Frankfurt 2011: Lotus reveals the all-new 2012 Exige S and R-GT

Frankfurt 2011: Lotus reveals the all-new 2012 Exige S and R-GT

This is what all the fuss was about leading up to the Frankfurt show, and the subject of that controversial pugilistic video we showed you last week. It’s the 345 bhp 3.5-litre V6 Supercharged Exige S.

Lotus describe the new Exige S as the ultimate lightweight high performance sportscar and it’s not difficult to understand why. Fitted with the Evora’s supercharged V6 engine, the Exige S tips the scales at just 1080kg, although that’s still 191 kg heavier than the outgoing Exige S.

“A mind blowing driving experience” is a phrase used in the Lotus press release and by replacing the Toyota supercharged 1.8-litre engine used in the previous Exige S, power to weight ratio increases from 288bhp/tonne to 320 bhp/tonne. With the 0-100mph sprint likely in around 8 seconds and a price tag of between £50,000 and £60,000, the new Exige S is likely to sell just as quickly as it drives.

Alongside the headline-grabbing power to weight ratio, the Exige S has a new exterior and interior look and feel. The dramatic styling overhaul sees a completely new look for the Exige including a new front splitter and rear spoiler giving it a strong and aerodynamic profile.

There are two new interior package options available: Premium and Premium Sport. The Premium Pack provides added comfort and style where as the Premium Sport option focuses on creating an internal space optimised for ultimate driver involvement.

The Exige S features a high performance bespoke tyre package with Pirelli P-Zero Corsa tyres as standard. A Lotus DPM (Dynamic Performance Management) switch allows the driver to switch between three driving modes: Touring, Sport and DPM off.

And if three dynamic settings are not enough, an additional Race Pack option is available which adds a fourth driving mode setting: Race. This setting provides the maximum possible traction out of corners, whilst putting more control in the driver’s hands. The Race Pack also features Launch Control and an optimised suspension setting for use on the track.

Commenting on the Exige S, Group Lotus Chief Executive Officer Dany Bahar said: “Anyone who has ever driven an Exige will tell you that it’s not for the faint-hearted. The new Exige S skips a few rungs on the ladder to give the driver the ultimate Lotus experience. Quite simply you can’t get more Lotus than the Exige S.”

Lotus will provide official fuel economy, CO2 and performance figures later this month, whilst first deliveries are expected by the end of the year. Pricing although unprecedented for an Exige, is bound to make the Exige S one of the performance bargains of the year.

And there’s an Exige R-GT too..

Lotus Exige R-GT

30 years after World Rally Championship victory in the Talbot Sunbeam Lotus it’s time to welcome Lotus back to rally with the brother of the newly launched Exige S – the Exige R-GT.

Showcasing the new Exige S’ phenomenal performance, the Exige R-GT will participate in the newly formed FIA GT category of the FIA Rally Championship on asphalt in Monte Carlo, Tour de Corse and San Remo.

For Group Lotus’ Director of Motorsport Claudio Berro the return to rally has an extra special meaning; “My motorsport career started in rally, in fact, I even took part in the Talbot Sunbeam Lotus’ Italian Rally championship winning a race in San Marino back in 1981 so this is a very nostalgic moment for me. As we unveiled the car in Frankfurt, alongside the original championship winning car, I had the chance to get back inside and the smell was exactly the same – it brought back many happy memories for me.

“With the new R-GT rules in rally, it’s a very interesting time for us to return to the sport. Naturally our approach this time around will be different to when we won the championship with Talbot three decades ago but I think our philosophy is definitely the same, we want to compete and ultimately we want to win. Our new rally car, the Exige R-GT is a dream come true for those who are passionate about GT racing – this will be their car.”

The Exige R-GT runs the same supercharged V6 3.5 litre engine as the new road Exige S, however significant changes have been made to the gearbox and the restrictors on the engine in order to control the power and comply with the mandatory FIA regulations. Weight increases to 1200kg, whilst power drops to 298 bhp due to the 34mm restrictors.