Saving the hardest until last, the new Lotus Exige 350 Special Edition is a fitting completion to the trilogy of Lotus 50th celebration editions. Based on the most extreme Exige to date, the Sport 350, the new special edition adds a number of lightweight, performance-enhancing features, as well as unique paint and interior options as standard.
Long regarded as the enthusiast’s favourite, the new Lotus Exige 350 Special Edition takes the model’s benchmark handling and raw performance and adds a sense of occasion. Packing a supercharged 345 hp, V6 3.5 litre engine, and weighing 26 kg less than the Exige Sport 350, the new Lotus Exige 350 Special Edition accelerates to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds (0-100km/h in 3.9 seconds) before reaching a top speed of 170 mph (274 km/h). It’s also capable of the lapping the famous Hethel track in 1 minute 29.8 seconds.
Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus plc, commented, “The Lotus Exige is the quickest point-to-point sports car on the road; nothing can match its levels of accessible performance and grip. It’s lightweight, responsive and exceedingly fast, with the purity expected of a Lotus. It is a real beast that needs taming but it won’t bite back. ”
Complementing this class leading performance, the car receives a revised front access panel cover, as first seen on the Exige Cup 360, lightweight carbon-fibre sports seats, lightweight forged alloy wheels, and a Lithium ion battery as standard to keep kerb weight at a minimum. A choice of four colours help the Lotus Exige 350 Special Edition stand out, while the interior offers the choice between black leather or Alcantara upholstery with bespoke contrast stitching.
Helping to celebrate the company’s 50 years in Norfolk, the special edition coupe is limited to 50 examples, available on a first-come, first-served basis. Like the already sold out Evora 400 Hethel Edition and Elise 250 Special Edition, this Exige is built to mark 2016 as this anniversary year.
Jean-Marc Gales continued, “This Exige 350 Special Edition joins the Evora and Elise editions that we have already produced to celebrate our half century in Hethel and our connection to Norfolk. Judging by the demand for the other models, I expect that the Lotus Exige 350 Special Edition will sell out quickly as it combines exclusiveness and limited production wrapped up in a great design.”
Lotus Exige 350 Special Edition in more detail
The new Lotus Exige 350 Special Edition features a number of changes to the accomplished Exige Sport 350. Lighter and faster than its predecessor, the Exige S, it packs performance-enhancing components and styling features as standard. Substantially cheaper than a similarly equipped standard model, it provides an outstanding ownership proposition for those to demand the purest driving experience.
Weighing just 1099 kg, the Lotus Exige 350 Special Edition has shed an impressive 77 kg, when compared to the previous generation Exige S. The result of a thorough re-evaluation, every component has been scrutinised in order for the car to possess the purity of drive and benchmark handling which all Lotus cars are renowned for.
Amongst the many enhancements, the use of a louvered tailgate panel, a lighter battery, lightweight engine mounts, a lightweight centre console featuring an exposed gearshift mechanism, lighter HVAC pipework and the optimised use of sound insulation have all contributed to the extreme Exige’s focused drive. A total of 26 kg has been excluded from the car through the careful application of performance components: a 5 kg saving from the use of forged wheels, 10 kg from the Li-Ion battery, 6 kg from the carbon seats and 5kg from the vented, two-piece brake discs.
To reflect its enthusiast-orientated personality, the Lotus Exige 350 Special Edition is only available with a slick, six-speed manual gearbox. Aesthetically appealing, as well as technically accomplished, the distinctive exposed gear-change mechanism perfectly embodies Lotus’ lightweight ethos. Employing machined and cast aluminium components, the linkage uses precision engineering to deliver faster, more precise gear changes. Stopping power is provided by AP Racing four-piston brake callipers, front and rear.
The aerodynamics of the Lotus Exige 350 Special Edition have received careful attention, including the use of a revised front access panel. This sculptured component improves air flow exiting the car’s horizontally mounted radiator and the light weight louvered tailgate improves engine cooling. The rear wing, combined with the flat underside and rear diffuser, help contribute to the 42 kg of down force generated at 100 mph (160 km/h).
The Lotus Exige 350 Special Edition also features Lotus’ Dynamic Performance Management (DPM) which, selected via a dashboard switch, provides ‘Sport’ and ‘Race’ settings. Proportionally increasing throttle response, lowering traction slip thresholds and removing understeer recognition, it allows enhanced control before the system intervenes. DPM also utilises an engine exhaust bypass valve at mid-to-high engine speeds, increasing throttle responsive in both ‘Sport’ and ‘Race’ settings.
The new car retains the Exige Sport 350’s excellent suspension setup, including firmer dampers and optimised geometry to deliver more responsive handling. Key weight-saving features, including the louvered tailgate, not only cut weight but also lower the car’s centre of gravity, contributing to its sharpened dynamics.
Available in four of Lotus fans’ favourite colours, the new Lotus Exige 350 Special Edition comes in Essex Blue, Old English White, Dark Metallic Grey, or Motorsport Black, all finished with contrasting racing stripes. The car’s bright red brake calipers are offset with black forged alloy wheels and, as standard, the front splitter, wing mirrors and rear transom are finished in matt black; the rear wing, front access panel and roof panel finished in body colour.
In addition to the special interior, Lotus Exige 350 Special Edition customers will enjoy cruise control and floor mats as standard. An integrated in-car entertainment system can also be specified, including iPod connectivity and Bluetooth functionality along with full carpets and enhanced sound insulation.
The Lotus Exige 350 SE is on sale now.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price
UK (Pound Sterling) £61,900
Germany (Euros) €81,900
Japan (¥ Yen) ¥11,690,000
Max power 345 hp (350 PS, 258 kW) at 7000 rpm
Max torque 400 Nm (295 lbft) at 4500 rpm
0-60 mph 3.7 seconds
0-100 km/h 3.9 seconds
Max speed 170 mph (274 km/h)
Fuel Consumption mpg (l/100 km)
Urban 19.5 (14.5)
Extra Urban 37.2 (7.6)
Combined 28.0 (10.1)
CO2 emissions 235 g/km