After an absence from the market place for 2 years, Lotus is reintroducing the Lotus Exige. The second generation Exige, unveiled as a world debut at the Geneva Motorshow in 2004, takes the same racecar-for-the-road philosophy and applies it to the driver of today.
The first generation Exige was introduced to the world in early 2000 as a racecar for the road. Born out of the successful Lotus Sport Elise racecar, which was campaigned throughout Europe with such success in 2000 and 2001, the Exige was hand built in low numbers for a few markets around the world. The design project, undertaken by the Lotus Design Team lead by Russell Carr, took the core values of Lotus and the first generation Exige and applied them to the 2004 Exige.
Signature racecar features such as the roof scoop, rear wing, deep front splitter and fast back roof have been carefully developed whilst new features such as the engine cover vents, side intakes and lightweight mesh grills and a unique graphic further differentiate the Exige from other products in the Lotus stable.
With phenomenal performance and handling, powered by a Toyota 1.8 litre engine, producing a maximum power output of 141 kW and 181 Nm of torque, the Exige sprints to 100 km/h in 5.2 seconds and 160 km/h in 13.2 seconds before reaching a top speed of 237 km
Being a true mid-engine sports coupe, the high tech engine is located behind the cockpit and in front of the driven rear wheels. Power comes from the 2ZZ-GE 1.8 litre 4 cylinder 16-valve VVTL-i (Variable Valve Timing and Lift-Intelligent) engine linked to the C64 six-speed gearbox. The engine and gearbox combination, sourced from Toyota, was chosen as the ideal engine for the Exige and perfect for the Lotus brand philosophies.
The lightweight engine, with a compact metal matrix composite alloy cylinder block has been subject to a rigorous testing and development programme which, as part of Lotus' key federal Elise programme, has involved over half a million miles of testing in a wide range of extreme climate conditions from the Arctic Circle to the Arizona and Nevada deserts and at altitude in Colorado. This is in addition to Toyota's world renowned development and testing programme that had already been applied to the engine prior to the installation in the Exige.
To enable this class leading engine to carry the Lotus DNA, a brand new, custom-engineered Lotus T4 engine management system (EMS) has been developed. The software for the EMS was designed and developed by Lotus specifically for the Exige. This management system and the extensive calibration work ensures that the Exige has unique performance characteristics perfectly suited to the fast road and track environments.
The engine management system enables the VVTL-i system to select the optimum camshaft profile, lift and timing across the full range of engine operating conditions. This interaction between the Lotus T4 EMS and the VVTL-i system gives the Exige its optimum linear torque characteristics.
A change from the low speed cam to the high speed cam is controlled by the Lotus engine management system to achieve a smooth transition, which will not upset the balance of the car. This change occurs at around 6200 rpm, but can vary by a few hundred rpm depending on engine operating conditions. The return switching from the high speed to low speed cam occurs at 5800 rpm to extend the operating range of the engine on the high speed cam. Ths technology is the same VTEC system which has received praise on an international level.