The exciting new 2010 Lotus Exige S debuted at the 79th International Geneva Auto Show with new front styling, new rear wing and impressive emissions.The Lotus Exige is a renowned high performance coupe that has a well earned reputation as the choice for drivers who demand uncompromised performance, both on the road and on the track.
Lotus has always pursued efficiency and fuel economy and, for the 2010 Exige S, Lotus has reduced the emissions to only 11.3 oz./mile CO2 and increased the fuel economy to an impressive 27.7mpg on the Official European Combined Cycle and a frugal 36.2mpg on the European Extra Urban Cycle.The 2010 Exige S introduces a few key enhancements to update the appearance and improve aerodynamic performance.
A restyled front-end and new larger, low-drag rear wing, 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 in Geneva in 2007. Compared to the 2009 Exige tailgate-mounted wing, the new one is 7.1" wider and mounted 1.8" higher and 2.4" further back. The new rear wing is mounted to the rear bodyshell clam via end plates which not only increases the stiffness of the structure but also ensures that as much of the airflow as possible passes over the rear wing. This careful airflow management increases stability, reduces drag and, most importantly, maintains the impressive downforce figure of 93 lb at 100mph.
The restyled front-end includes a larger, more angular air intake to help funnel more air through the radiator to improve cooling efficiency. Ahead of the front wheels, on either side of the central aperture, two additional intakes feed airflow to the twin oil-coolers. Horizontal vanes bisect these oil cooler air-intakes to stabilize the airflow and further increase the cooling efficiency.
Since the Exige was launched in North America in late 2005 as a 2006 model-year vehicle, the power has increased from 190hp to 240hp in standard road form, and now even up to 257hp in the limited edition 2009 Exige S 260 Sport. The new larger front air intakes improve engine cooling for these higher powered Exige variants.
Mounted below the three new air intakes, is a new aerodynamic splitter for the 2010 Exige. Made from a lightweight composite, the splitter is now extended to wrap around the front-end and chiseled side lips are raised to deflect air around the tires to reduce drag.
Mike Kimberley, Chief Executive of Group Lotus plc 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 Exige have been hand-built at our 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 at 133hp per liter for the Exige S 240 (143hp per liter for the limited Exige S 260 Sport) and is a perfect demonstration of Colin Chapman's philosophy of performance through light weight and of Lotus' relentless pursuit for efficiency. The same technology that makes a light weight car a high performer also makes it efficient. How many cars available on the market today can rocket from 0-60mph in 4.1sec, continue on up to a top speed of 150mph and yet return an EPA-rated 26mpg in highway driving?"
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 visually extreme Exige and given it even more visual drama. The changes we have integrated to the front and rear of the Exige signal an even clearer and purposeful intent. The functional rear wing is race-inspired, the new angular air intakes and full width splitter give a more hard-edged and aggressive look. Overall, the Exige appears more planted and gives the illusion that both the front and rear of the car are wider than they really are, yet without losing its agile and sleek character."
There are several other enhancements that make the Exige range more sophisticated and a better value than ever before. As with the 2009 model year Exige range, driver and passenger airbags are standard on all models and an on-board Tire Pressure Monitoring System is standard in North American cars.
The instrument pack in the Exige contains so much more than just a pair of back-lit dials. It also features a high-definition LCD message panel that can display a scrolling text message with vehicle systems information.
The instrument pack always displays the fuel gauge, engine temperature and odometer, however you can select to display the time, trip distance or a digital read-out 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 `hidden until lit', keeping the instrumentation free from visual clutter and distraction until necessary and then providing the warning information on a `need to know' basis.
Gear change `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 it's time to change up a gear!
Interested in passing along lessons learned on the track with the Exige GT3 racing program, Lotus Sport has contributed another important technology - launch control combined with variable traction control.
The launch control allows the driver to determine the number of revs they wish to use during a standing start. Having programmed that limit, the driver then holds their foot down fully on the throttle pedal and sidesteps the clutch pedal for a very quick departure from the line. The clutch damper cushions the severity of the clutch engagement to minimize stress on the drivetrain. The launch control also keeps wheel-spin at bay until 6mph, after which the traction control assumes its duties.
As with launch control, the driver can control the amount of traction control desired from the driver's seat, 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 0-to-7% tire slip, or completely off. The message display in the instrument cluster displays what degree of traction control you have currently dialled in.
The 2010 Exige S will continue to have a fully independent suspension with unequal length wishbones, Eibach springs and one-way adjustable Bilstein gas dampers along with an adjustable front anti-roll bar to allow customers to tailor the handling characteristics of the car to their own requirements.
The brake system includes large diameter 308mm drilled front and 282mm drilled rear discs with AP Racing four-piston front and Brembo two-piston rear calipers. The Lotus track-tuned, servo-assisted, four-channel ABS system enhances braking performance and minimizes stopping distance without taking over from the skill of the driver.
The new 2010 Lotus Exige S is scheduled to launch in the US and Canada in the Fall of 2009. Powertrain specifications for these North American markets will be revealed closer to the launch timing of the vehicle in the marketplace. Pricing for the 2010 Exige S has yet to be determined.