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Exige crosses to the dark side

2009-10-20 07:44
Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Lotus
Model Scura
Engine 1.8l supercharged four
Power 193kW @ 8 000r/min
Torque 236Nm @ 6 000r/min
Transmission Six-speed manual
Zero To Hundred 4.1 sec
Top Speed 245km/h
Fuel Consumption 8.5l/100km
Weight 925kg
Tyres Yokohama A048 LTS
Lotus is a brand renowned for its engineering skill and lightweight performance cars.

The company’s marketing department though, has an unbelievable imagination and knack for releasing limited edition cars which are so close to the stock model portfolio as to defy explanation.

In preparation for this weekend's Tokyo motorshow Lotus is at it again with a limited edition version of the Exige hardtop road racer.

This time though, there appears to be justifiable differentiating substance to go with the cachet of a sinister Italian name and 35 unit production run exclusivity.

Named the Scura (dark in Italian), this is one Exige which brooks no argument to its single minded intention of going very fast – absolutely

Don't you just love the mini-me Le Mans endurance racer proportions? Carbon-fibre side scoops look the business...

Matte black happiness

The Scura’s stunning surfacing is courtesy of a liberal amount of matte black paint and carbon-fibre.

Contrasting high gloss ‘Phantom Black’ triple stripes run amidships over the car from bumper-to-bumper, whilst the matte black finish is augmented by a carbon-fibre front splitter, side scoops and aft spoiler.

Exige’s traditionally minimalist cabin is given even greater track-focussed credence courtesy of the carbon-fibre seats and centre console.

Lotus has been particular about keeping the feel of all Scura’s carbon-fibre trinkets as authentic as possible, finishing off all the carbon bits with a clear high-gloss lacquer – exquisitely exposing the carbon-fibre weaving as a result.

All the Scura’s trick carbon-fibre bits manage to shave 10kg (wow, that's amazing) off the Lotus Exige S (on which it’s based) kerb weight, leaving the Scura with only 925kg to propel.

Looks exactly like a stock Exige S cabin, with some carbon-fibre bits added. Driving environment remains wonderfully undiluted and focused - unpolluted by a litany of buttons and controls.

Toyota power (check) and traction control (what?)

Power is delivered to the rear wheels from the venerable Toyota sourced 1.8l supercharged in-line four.

A lightweight flywheel and some reworked supercharger plumbing are the only mechanical changes to the powerplant which produces 193kW and is lifted from the Exige Cup racer.

Considering the lateral forces Scura is capable of generating the engine’s lubrication system is buoyed by an Accusump. This is an engine oil accumulator unit which ensures ample lubrication even when negotiating the most taxing high-speed sweeps.

As far as traction and chassis dynamics go, there has been a raft of changes.

Vehicle stability control systems have generally been a blasphemous term around Hethel’s research and development centre, where cars are tuned to reward skilled drivers and punish the petulant.

Scura’s been tricked out with both traction and launch control, which will surely have Lotus traditionalists dropping their carbon-fibre coffee mugs over breakfast.

Rear wing worth 42kg of aft axle downforce at 160km/h. Centre-mounted exhaust spews only 199g of CO2 per km, which should sooth your conscience as you dissect clipping points at 8 000r/min.

The launch control function is initiated by the driver dialling in an engine speed threshold they consider apt for the road conditions.

With the throttle depressed and no third pedal clutch actuation the launch control allows wheelspin driveline engagement up to 10km/h, ensuring optimal standing start velocity.

Of more particular interest to traditional Lotus drivers (who are keener on clipping points than clutch destroying burnouts) is the race validated traction control.

Again the intervention is driver initiated, with a traction control regime variable over 30 increments ranging from 7% rear wheel slippage to complete chaos.

On treacherously bumpy surfaces/tracks the adjustable traction control should prove invaluable.

Beyond the traction and launch control electronics Lotus has fettled the Scura’s handling finesse the old fashioned way too, with a set of Ohlins rebound adjustable dampers at each wheel corner.

Featuring 60 compression and 22 rebound settings (which should keep you busy all of Friday night preparing for the Saturday morning breakfast run/trackday) the Ohlins dampers are able to reduce Scura’s ride height from 130- to 120mm.

The Lotus Scura then. Just your run of the mill Lotus, dropping the 0-100km/h sprint in 4.1 seconds whilst returning 8.5l/100km.

Colin Chapman would have surely have approved…

Despite the $75 000 sticker price South Africa is listed as a Lotus vetted export market for the Scura, just so you know...


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