The basis of Lotus was founded on the simple philosophy of its originator Colin Chapman, “Simplify, then add lightness”, he said. This was the founding philosophy of the company and to this day that formula lives on in one of the company’s most iconic vehicles, the Lotus 7. Although that model name has not survived time, and hasn’t even survived ownership from the same automaker, the car itself lives on under the Caterham name.
Looking at the history of creations at Lotus, you can see that their designs uses the least number of parts in its products, but relies on the highest levels of engineering to retain the parts function while yielding the least amount of weight and maximizing durability. This translates into a vehicle that doesn’t rely on sheer horse power for speed. Rather, the formula results in a vehicle that is nimble and all around fast no matter where it is on the track.
The Lotus Elise was never officially brought into the US for sales. And like all cars we can’t get it became that much more desired by Lotus fans. Lotus has created a number of variant Elises over the years. Mainly the changes were to weight, suspension and engine performance. All new variants tended to one up the one before on all three factors. Now Lotus has created their newest entrant called the Elise Race 250 which is the fastest Elise they have ever produced. The car will be available for sale for a number of racing series which includes being made available to US customers to the tune of $76,200.
This new Elise is fully prepped to be a life size go kart. It is powered by a 1.8L supercharged four cylinder which pumps out 240hp and 185lb/ft of torque. The Elise comes with fully adjustable dampers, beefed up brakes and tones of carbon fiber everywhere for weight savings. The put the power to the ground, especially around corners, the Elise wears a full aero package to ensure there’s plenty of downforce all around.
Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales put out a statement saying “The Elise Race 250 is the fastest, most focused Elise we’ve ever produced and, judging by what it’s capable of on track, it looks set to become a favourite with our racers around the world.”
Lotus continues to churn out light weight high performance cars for its customers. This isn’t surprising since the ethos of Lotus has always been around performance and handling. Last year, they debuted the Evora 400 to the public and this year they follow up that success with the Evora 410 which packs 10 more horsepower.
The Evora Sport 410 sheds 154 pounds of weight through ample use of carbon fiber. The lightweight material is now being used in the front facia, rear diffuser, sport seats, and front hood. Inside, you’ll find just as much weight savings by way of carbon fiber door panels which no longer have arm rests or storage. Between the bumped up power output and the drop in weight, the Evora Sport 410 is capable of a 0-100kph run in just 3.9 seconds.
Production of the Lotus will be limited at only 150 units annually. Pricing is expected to be in the ballpark of $110,000.
Coming from a company with its roots firmly grounded in motorsport racing, it is exciting to see Lotus once again delivering a light weight track ready vehicle in the Exige Sport 350.
The Exige Sport 350 is joined in the stable by the recently released Elise Sport and Elise Sport 220. Weighing in at a just 2,480 pounds, this puts the Exige Sport 350 at 112 pounds skinnier than the already light weight Exige S. Weight savings were realized by a combination of an aluminum chassis and composite bodywork. Additional weigh savings was introduced via a new louvered tailgate, battery, engine mounts, and insulation materials.
Coupled to an overall weight reduction, the Exige Sport 350 is powered by Lotus’ supercharged 3.5-liter V-6 engine rated at 345 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. The combined light weight and power package propels the Exige Sport 350 to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds and tops out at 170 mph. A revised six-speed manual gearbox provides the driver with quick and precise shifting. An optional six-speed automatic is available and offers manual paddle shifting. Lotus claims a 60 mph sprint in just 3.8 seconds with their automatic car, which all considering, is a negligible impact on performance compared to the manual car.
The Exige Sport 350 is set to hit dealers around February in Europe, and March for other markets overseas. Unfortunately, we won’t be seeing this car on our North American shores.
The 2013 Bahrain Grand Prix is the 2nd back to back race of the year. An interesting race, which was cancelled due to anti-government protests in 2011, the race has been won 3 times by Fernando Alonso, once by Sebatian Vettel, and once by Jenson Button. The track temps are always hot, being in the desert, and there is no chance for rain, and a very low chance for a safety car. Being in the desert, the track is dusty, and conditions improve significantly as the race progresses.
The drama in China unfolded on Saturday during qualifying, where Lewis Hamilton ran a perfect lap to grab pole from Kimi Raikkonen. Jenson Button, Sebatian Vettel, and Nico Hulkenberg both did not set a lap, which allowed them to start the race on the Medium tires, while the top cars were forced to start on the Soft tires that they qualified on. As the race progressed, this turns out to be a key strategic decision that helped the Red Bull, Sauber, and McLaren drivers through the race.
After fourteen years with only minor visual updates, the quintessential purists’ sports car will get a fairly significant facelift for 2011.
Lotus’ Elise is loved the world over by enthusiast drivers because it’s simply the most visceral car available that can be driven every day, and now along with its near perfect road manners comes a new facial design heavily influenced by the British carmaker’s flagship Evora, and in its larger gaping mouth, the original Elan (no that’s not a Mazda MX-5 Miata rip-off, kids, it was the other way around).
Dodge, and its parent company Chrysler, have always been thoroughly old-school. Their performance cars are loud, brash, and almost always have a big, brutal party piece under the bonnet. It’s a recipe that has brought them successes like the Viper, 300C and their entire SRT division. What then, you might be asking, is this sprightly yellow Lotus doing with a Dodge badge and a motor that runs on electrons instead of octane? For us, it’s the new eV concept sportscar. For Chrysler, it’s a whole new way of thinking.
Cylinders? What cylinders? - The Dodge eV Concept
As part of Chrysler’s ENVI program, the Dodge eV is the sportiest of the three electric-only models exhibited by the carmaker, along with plugin versions of their minivan and Jeep platforms, dubbed the Chrysler eV and Jeep eV respectively. It’s a brave step forward for the carmaker, who describes the vehicles as “near-production” and claims an all-electric Chrysler will be available for eco-minded buyers as early as 2010.
However, this announcement isn’t just for people interested in hypermiling and capacitors – this is a sports car, and it’s designed to perform like one. The electric powerplant pushes out 268 horsepower to the rear wheels and like all electric motors develops mind-boggling torque figures – try an instantaneous 480lb-ft on for size. Strap yourself into the two-seater and you’ll be able to wing yourself from a standstill to 60 MPH in under five seconds. For comparison, a Jaguar XF-S needs 8 cylinders and a supercharger to accomplish that same feat. Keeping practicality in mind, Chrysler claims a usable range of 150 to 200 miles on a single charge, far more than your average city commute.
Lithium Ion Battery Pack Provides 200 Mile Range
This tightly-wound Dodge is no slouch, and presents a first in automotive history; it’s the first time a major manufacturer has taken the plunge and committed to building an all-electric sports car. (Tesla, while a pioneer in the field, is still niche competitor at best.) Will Dodge’s efforts sway their gasoline-loving fans into buying one? Their commitment to production certainly seems to indicate they’re confident.
One last surprise lurks in the Dodge eV concept: the Lotus body is just a test mule for proving the electric powerplant. The final form of the car still remains a mystery; could we see the return of the Dodge Demon concept unveiled last year? Only time will tell.