Lotus were again occupying a decent amount of floorspace at this year’s Salon De L’Automobile at Geneva’s Palexpo, similar in size and location to the 2011 stand. With a total of 9 cars on display to the press on the 6th March there were 2 new variations of existing products, namely the carbon fibre bodied Lotus F1 Edition Evora GTE, limited to a run of 5 cars and the MY2012 Exige S Roadster, a soft-top and more ‘lifestyle’ edition of the hardcore 3.5l V6 Exige.
Lotus also featured a white Evora GTE, the version of the Evora which has shed 150kgs on the stock car and ups power to 444ps. Homologation of the car for the EU is continuing and is expected to be completed by May and the GTE will be offered with a clutchless manual gearbox and with an estimated price tag of close to £120k. This particular car sported a carbon roof, tailgate, spoiler and engine cover which will hopefully be available options on customer cars but for now are a concept to show how bespoke a GTE can be made if specified. Continuing on the Evora theme there was a Nightfall Blue MY12 Evora S, a re-introduced colour for the Lotus range with ebony black leather. The F1 Edition car is lacquered carbon fibre externally and a mainly bare carbon interior on most panels. This is a run of 5 cars to celebrate the return of Lotus to F1, prices are TBC for this and it seems that Kimi Raikkonen, fresh from the top of the time sheet in Barcelona has his eye on one as a new company car!
The c£37,000 Elise S was on display, this being the 220ps supercharged and chargecooled 1.8l 4 cylinder engined car. With a very substantial 250nm of torque this configuration of engine breathes new life into the Elise with a very tractable drive and bags of power in the lightweight car and sees a return from Lotus to chargecooling a forced induction car, introduced on the Esprit SE in 1989. To be able to fit the chargecooler radiator to the front of the car one of the previous pair of oil cooler has been deleted to make way however the existing oil cooler is 50% bigger giving more reliable resistance to heat soak, a problem on the earlier supercharged Elise. Expect customer cars to be available in the next couple of months and press cars in April for review.
In premium Motorsport Green paint, the Exige S Coupe was described simply as “a properly scary fast car” filling a gap left by the likes of TVR & Noble at the price point. With sub 4 second 0-60 and the ability to break grip in the dry in all gears through traction alone we can’t wait to get behind the wheel of this car on track. Deliveries of the Exige S Coupe will begin in summer this year starting with the 400 cars already in the Lotus order book.
New for Geneva was the Exige S Roadster. Priced the same as the Coupe, it offers a more ‘lifestyle’ choice of car with the deletion of the aero (splitter and spoiler) but with the addition of a more luxurious interior. Still featuring the 350ps 3.5l Supercharged V6 it’s the first factory developed and warrantied Exige Roadster offering top off motoring with huge levels of performance including the option of the SPS automated manual gearbox. Still under final development, the Roadster may also offer more compliant suspension and other comfort upgrades including more sound deadening and with a soft roof as standard, a hardtop will also be available. The Roadster matches the Coupe in other performance figures but top speed is limited to 145mph, down from the Coupe’s 170mph due to the soft top. Lotus expect that sales will be 20 – 30% of total Exige S volume and this car will be on dealers forecourts this summer.
What we are seeing now from Lotus is a sensible line-up of products from the entry level Elise, on to the Exige then up to the Evora then ultimately (for now) the Evora GTE so there’s a car for every sportscar enthusiasts to suit each pocket and power requirement with a choice of six cars in the EU. Unfortunately the USA are limited to the Evora and Evora S still since the Exige S cannot be Type Approved in the States due to smart airbag requirements.
For those waiting for the Evora Roadster (us included!), the car is in development and subject to the usual caveats, will be available at some point in the future. We’d love to be more specific but unfortunately that’s all the information we have been able to obtain. Fingers crossed as it will no doubt be a stunner when it does arrive.
Finally 3 black and gold motorsport cars were on display. The Evora GT4, the Lotus V8 powered LMP2 car and the Lotus F1 Team car. Motorsport features hugely in the groups marketing plan, it fact it’s almost the entire focus and the company are very optimistic for a successful year in at all levels of competition.