216 g/km CO2 for the 2009 Model Year Exige.
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 four-piston callipers; the standard brake pads are replaced by uprated pads.
The Performance Pack also includes the Exige GT3-race developed launch control with variable traction control. From the driver’s seat, the system allows the selection of revs for the optimum standing start in all road conditions. A clutch damper cushions the severity of the clutch/transmission engagement to minimise stresses to the drivetrain.
A torque-sensing limited slip differential is available as stand-alone options, along with options such as Bilstein one-way and height-adjustable adjustable dampers and lightweight forged alloy wheels.
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