Lotus just keeps the new Exige variants coming, with the latest being the Sport 350, the successor of the Exige S. For those who do not require something as hardcore as an Exige Cup, Lotus now offers the Exige Sport 350 to replace the old S version. The new model is 51kg lighter that the already light car it replaces, now tipping the scales at 1125kg.
The weight reduction came after the company’s engineers weighed every component in the Exige S model in order to find where they could save weight. The result is a new louvered tailgate panel, a lighter battery, lightweight engine mounts, a new centre console with the shift mechanism exposed, “optimized” sound insulation and even lighter pipework in the heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems.
The supercharged 3.5-litre V6 engine continues to make 345hp and 295lb ft of torque, enabling the Exige Sport 350 to accelerate to 60mph in 3.7 seconds (0-100km/h in 3.9 seconds) and on to a top speed of 170mph (274km/h).
Other changes include a heavily revised manual gearbox which now offers a more precise and quicker shifting by using lighter cast aluminum machined components which are now exposed thanks to the new design feature of the center console. Customers can opt for a six-speed automatic gearbox with forged aluminum paddles behind the steering wheel, offering slightly quicker acceleration from zero to 62mph (3.8 seconds against 3.9) due to “electronically optimized gearshifts”. Just stick to the manual, we say.
The new louvered tailgate helps the engine bay to stay cool while the aero agenda of the new Exige Sport 350 offers 42kg of real downforce at 100mph (160km/h). A set of firmer dampers and a revised geometry are taking advantage of the lighter car, helping the Lotus Exige Sport 350 to lap Hethel test track 2.5 seconds quicker than the Exige S model it replaces, scoring 1min 29.8 seconds. This makes it the first production Lotus to go under the 1min30sec mark around the company’s test track.
Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Lotus said: “With the Exige Sport 350 we took an already phenomenally quick car and made it even faster, more dynamic and more pure, perfectly demonstrating our Lotus design philosophy of ‘lighter and faster’.”
The cabin now features revised switchgear for the Dynamic Performance Management system, the engine’s start button and lights switch while there are new trim packs on offer, including red or yellow Tartan, a heritage scheme first introduced in the 1976 Esprit S1.
Lotus also offers as an option a set of lightweight forged alloy wheels which drop the kerb weight a further 5 kg, crossed drilled and vented two-piece brake discs (another 5kg off the weight scales), black or yellow four-piston brake calipers, air-conditioning and an in-car entertainment system among others.
The new Lotus Exige Sport 350 will go on sale in Europe in February 2016 while it will reach the North American market by March 2016. By: Carscoops