‘Exciting, fast and to the point…Lotus is back doing what it does best,’ said Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales at the unveiling of four cars on the Lotus stand at the Geneva Motor Show.
The cars might have looked familiar but the bigger point was that together they represent the lightest and fastest line-up of cars in Lotus’s history, a point Jean-Marc was only too clear in getting across.
By eking out the power and scrupulously avoiding the avoirdupois, all four cars on show are capable of getting from 0-60mph in 3.9secs or less, says Lotus.
The 3-Eleven we are of course familiar with after its world debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last year – it still looks great, when can we drive it please? – but the Elise, Exige and Evora variants come with fresh qualifications as well as injections of carbon-fibre from Lotus’s ‘lightweight laboratory’.
The Elise Cup 250 – 21kg down, 26bhp up – we know about already but the Exige Sport 350 Roadster was a welcome debutant: losing the roof has saved 40kg over the coupe.
The 345bhp V6 sportster on show came with all available lightweight options (lithium battery, lightweight forged alloys, and carbon tailgate, air intakes and seats) as well as a Carbon Aero Pack which includes a front splitter, rear wing and rear diffuser made from carbon-fibre.
Ticking all the lightweight options on the Exige Sport 350 gets weight down to just 1,085kg – but it does add pounds of a different sort. Starting price is £55,900, same as that for the coupe.
Just as new in the line-up is the Evora Sport 410 which is, surprise surprise, lighter (by a huge 70kg) and more powerful, by 10hp, with the resultant 309hp/tonne able to deliver 0-60mph in 3.9secs, a top speed of 186mph and track time around Hethel three seconds quicker than the Evora 400.
‘We’ve really gone flat out to cut weight – front splitter, roof panel, tailgate, and rear diffuser, seats – are all in carbon fibre and they all fitted as standard on this car,’ said Jean-Marc. ‘By losing all this weight the car isn’t just faster, it’s also better to drive with incredible agility and outstanding ride.’
It is also more expensive: on road cost is £79,900 but that does include all the options most people would need, apart from air-con (£1,500).
Jean-Marc added: ‘Today, we set the benchmark for added lightness – this is what Lotus does and nobody does it better. We are making our best ever cars.’
Images courtesy of Lotus