The lightest road-legal Exige built to date

Lotus launched the Exige in 2000 as a coupe version of the Elise, a roadster that’s been in production since 1996. The sports car was updated in 2004, while the more powerful Exige S was introduced in 2006. The Exige received its most recent update in 2012, when the 1.8-liter four-cylinder was replaced with the the Evora’s 3.5-liter V-6. Since then, the Exige S soldiered on mostly unchanged, with an automatic transmission added for the 2015 model year.

Although the third-gen Exige didn’t see major improvements as far as styling goes, it did receive a number of weight-reducing and aero-enhancing elements. In recent years, Lotus also launched many new road-going iterations of the car, as well as a couple of race-spec versions. With 2016 marking the brand’s 60th anniversary, Lotus unleashed the 350 Special Edition.

Based on the Sport 350, the most hardcore road-going variant of the Exige, the 350 Special Edition joins the Evora 400 Hethel Edition and the Elise 250 Special Edition, three cars specifically developed for the anniversary year. Compared to the Sport 350, the 350 Special Edition gains a number of lightweight, performance-enhancing features, as well as unique paint and interior options as standard. It is also limited to only 50 units, which means it will sell out in just a matter of weeks.

"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," said Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus.

Continue reading to learn more about the Lotus Exige 350 Special Edition.

  • 2017 Lotus Exige 350 Special Edition
  • Year:
    2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V6
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    345
  • Torque @ RPM:
    295
  • Displacement:
    3.5 L
  • 0-60 time:
    3.7 sec.
  • car segment:
  • body style:

What makes the Lotus Exige 350 Special Edition special

The first thing that catches the eye when looking at the Exige 350 Special Edition is the aerodynamic package upgrade usually offered on high-spec Lotus models. The bundle includes a rear wing, a flat underside and rear diffuser, and a louvered engine cover. Up front, it also sports a revised panel cover identical to the one seen on the Exige Cup 360. Additionally, it comes with matte black front splitter, rear wing, front access panel, roof panel, and wing mirrors, and lightweight forged alloy wheels.

Significantly lighter than the standard Exige, the Special Edition also benefits from enhanced downforce, as the rear wing, the flat underside, and rear diffuser help the car generate 93 pounds of downforce at 100 mph. As far as paints go, the Special Edition can be ordered in either Essex Blue, Old English White, Dark Metallic Grey, or Motorsport Black. All four colors come with contrasting racing stripes.

Inside, Lotus added carbon-fiber sports seats and a lightweight center console with exposed gearshift mechanism as standard. Upholstery choices include black leather or Alcantara with bespoke contrast stitching. Cruise control and floor mats are also offered as standard equipment. Optionally, customers can order an integrated in-car entertainment system with iPod connectivity and Bluetooth functionality, along with full carpets and enhanced sound insulation.

The bundle includes a rear wing, a flat underside and rear diffuser, and a louvered engine cover.

Under the hood, the Special Edition packs the same supercharged 3.5-liter V-6 engine found in the Exige Sport 350. Output is identical at 345 horsepower and 295 pound-feet, but the Special Edition benefits from being lighter. Specifically, while the Exige Sport 350 is 112 pounds lighter than the standard Exige S, the Special Edition is 57 pounds lighter than the Sport 350, tipping the scales at only 2,423 pounds.

The additional weight savings come from the use of forged wheels, a Lithium-ion battery, the carbon-fiber seats, and the vented, two-piece brake discs. As a result, the Spcial Edition needs just 3.7 seconds to hit 60 mph from a standing start and laps the Hethel race track in one minute and 29.8 seconds. Unlike the Sport 350, the Special Edition is available with a six-speed manual only.

Stopping power is provided by AP Racing four-piston brake calipers in the front and rear, while the suspension setup, including firmer dampers and optimized geometry for more responsive handling, was borrowed from the Exige Sport 350.

The new sports car is limited to only 50 examples, available on a first-come, first-served basis. Pricing starts from £61,900 in the United Kingdom, €81,900 in Germany, and ¥11,690,000 in Japan. Compared to the Exige Sport 350, the Special Edition carries a £6,000 premium. The limited-edition model won’t cross the pond to the U.S.

Press Release

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.

2017 Lotus Exige 350 Special Edition High Resolution Exterior
- image 691064

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.”

2017 Lotus Exige 350 Special Edition High Resolution Exterior
- image 691063

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.

2017 Lotus Exige 350 Special Edition High Resolution Exterior
- image 691065

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.

2017 Lotus Exige 350 Special Edition High Resolution Exterior
- image 691062

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, rear wing, front access panel, roof panel, wing mirrors and rear transom are finished in matt black.

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

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