Lotus touts its lightweight, high-efficiency philosophy with its restyled 2010 Exige S. The latest iteration of the British sports car benefits from lower emissions, functional styling enhancements, and a few new hi-tech tricks.
Upfront, the Exige's grin grows wider with three sculpted air intakes designed to funnel air into the radiator and dual oil coolers. Underneath, a composite front splitter wraps around the entire front end and has chiseled lips that deflect air around the tires. A new rear wing was inspired by the design used on the Exige GT3 concept shown in Geneva in 2007. Its substantial size is backed by its ability to manage airflow by increasing downforce while reducing drag.
For 2010, the instrument cluster receives a high definition LCD message panel that displays vehicle systems information. Drivers can use the panel to configure the programmable launch control. Simply dial in the revs, floor the accelerator, and sidestep the clutch. The revs are held at the programmed level until the clutch pedal is released. A clutch damper cushions the severity of the clutch engagement to reduce the stress to the drivetrain.
The launch control and adjustable stability control were the influenced by Exige GT3 racing program. Computer assistance can be adjusted on the fly in 30 increments representing the percentage of wheel spin allowed. Brave souls can also turn the stability control off altogether.
Brake rotors are cross drilled and ventilated at all four corners with the fronts growing to 308 mm in diameter and clamped by four piston AP Racing calipers. The rears span 282 mm and are clenched by two piston Brembos. The suspension can be custom tailored with Eibach springs with adjustable dampers and an adjustable front anti-roll bar.
Despite its sinister look, the 2010 Exige is actually friendlier to the environment. Carbon dioxide emissions have been reduced and mileage is up to 27.7 mpg on the European combined cycle. Powertrain and pricing specifications have yet to be announced for the North American market. More details will be available for the 2010 Lotus Exige S before it goes on sale here in the fall.