Lotus caps 50-year anniversary with Exige 350 Special Edition
Lotus has unveiled the third and final of its special editions – after the Evora 400 Hethel Edition and the Elise 250 Special Edition – released to celebrate the 50 years it has spent at its HQ in Hethel, UK. The Lotus Exige 350 Special Edition takes the lightweight Exige Sport 350 and makes it even lighter.
Like the Sport 350, the 350 Special Edition is powered by a 3.5-l supercharged V6 engine, that produces 345 hp (257 kW) and maximum torque of 400 Nm (295 lb.ft) at 4,500 rpm. This results in a 0-60 mph (0-97 km/h) time of 3.7 seconds and a 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) time of 3.9 seconds. It tops out 170 mph (274 km/h).
The engine is paired with a six-speed manual gearbox with an exposed gear-change mechanism, the "precision engineering" of which Lotus says makes for faster gear changes. There are also four-piston brake calipers at both the front and rear of the car.
The Lotus Dynamic Performance Management system allow drivers to select "Sport" and "Race" modes, via which throttle response is improved, traction slip thresholds are lowered and understeer recognition removed. The system basically allows for more driver control until it intervenes.
At 1,099 kg (2,423 lb), the 350 Special Edition is 26 kg (57 lb) lighter than the Sport 350, courtesy of things like carbon fiber seats, forged alloy wheels and a lithium-ion battery. Although this doesn't reflect in improved speed or acceleration, Lotus tells New Atlas that agility and handling is improved.
The car's rear wing, flat underside and rear diffuser contribute to 42 kg (93 lb) of downforce at 100 mph (160 km/h). The front end, inherited from the Exige Cup 360, is designed to improve the flow of air exiting its horizontally-mounted radiator, while a louvered tailgate helps to keep engine temperature down.
Elsewhere, there are four colors from which to chose, all of which come with racing stripes, and customers can opt for a black leather or Alcantara upholstery interior.
The Exige 350 Special Edition is available to buy now for £61,900 (US$78,900), although only 50 are being made available and they are being sold on a first-come, first-served basis.