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Carbon fibre-crazy Exige 260

2008-10-09 07:28
 This is not a standard Exige S. Instead it’s an E

This is not a standard Exige S. Instead it’s an Exige Cup 260, which means a 38kg weight saving and 30kW power increase. And yes, it’s very quick indeed.

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Lotus
Model Exige 260 Cup
Engine 1.8l, supercharged in-line four
Power 193kW @ 8 000r/min
Torque 236Nm @ 6 000r/min
Transmission Six-speed manual
Zero To Hundred 4 seconds
Weight 890kg
Another week, another Lotus variant. This time it’s the new Exige 260, featuring a vast array of additional carbon fibre trim.

One could hardly imagine the standard Exige S needed any more design focus – it's as raw a road legal racing car as possible – yet Lotus have embellished the Exige 260 Cup with lashings of carbon fibre trim, resulting a weight saving of 38kg.

Indeed, it might not sound much, but when you’re trimming weight off Lotus designs, even a little goes a really long way considering how light the cars are in stock form.

Carbon fibre everything

Achieving a 12kg slimming effect are the roof panel, seats, dash top panel, tailgate, front splitter, side air intake ducts and rear spoiler all made of carbon fibre.

A tiny motorsport specification battery (don’t leave the lights on too long), forged alloy wheels, engine sub-frames with lightweight coating, a lightened fly wheel (watch that rev limiter), a composite rear window and new alloy supercharger plumbing trim down another 22kg.
The last 4kg saving is achieved by binning interior and boot carpets, front mudflaps, the battery cover, interior mirror, sunvisors, and rear tailgate gas struts.

Powered up for track abuse

Powering the 890kg Elise 260 Cup is an even raspier version of the 1.8l supercharged Toyota RunX powerplant, producing 193kW and 236Nm; a significant increase from the 163kW stock Exige S.

Acceleration touches four seconds dead from standstill to 100km/h, yet the Exige 260 – like all Lotus products – is all about handling prowess. To this end the Eibach springs and one way adjustable Bilstein dampers have been stiffened, whilst adjustable front anti-roll bars allow customers to tailor handling characteristics of the car to their own requirements.

Considering the amount of abuse Lotus cars endure during track days, a carefully considered double shear track control arm brace is provided to cope with the expected kerb abuse during racing or hard track day driving. Grip from the suicidal Yokohama A048 LTS are nearly unflappable – in the dry.

For those keen on brutal off the line launching tactics, or wanting to nail some throttle before the apex, a 7% bias traction control system keeps things decent, whilst launch control ensures optimal 0-100km/h times.

With a fire extinguisher in the passenger footwell and ignition kill-switch the Exige 260 is an authentic road-racer, though some may lament it as just another Lotus marketing exercise disguised by trick carbon fibre embellishments and ornate wing and bodyscoop arrangements.

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