Lotus Attempts to Wow With Two Model Upgrades in Geneva
True to its word, Lotus has unveiled two cars at the Geneva Motor Show.
Late in the day on Tuesday, the British brand showed the Exige Sport 350 Roadster and Lotus Evora Sport 410 in global debuts.
They are strikingly similar to existing counterparts in the Lotus lineup. One observer looked the two cars over and couldn’t help drawing a connection to the fact that Lotus played only one song, on repeat, (Gimme Some Lovin') during its entire event. The whole thing felt a little same-song, second-verse. But the new cars at least offer some new paint (yellow!) and upholstery (yellow plaid!) to bolster their allure.
“Today, we set the benchmark for added lightness,” Jean-Marc Gales, Lotus's chief executive officer, told reporters who had gathered to see the new offerings. “We are making our best-ever cars.”
Certainly in terms of extreme litheness and rally-ready handling, Lotus dominates the field. In 1981, it became the first constructor to introduce a carbon fiber in a Formula One car. The two new models incorporate more carbon fiber throughout their body than their preexisting counterparts, especially on the rear wings, front splitters, roof panels, tailgates, rear diffusers, sports seats, and access panels.
The Exige Sport 350 Roadster, which is an update to the Exige Sport 350, is the lightest-ever V6 Exige. It is 40 kilograms (88 pounds) lighter than the Exige Sport and has a new Carbon Aero Pack that includes a new front splitter, rear wing, and rear diffuser, all made from carbon fiber.
If you buy it, you can choose from a six-speed automatic gearbox or use the manual version with forged aluminum paddles. The 345-horsepower Exige Sport 350 Roadster has a 0-60 mile per hour sprint time of 3.7 seconds; top speed is 150 mph. Pricing starts at €62,185 ($67,400) in Europe, where it will go on sale this spring.
As for the Evora Sport 410, at 1,325 kg (2,921 lbs.) that car is 70 kg lighter than its counterpart Evora Sport 400 and will hit 60 mph in 3.9 seconds. Top speed is 186 mph. This is all achieved on a—you guessed it—410-horsepower, six-cylinder engine. Gales was especially proud of its new-and-improved chassis.
This one will be available in major markets starting in June; a specific North American version will be announced later in 2016. Only 150 will be made per year. Pricing starts at €89,832 in Europe. (U.S. pricing hasn't been announced.)
“This is the car that shows what Lotus is able to do,” Gales said. “This is the best chassis in the business.”
So yes, those are two new faster and lighter versions than we had before, but it would take a close eye and a gentle hand to discern a major difference. The bright yellow shell and plaid interior—and all that carbon—help a lot.