Friday, December 4, 2009

Autoblog has reviewed the Lightweight goodness from British automotive company Lotus. Lotus Exige S 260 is a car which follows the companies policy to use the loopholes of the physics.

Lotus Exige

Lotus Engineering has a policy to make cars which are very light weight making even the car producing decent 200+ bhp car to compete with large hearted machines.

Lets come back to the specs of Exige S 260:

  • 1.8-liter Toyota-sourced four-cylinder engine
  • 257 horsepower
  • 174 pound-feet torque
  • Weighs 935kg
  • 20 mpg in the city
  • 26 mpg on the highway
  • Y-Type 8-spoke lightweight alloy wheels in black F: 6.5Jx16 & R: 7.5Jx17
  • Yokohama Advan A048 LTS F: 195/50 R16 & R: 225/45 R17
  • Servo-assisted, track tuned 4-channel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Lotus/AP-Racing twin-piston fixed aluminium alloy front brake calipers. Brembo single-piston sliding rear calipers and 288 mm diameter, 26 mm thick front and rear cast-iron ventilated & cross-drilled discs.
  • 0-100 km/h - 4.7 seconds

Lotus Exige Rear

Lotus Exige Rear

“”"Lotus manages to achieve such a low mass (while meeting modern regulatory standards) by using a novel architecture built from a collection of aluminum extrusions riveted and glued together. The issue of ingress and egress stems from this: the chassis was originally designed for a convertible. The side beams are large enough to support most of the structure, meaning they’re both tall and wide. In an Elise sans roof, no big deal. You just step over the sill and plop your backside into the seat. With the roof bolted in place, the experience is closer to sliding through the window of a race car or, more appropriately, down the barrel of a cannon.”"”

“”"Once you’ve wiggled your way inside (helpful hint: place your right foot in the well, sit on the sill, grab the wheel and tug yourself through), you’re ensconced in a carbon fiber shell with a minimal amount of padding. The driver’s seat moves fore and aft (the passenger seat is fixed) and both thrones benefit from cut-outs to accommodate a five-point racing harness and HANS device. As the seats are solid pieces of carbon fiber, there’s no lateral give, so you’ll want to start shopping for diet books on Amazon… yesterday.”"”

“”"Climbing up the Exige’s graduated tachometer towards 9,000 RPM, you’ll notice there’s no marked redline. Instead, a series of three red LEDs illuminate on the dash when it’s time to shift. When the engine is cold, the indicators come on between 5,000 and 6,000 RPM. Once the coolant and oil are up to temperature, you can throttle down, spin the 2ZZ past 4,000 RPM – where the VVTi kicks in – all the way to its 8,500 RPM redline and enjoy the mechanical duet of the engine and supercharger ricocheting around the undampened cabin.

With the engine rocketing towards redline, the Exige’s gearbox is ready to deliver six perfectly spaced ratios to keep the supercharged four in its meaty sweet spot. The aluminum shift lever benefits from short throws, although the linkage on our (likely abused) press car could have been slightly more precise. The narrow footwell – a minor annoyance earlier – became an asset, with closely spaced pedals that made heel-and-toe action a breeze.”"”

“”"It’s no wonder automakers around the world tap Lotus Engineering to sort out their suspensions – the Exige is the perfect case study. Simply put, the roads in southeast Michigan suck. They’re loaded with bumps, cracks and heaves. But even though the Exige is clearly not tuned for comfort, the suspension does a remarkable job of dealing with Michigan’s worst. “”

””‘Another benefit of the Exige’s small engine and featherweight design is decent fuel economy. The EPA rates the Exige S260 at 20/26 mpg city and highway and we averaged 19 mpg on two fill ups of the 10.6 gallon tank. The Exige and its carbon fiber doesn’t come cheap though. The S 260 adds $9,000 to the starting price of the S240 and the out-the-door tab affixed to our example came to $77,115. That’s more than $30,000 less than a Tesla Roadster, which shares its lineage with the Lotus Elise. Given that most drivers of either this or the Tesla are likely to put on far fewer miles than on an average car, we’d opt for the 2-3 minute fill ups of the Lotus if it were our own money – assuming, of course, that we wedge ourselves inside.”"”

more here and here


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