Saving the hardest until last, the new 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.
The newcomer takes the Exige model’s benchmark handling and raw performance and adds a sense of occasion. Packing a supercharged 345bhp 3.5-litre V6 engine and weighing 26kg less than the Exige Sport 350, the special edition accelerates to 100km/h in just 3.9 seconds before reaching a top speed of 274km/h. It’s also capable of lapping the famous Hethel track in 1 minute 29.8 seconds. Stopping power is provided by AP Racing 4-piston brake callipers, front and rear.
Complementing this class-leading performance, the coupe receives lightweight carbon fibre sports seats (which save 6kg), lightweight forged alloy wheels (which save 5kg) and a lithium-ion battery (which saves 10kg) as standard to keep kerb weight at a minimum. The vented, two-piece brake discs save another 5kg.
To reflect its hard-core personality, the car is only available with a slick 6-speed manual gearbox. Aesthetically appealing, as well as technically accomplished, the distinctive exposed gearchange mechanism perfectly embodies Lotus’ lightweight ethos. Employing machined and cast aluminium components, the linkage uses precision engineering to deliver faster and even more precise gearchanges.
The aerodynamics of the car have also received careful attention, including the use of a revised front access panel. This sculptured component improves airflow exiting the car’s horizontally mounted radiator and the lightweight louvered tailgate improves engine cooling. The rear wing, combined with the flat underside and rear diffuser, help contribute to the 42kg of downforce generated at 160km/h.
Available in four of Lotus fans’ favourite colours, the 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; the front splitter, wing mirrors and rear transom are finished in matt black; while the rear wing, front access panel and roof panel are finished in body colour. The cockpit 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, CEO of Group Lotus, commented, “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. It combines exclusiveness and limited production wrapped up in a great design.”
Read about the Lotus Elise Cup 250.