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Get Your Simplified Lightness On With The Lotus Exige Cup 380

The Exige continues down the path towards performance nirvana

Lotus has been pumping out successively quicker iterations of the Exige for several years now, including the Sport 350 unveiled in 2015, and the Sport 380 that dropped early last year. The latest is this – the Exige Cup 380, a car Lotus is calling the “ultimate track-and-back street-legal Lotus.” Essentially an even more focused iteration of the Sport 380, the Cup 380 once again strives for that tried-and-true Lotus performance philosophy, striking a balance between street-legal road car and track-burning race car. It’s a lithe supercar killer sporting revised aero and even less weight, making for a spec sheet absolutely worthy of the green and yellow badge glued to the nose.

The big selling point here is the car’s power-to-weight ratio, with 355 horsepower available to motivate 1 metric ton (2,205 pounds) of curb weight. That means it’ll hit 60 mph in as little as 3.4 seconds, while top speed is rated at 175 mph. But, in addition to lots of straight-line performance, the Lotus also offers lots of stick, generating as much as 200 kg (441 pounds) at speed thanks to an extensive rework of the exterior wings and spoilers. That’s an increase of 43 percent compared to the Exige Sport 380, and combined with more rubber in the rear, the Cup 380 should be an absolute riot on the track. Read on for more info.

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Redesigning the Evora is one of the best decisions Lotus has made in recent years. Now equipped with everything it needs to be road-legal in the U.S. once again, the Evora returned with new looks and a more powerful engine. Making things that much hotter, Lotus also launched theEvora 410 with additional carbon-fiber parts and ten extra horsepower for a higher power-to-weight ratio. The standard model was followed by several special-edition models, including the classic-inspired Esprit S1. Now, Lotus is paying tribute to its glorious racing past with the Evora Sport 410 GP Edition.

Developed specifically for the U.S. and Canada, the GP Edition is a throwback to the company’s Formula One cars from the 1980s. Although it had significantly more successful periods in the 1960s and 1970s, winning seven constructors’ championships, Lotus turned to the 95T, 97T, and 98T race cars from the mid-1980s for inspiration. What’s so special about them you ask? For starters, they ere driven by legendary pilots such as Nigel Mansell and Ayrton. Second, and more importantly in this context, all these cars sported the now iconic John Play Special livery in black with gold accents.

Just like the F1 cars, the GP Edition is finished in black with certain elements highlighted by gold. The bright color can be seen in the form of stripes on the beltline and side skirts, on each side of the front hood bulge, and on the C-pillars and the engine cover. The wheels have matching accents, while the "Evora 410 Sport" lettering on the rear fascia is also in gold. Other than that, the GP Edition is a standard Evora Sport 410, but this livery should be enough to get enthusiasts excited. I know I’d order one if I had the dough...

And the Evora 410 is nothing to sneeze at either. Fitted with numerous carbon-fiber elements on the outside, including the front splitter, roof, rear diffuser, and tailgate, the 410 is not only more aerodynamic, but lighter than the Evora 400 too. Overall, Lotus shaved 154 pounds off the standard model, while increasing output from 400 to 410 horsepower and 302 pound-feet of torque. Able to hit 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds, the Evora 410 is the first of its kind to do so in less than four clicks. It’s also quicker around the Hethel test track too, reducing the Evora 400’s benchmark by three seconds. The Evora 410 is also six seconds faster than the Elise Cup 250, essentially a full-blown race car.

Plenty of reasons to add a Formula One livery right?

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New Lotus Elise Sprint Edition Is Lighter, Quicker

Tipping the scales at only 1,759 pounds!

Introduced in 1996, the Lotus Elise has been redesigned twice, with the most recent, Series 3 model launched in 2011. For 2017, Lotus upgraded the sports car in order to keep it fresh until the fourth-generation model arrives in a couple of years.

The facelift isn’t exactly spectacular on the outside, but the Elise does benefit from redesigned bumpers, new headlamps, and a host of weight-reducing elements. New features include carbon-fiber front access panel, roll hoop cover, and engine hood, a polycarbonate rear screen, and forged alloy wheels. Inside, the Elise received more attention. Lotus redesigned the center console, which now resembles the Exige, and updated the graphics of the instrument panel. The carbon race seats are also new, as is the open-gate gear select mechanism borrowed from the Exige Sport 350.

The Elise now comes with iPod and Bluetooth connectivity, while carbin sill covers, an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel, and new Electric Light Blue upholstery are offered as options.

The Sprint Edition gets its juice from either the naturally aspirated, 1.6-liter or the supercharged, 1.8-liter, four-cylinder. The smaller engine cranks out 134 horsepower and 160 Nm (118 pound-feet) of torque in the base Sprint model, while the force-fed 1.8-liter pumps out 217 horsepower and 250 Nm (184 pound-feet) in the Sprint 220 version. More importantly, the drivetrain and chassis also benefit from new weight-saving measures, including a lightweight lithium-ion battery, AP Racing calipers up front and Brembo clamps to the rear. Optional two-piece brake discs are available.

Tipping the scales at 798 kg (1,759 pounds), the Elise Sprint Edition is 41 kg (90.3 pounds) lighter than the standard model and 26 kg (57.3 pounds) lighter than the Sport version. As a result, the Elise Sprint has a power-to-weight ratio of up to 168 horsepower per tonne, while the Sprint 220 comes in at 257 horsepower per tonne. Naturally, the sports car is quicker than ever before, needing 5.9 and 4.1 seconds to hit 60 mph from a standing start with the 1.6- and 1.8-liter engines, respectively.

The updated Elise carries over the same suspension setup as before, with fully independent double wishbone suspension and a front anti-roll bar, coupled with Bilstein high-performance gas dampers and Eibach coaxial coil springs front and rear. Being lighter than the preceding model, the spring rate was marginally increased in order to retain the classic ride the Elise is known for.

The Sprint Edition goes on sale in April 2017 from £32,300 (around $40,050 as of March 2017).

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Lotus Needs To Find An Owner That Will Take It Seriously

Could Geely be that owner? Only time will tell

If you look at Lotus on the surface, you’ll see a company that appears to be on stable ground. It’s never been an automaker that prides itself on the volume of vehicles it makes, but it has released its share of models, most of which have been universally praised for being some of the best handling sports cars in the segment. But if you dig deep enough, you’ll realize that the soil that Lotus’ foundation stands on isn’t as stable as you’d think.

Financial trouble. Mismanagement. Multiple bouts with near-bankruptcy. The list of ills run long within Lotus, and as news comes out that the automaker is reportedly on the verge of another ownership change, the question on whether Lotus can have a stable and supportive ownership group has never been as relevant as it is today.

Reports say that DRB-Hicom, one of Malaysia’s biggest conglomerates and the current owner of Lotus, is on the verge of selling the sports car brand to Chinese manufacturer Geely. Separately, Proton could also be in play with reported talks of the PSA Group gaining a controlling stake in the Malaysian auto brand.

Two potential deals are on the table, but for now, or at least in this space, we’re only going to talk about Lotus.

The issue here is the tenuous status Lotus has had for years despite producing some of the purest sports cars in the segment. It’s gone through numerous bankruptcy ordeals just to keep the company afloat. It’s also gone through numerous ownership changes, most recently in 2012 when its parent company, Proton Proton , was fully acquired by DRB-Hicom. Now DRB-Hicom is reportedly looking to divest Lotus from Proton and sell it to Geely, a Chinese automaker that counts Volvo among its auto brands.

Oh, and let’s not forget about the many controversies the company has been embroiled in, most notably the ouster of CEO Dany Bahar in 2012 over allegations that he was misusing company funds for his own lavish expenses. The two parties eventually settled in 2014 after multiple lawsuits but the fiasco served as another stain in the company, whether it deserved it or not.

So what do we make of this reported sale of Lotus to Geely? According to multiple reports, the Chinese automaker is keen on taking on Lotus while the PSA Group, the parent firm of Peugeot, Citroen, and DS, would be taking over Proton, thus splitting the two brands that have been linked together since 1993 when Proton acquired Lotus. Negotiations are still ongoing, but if it does happen, Lotus could find itself with another new owner. Hopefully, Geely has serious plans to turn Lotus around and bring some stability back to the company.

It’s a crying shame that the once proud British automaker has never had an ideal ownership situation for close to three decades now, but with a new ownership group reportedly on the horizon, there’s at least hope of seeing brighter days ahead for the sports car brand.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Source: Autocar

2017 Lotus Evora Sport 410 "Esprit S1" Edition

British automaker pays tribute to one of James Bond’s most iconic cars

For those of you who were old enough to have seen the 1977 James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me, you might remember the Lotus Esprit S1 from the film. It’s hard to forget considering that at one point in the movie, it turned into an actual submarine. It also carried torpedoes, water mines, and surface-to-air missiles. These features cemented it as one of the most iconic movie cars of all time, let alone one of the most famous cars James Bond has ever used. Fast forward to 2017, and we have Lotus releasing the Evora Sport 410, a one-off creation that celebrates the 40th anniversary of Bond’s Esprit S1 in a rather spectacular style.

Off the bat, it’s important to establish that taking the Evora Sport 410 on a dive into the ocean isn’t going to end well for the driver. So no, the one-off Esprit S1-inspired Evora Sport 410 does not have submarine capabilities. While we’re at it, the coupe also doesn’t have missiles or torpedoes, nor does it have a cement sprayer or a black dye slick. Better get those facts out of the way before somebody starts expecting the Evora Sport 410 to carry WMDs. We all know how that turned out the last time.

The good news is that Lotus did well for itself to justify the Evora Sport 410’s one-off status. The coupe is dressed heavily on special edition touches, thanks in large part to the involvement of Lotus Exclusive, the automaker’s very own personalization division. Beyond the cosmetics and aerodynamic touches on the coupe, the Evora Sport 410 retains one of its most imposing features: a 3.5-liter six-cylinder engine that produces 410 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. Combine those numbers on a coupe that weighs just 1,280 kg (2,820 pounds) and you have a sports car that pays homage to one of the most iconic Bond cars in history the proper way.

Continue reading to learn more about the Lotus Evora Sport 410.

2017 Lotus Exige Race 380

It’s an Exige for U.S. consumption, but will only be served on the racetrack

British sports car maker Lotus first introduced the Exige in the year 2000. The formula was simple – add a fixed roof to the hugely popular mid-engine, RWD, two-door roadster known as the Lotus Elise, and let the sales just roll in. Since its debut, the Exige has offered up three successive generations, plus a slew of special variants, including several track day specials. The last time we saw a race-only Exige was with the Cup R, a V-6-powered destroyer of supercars that dropped cover in 2013 at the Autosport International Show in England. Now, Lotus is offering a new one, and it’s called the Exige Race 380. Essentially a stripped down, simplified, and lightened version of the already stripped down, simple, and lightweight Lotus Exige Sport 380, the Race 380 swaps any semblance of road compromise for hardcore performance and competition-spec hardware. Improvements include updates to the gearbox, suspension, aerodynamics, and electrical systems, yielding a laser-sharp weapon that’s perfect for hunting apexes.

The Race 380’s road-legal equivalent, the Sport 380, debuted late in 2016, tempting enthusiasts with Lotus’ traditionally focused approach to performance. Unfortunately, the Exige doesn’t meet U.S. crash standards, which meant stateside speed lovers were left out in the cold.

Happily, federal regulations don’t really matter when license plates aren’t involved. As such, the track-only Race 380 will be sold on these shores, and although it’s ineligible for road duty, U.S. track rats are sure to scoop up their fair share of units.

So exactly how fast is this thing? To give you an idea, the Race 380 posted a time of 1 minute, 23.5 seconds around Lotus’ test track in Hethel, England, besting the Exige Cup R by an impressive 1.5 seconds. That’s the fastest time of any Exige ever at Hethel, so yeah, it’s quick. Read on for the specifics of what makes it so damn fast.

Continue reading to learn more about the Lotus Exige Race 380.

2017 Lotus Exige Sport 380

More lighter, more faster, more awesomer

Lotus was undergoing a bit a crises when its current CEO, Jean-Marc Gales, came onboard in 2014. But after spending nearly forty years in the red, the British brand is back in the black and doing what it does best – making lightweight sports cars for adrenaline-hungry enthusiasts. And that’s very good news indeed, because it means we get machines like this – the Exige Sport 380. Framed as a follow-up to the Sport 350 unveiled late last year, the 380 takes the tried-and-true Exige formula to even greater heights, making for the lightest, most powerful, most downforce-generating, and flat-out fastest model to ever wear the nameplate since it was first introduced in the year 2000. Offered as either a coupe or a roadster, this new range-topper is a bona fide street-legal track terror, packed with OCD weight saving details and legendary handling refinement.

Lotus claims the 380 is aimed at “six-figure supercars,” and looking at the spec sheet, it certainly appears to have all the trappings of a giant slayer.

“We’ve saved something special for our last new car of 2016,” says Gales. “We have built upon the foundations of the excellent Exige Sport 350 and developed a perfectly proportioned, intuitive and attainable supercar for real roads. The cut in weight is drastic and, combined with the hike in power and its enhanced agility, we’ve created something exceptional – far greater than the sum of its parts.”

For the moment, there’s no official word as to whether or not the 380 will come stateside, but if I were to guess, it’s unlikely. That said, Lotus has expressed interest in redoubling its efforts in North America, so maybe there’s a chance yet.

Either way, this is a car that pays attention to the details, so let’s do the same, shall we?

Continue reading to learn more about the Lotus Exige Sport 380.

Next-Generation Lotus Elise Coming In 2020

The British brand can finally afford to develop a new sports car

Lotus is planning to launch a completely redesigned Lotus Elise for the 2020 model year. That’s the word from Autocar, which claims that the British automaker can finally afford to fun an all-new version of its lightweight sports car. A third-generation Elise has been on the drawing table since 2010, when Lotus showcased a concept car at the Paris Motor Show, but the company opted to introduce a facelift in 2011 due to financial difficulties. With Jean-Marc Gales at the helm since 2013, Lotus finally has the finances to create a new-generation model.

When Gales took over as CEO back in 2013, Lotus was in a serious financial crisis that almost led to bankruptcy. Thanks to his turnaround plan that focused on improving the existing product range and brought a revised Evora, upgraded version of the Elise and Exige, and a new 3-Eleven, Lotus has reached a safer point where it is financially stable, a first since around 2000.

The new-generation Elise is part of a massive overhaul of the entire Lotus lineup that will include redesigned Exige and Evora models too, but production of new cars won’t commence until 2019, a plan that gives the company enough time to adjust as far as development and production goes. The new Elise will feature a redesigned bonded and extruded aluminum chassis and according to Gales, it will continue to tip the scales at under 1,000 kg (2,200 pounds). More importantly, the Elise is being developed for the U.S. market too, with North American customers to finally get another model besides the Evora.

The Elise is the company’s oldest nameplate in showrooms, having been launched in 1996 as a successor to the Elan. Sold as the Series 1 until to 2001, the Elise received its most comprehensive upgrade 15 years ago. The sports car was once again updated in 2011, but since then Lotus launched a wide range of versions and special-edition cars. A more track-focused variant, the Elise Cup 250, was introduced at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. The Elise was last offered in the U.S. in 2011.

Continue reading for the full story.

Source: AutoCar

Will the Lotus Brand Finally Get a New Owner?

China-based Geely could be up to the task of taking on the Lotus brand

It’s no secret that Lotus has had its share of financial problems, with Automotive News Europe recently reporting that Lotus’ current parent company – Proton – was considering selling a stake in the brand back in mid-September. Since then little has been said, but if a new report from Road & Track is to be believed, Lotus could soon fall under the ownership of Geely. Citing “someone close to the fire,” Road & Track claims that Geely is currently on a mission to purchase other automotive companies and that “Lotus would make a great deal of sense for an acquisition.”

While this might come as a surprise to some, those who have been following Geely know that the Chinese-based company has been digging its teeth into the automotive industry in recent years. It acquired Volvo from Ford back in 2010, and two years later, Geely got its hands on The London Taxi Company. If you’re a fan of the Volvo XC90, you can thank Geely for that, as that was its first major launch through Volvo once the Acquisition of the Swedish brand was finalized.

Currently, Geely is dumping money into Lynk & Co, developing a new vehicle platform for new models, that will ultimately be tested through the somewhat-recently-acquired Volvo Volvo brand. Considering Lotus is headquartered in the U.K. – Hethel, Norfolk, England, to be exact – it makes a lot of sense for Geely Geely to pursue Lotus as its next major investment. It certainly seems to have the capital that Lotus needs, and the ability to make things happen, so why not?

Source: Road & Track

2017 Lotus Exige 350 Special Edition

The lightest road-legal Exige built to date

Lotus launched the Exige in 2000 as a coupe version of the Elise, a roadster that’s been in production since 1996. The sports car was updated in 2004, while the more powerful Exige S was introduced in 2006. The Exige received its most recent update in 2012, when the 1.8-liter four-cylinder was replaced with the the Evora’s 3.5-liter V-6. Since then, the Exige S soldiered on mostly unchanged, with an automatic transmission added for the 2015 model year.

Although the third-gen Exige didn’t see major improvements as far as styling goes, it did receive a number of weight-reducing and aero-enhancing elements. In recent years, Lotus also launched many new road-going iterations of the car, as well as a couple of race-spec versions. With 2016 marking the brand’s 60th anniversary, Lotus unleashed the 350 Special Edition.

Based on the Sport 350, the most hardcore road-going variant of the Exige, the 350 Special Edition joins the Evora 400 Hethel Edition and the Elise 250 Special Edition, three cars specifically developed for the anniversary year. Compared to the Sport 350, the 350 Special Edition gains a number of lightweight, performance-enhancing features, as well as unique paint and interior options as standard. It is also limited to only 50 units, which means it will sell out in just a matter of weeks.

"This Exige 350 Special Edition joins the Evora and Elise editions that we have already produced to celebrate our half century in Hethel and our connection to Norfolk. Judging by the demand for the other models, I expect that the Lotus Exige 350 Special Edition will sell out quickly as it combines exclusiveness and limited production wrapped up in a great design," said Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus.

Continue reading to learn more about the Lotus Exige 350 Special Edition.


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