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Exige Sport 410 Sport Auto comparative test

Wilbert Camshaft

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I just read the current issue of Sport Auto and looked forward a comparison where the Exige Sport 410 ran against Carrera T, Jaguar F Type, BMW M4 Competition and the  AMG E63S... the outcome is disillusioning - to say the least.

Disregarding the price tag, in my view the Exige Sport 410 is almost the perfect Lotus Exige: 416 PS form a chargecooled engine ex works, Nitron Chassis, oil-cooler....., but actually the lap time at the short circuit in Hockenheim is a disappointing 1:11:60, a deep hit considering that a year ago an underexposed Exige Sport 380 (merely 350 PS measured) accomplished a 1:10:80 at least....

I don't believe in automobile conspircy theories...., nobody who loves cars want's to harm Lotus but in every impartial test I read in the last years they failed and did not meet the expectations. KomoTec accomplished an inspiring 2:38 lap time in Spa with their EX 460 this summer, why is Lotus not up to do the same with a company car like the Sport 410?

Lotus either should prove their potential reproducible with their own drivers and factory prepared cars at the Nürbrugring, Hockenheim and Spa or leastwise significantly lower their prices - it's nonrational to charge 20.000 Euro more for a car that's 0.8 sec slower than the forerunner at the short circuit in Hockenheim....I'am stunned



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How did it's lap times compare to the others on the day?

I don't believe for a moment that an Exige Sport 410 would be slower than a Sport 380. Maybe the conditions on the day were different, different driver etc...

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As I know normally all professional press cars are prepared in very detail to meet sport auto testing procedure - if they are not prepared they fail badly or are outperformed by those who do. 
I expect Lotus simply did not do it, or took it not really seriously or the car was even simply borrowed from a dealer who was not up to the task and hoped for good results against the other cars.
All prepared press cars use special camber settings to work at the difficult Hockenheim short circuit. 

Lotus should invest in a special preparation for their press cars and that is all and they are set at the front if the driver can handle it.

F.ex. the German press cars are selected from the factory, rebuild and adjusted for the special test of magazine or TV.
If it is for speed: Tire sets may be selected or prepared even. Geo is for grip and not life time or safety. Car is made more lightweight. Engines are slightly more powerful, auto gearboxes shift quicker, brakes are bedded in perfectly and the test was run at the factories testing areas secretly beforehand to know the potential results.
I have worked with German press car divisions and I know the huge efforts which are taken here.
I even came across a German sports sedan once having an aluminium roof instead of a steel version which was used in serial production 😉 
The car manufacturers are giving their best - including smallest cheating and as all are doing this it is really no problem.
But Lotus might not be able due to cost savings?

Apart of that: if the magazine´s lap time on a track is your only "currency" of sports cars to find the right performance/price relation you must rely more on a journalists information than your own feeling inside a car.
I learned long ago this is like watching porn, fake boobs and all - just second hand, you are not in it yourself and this not your personal reality. And forget about objective press judgements. I am in the automotive business far too long … 


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Very interesting remarks from Steffen, thank's for sharing the insight!

I just wish that the latest Exige models would perform as well as their specifications indicate and as it certainly feels to drive them. The more expensive a car is, the more important it is to me as a potential buyer that the car is not only fun to drive but actually competitive on track. Given that I can't check that for myself in advance I have to rely on test results

BTW: The driver of the Exige (Christian Gebhardt) was the same at both occasions (380 and 410).At least for the Supertest Sport Auto publishes the tested car's measured values for engine power, camber settings etc. to keep the results reliable and transparent.  You always know who drove the car and very often the videos of the test-runs are accessible on Youtube  - I trust them.

The results of the other paticipating cars:

Carrera T (1441 kg, 370 PS, manual gearbox): 1:10:3

Jaguar F-Type SVR (1.800kg, 575 PS, FWD, automatic gearbox): 1:11:2

BMW M4 Competition (1635 KG, 450 PS, RWD, automatic gearbox, Cup 2 tires😞 1:11:9

AMG E 63 S 4matic (2037 KG, 612 PS, FWD, automtic gearbox): 1:11:3

Lotus Exige Sport 410 (1139 KG, 416 PS, RWD, manual gearbox, Cup 2 tires😞 1:11:5

My conclusion: I will keep my wonderful Exige Sport 350 and will no longer consider to upgrade to an Sport 410 or a Cup 430 - if I need more power I'll go for the EX460 KomoTec kit.

Edited by Wilbert Camshaft
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If they tested my exige on its Tropheo's  they would have to allow for at least 3 (shortish) sessions to get the tyre temps settled to provide 30psi all round 'hot' - then they stick like s**t to a blanket.

If you go out on circuit thinking 1 warm up and then a fast lap or just keep going round and round starting with road pressures, you'll get slower and slower as the pressure gets higher and higher. I had the same with the JC Elise on A048s.

I would be interested to know how the Michelins have to be set up.

A difference in preparation prior to the timed lap would easily account for 1-2s a lap.


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1-2s on 1.1x lap from tyre pressures and slightly warmer tyres? A bit dramatic to me, maybe I'm just too bad of a driver.

The matter of fact is that it is fairly shocking to see much relatively underpowered manual Carrera T be so much faster, as well as massively heavy overpowered barges being also faster.

Would be interesting to see the logs or any other stats from those laps to understand where is the difference coming from (e.g., staright line, entries, exits, everywhere).

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Blyton is my 'local', so a similar lap time, it took me 4 x 5 laps to get everything settled last time. The rear's cold pressure for road driving is 38 psi. If I remember correctly I have about 24/25psi cold after 30psi hot. That's a lot of hot air 😂. If you're ever up this way, happy to compare notes...

I also think it likely that in the scenario of a minimal warm up prior to the timed lap, an advantage is given in favour of the heavier cars - they are putting more energy into the tyres per lap with their additional 300+kg.

You won't see in the data whether one car's tyre temps were optimal or not, since it impacts on the whole lap ie everything in your list. I guess what I'm saying is that yes the 410 looks bad in this test, but after a proper warm up?

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