I have just returned from Germany after spending a day crawling over and test driving the new Lotus Esthi As most of you will know it is the proven S2 Elise chassis with the proven Audi/Cosworth V 6 2.6l RS4 engine. The front and rear clam are made from a new mould, giving a car that is 90mm wider than standard. Apart from providing a front splitter and extra cooling vents the redesigned clams provide the phenominal downforce and the additional space required for the 225/25 18" front wheels and 265/30 19" rear wheels (shod in Dunlop SP Sport 9000’s). Visually, at a glance this car is difficult to distinguish from a standard S2 Elise. The standard brakes are replaced with Esprit brakes (320mm cross-drilled), vaccuum assist and ABS. The engine develops 420 bhp, maximum torque of 520Nm at 4500rpm. It is mounted in-line (not transvers) with the engine inclined downward towards the front of the vehicle. Not only does this lower the centre of gravity of the car but it also retains the original weight distribution ratio. The leading German after-market chip supplier can provide a 600+bhp chip for this engine if anybody feels the need for extra power. The gearbox comes from a Audi A8 diesel, since the smaller A4 gearbox could not cope with the torque generated. Top speed is electronically limited to 200mph because the tyres are only certified to that speed!Colin Chapman’s hand can be seen behind the design of this variant since it comes with flexible side skirts!The entire design sequence of splitter, dam, and side skirts produces a car that gets sucked into the tarmac. The venturi effect achieved is quite incredible. Wind tunnel tests have shown that the standard S2 at 220 kmh generates about 120 Nm of lift at the front wheels, the Esthi on the other hand produces nearly 300 Nm of downforce at the same speed same location, whilst the rear wheels are pushing into the tarmac with 350 Nm of downforce. The car when idling makes less noise than the Exige with the engine switched off. Pull away and you hear less than you would with a well behaved 118 bhp Elise. Floor the throttle and three things happen almost simultaneously. You hear a vague whistle like an arrow going past your ears (this is the two turbos starting their work), the front of the car rears up and the rear tyres sink into the tarmac… then the horizon falls into your lap. Gone are the days of the famous Lotus grin, because the corners of your mouth are behind your ears and your teeth are tingling. 0-60 in 3.7 secs. The application of power is breath-taking. I used to think that take-off in Concorde was orgasmic, but that seems like something for old ladies now.Braking is equally impressive and it needs to be. The roadholding has to be felt to be believed. The company’s co-owner has a history in German Elise Motorsport and scooting around the Nï¿½rnburgring and he knows how to demonstrate this car’s ability on German B roads. Driving back from the airport in my Exige, it felt as though it had chromed tyres.Production of the car starts next week (the company is the only Lotus-approved tuner in the world and registered as a car manufacturer under German law which guarantees spares support for at least 10 years and the car has type approval). Production of the Esthi www.brandes-dschuedow.de/start_imprint.html. I was sufficiently impressed by the build quality (superb) and the owner’s attitude (committed) to put my money down and buy one. The salesperson (Lutz, [email protected] ) is a former Thielert technician, who speaks good English and lives and breathes Lotus (ask him about his Fiat 500). My original fear, that a lack of traction control would make this car difficult to handle, has proved to be wrong. Even under heavy acceleration , this baby does not wheel-spin, weave or fishtail.This is the car I have waited for all my life and I can’t wait to stretch its legs. [This message has been edited by Ken Pegg (edited 22 February 2003).][This message has been edited by Ken Pegg (edited 24 February 2003).]
Nice one Ken [image]http://www.exiges.com/ubb/NonCGI/images/icons/grin.gif[/image] Any idea when you will take delivery ?
Delivery is scheduled for end of July beginning of August which gives me plenty of time to get rid of my Exige (X1GED) and my Elise.The new car will more than fulfill the function of both its predecessors (I have gone for the optional hardtop).
Wow [image]http://www.exiges.com/ubb/NonCGI/images/icons/grin.gif[/image] [image]http://www.exiges.com/ubb/NonCGI/images/icons/grin.gif[/image] [image]http://www.exiges.com/ubb/NonCGI/images/icons/grin.gif[/image]Will insuring the beast be a problem???
KenMajorly impressive - other than the insurance question mentioned by Pesky, what do those prices translate to in sterling?If this thing is built properly, and you seem to be totally convinced, then it must be one of the best tools on the planet [image]http://www.exiges.com/ubb/NonCGI/images/icons/grin.gif[/image] [image]http://www.exiges.com/ubb/NonCGI/images/icons/grin.gif[/image]
Total price including racing seats, 4 point harness, hardtop, pearlescent paint etc,etc is about ï¿½85,000.I know that is a lot of money, but show me one street legal, well built car with similar performance for twice the price. I have trawled a few websites for chip upgrades and for $650 you can take it to 650 bhp!! Even in its ‘standard’ configuration, the performance figures are in the Ferrari Enzo league, and it comes with Lotus handling and incredible roadholding. Most important of all, it does not look like a ‘nightclub car’.Insurance? I don’t know, I’ll have to shop around. Importantly, it is not a conversion but a production car.
I’m not a naturally envious person [image]http://www.exiges.com/ubb/NonCGI/images/icons/wink.gif[/image] but, my oh my, what an absolutely fantastic car this sounds [image]http://www.exiges.com/ubb/NonCGI/images/icons/grin.gif[/image] - Begs question tho’ why don’t Lotus build these specials?? Does an ejector seat come as standard (for the passenger)? [image]http://www.exiges.com/ubb/NonCGI/images/icons/grin.gif[/image]
Completely off the record…I understand that a number of engineers at Lotus are a bit miffed because they feel that they should have built this car.What do you mean passenger seat? You mean the fare-paying customer’s seat. I shall approach EVO closer to the delivery date and see whether they want to run a test/article on it.
You mean the fare-paying customer’s seat. [image]http://www.exiges.com/ubb/NonCGI/images/icons/grin.gif[/image]
CLICKY TO ENLARGEY [image]http://www.exiges.com/gallery/x1a.jpg[/image] [image]http://www.exiges.com/gallery/x2a.jpg[/image] [image]http://www.exiges.com/gallery/x3a.jpg[/image] [image]http://www.exiges.com/gallery/x4a.jpg[/image] [image]http://www.exiges.com/gallery/x5a.jpg[/image] [image]http://www.exiges.com/gallery/x6a.jpg[/image] [This message has been edited by Admin5 (edited 24 February 2003).]
quote:is about ï¿½85,000. Gulp ! [image]http://www.exiges.com/ubb/NonCGI/images/icons/shocked.gif[/image]Depreciation ?
Depreciation only matters when you sell. I suspect that this will be the last high performance car that I will ever buy (I am not being morbid). I cannot imagine wanting greater performance in any area. The chassis is aluminium, the bodywork rot proof and the engine should be good for 200,000+ miles before needing a rebuild. There will only ever be 25 cars like this in the world. There will always be people looking for this kind of performance and currently you will not find anything under ï¿½150,000. Of course it will dip dramatically in resale value during the first 2-3 years. After that I would expect to see the value rise steadily.I have the money to spare. It was a toss up between buying the Esti or a Boeing Stearman biplane. Well you know the outcome.PS What do you think of the ‘snorkel’ airscoops on top of the rear wings?[This message has been edited by Ken Pegg (edited 25 February 2003).]
So what does it sound like when you floor it?! Hopefully better than at rest.If it sounds like it looks it ought to impersonate a Tornado fairly well.Dead jealous!Ian [image]http://www.exiges.com/ubb/NonCGI/images/icons/smile.gif[/image]
Ken, I am jealous that you have the money to spare! [image]http://www.exiges.com/ubb/NonCGI/images/icons/blush.gif[/image]But even if I couldn’t be happier for you, I have to say that especially the air vents around the back of the car, I don’t like.Then again, who am I to say that I don’t like the car! Don’t listen to me.It a great car, but somehow it doesn’t tickle me.I’ll get my coat.Uldis
Sorry Ken, I didn’t mean to sound as if I was down on your car, sounds utterly awesome if you can stand to lose the money on it.Enjoy it !!You know it’d be better with an Exige body
Ken, like Uldis I’m not too sure about the rear air vents. When you take delivery could you pop it Oop North and I can make my mind up about them [image]http://www.exiges.com/ubb/NonCGI/images/icons/grin.gif[/image] [image]http://www.exiges.com/ubb/NonCGI/images/icons/grin.gif[/image] [image]http://www.exiges.com/ubb/NonCGI/images/icons/grin.gif[/image]
Eight additional airvents had to be provided to prevent thermal stress (ie overheating) of the brakes and engine. They are functional and not design matters so I just accept them for what they are. the car now includes a rear spoiler which is not as prominent (high) as the Exige but more than the S111 spoiler. The bulk of downforce comes from the venturi effect, in that the car is sucked down from below rather than pushed down from above.I think that the car’s (ignoring the roof for a moment)profile/shape is to the S2 what the Exige is to the S1. If Lotus ever bring out an Exige 2 then I suspect it will look very similar to the Esthi.Regarding sound, currently it is disappointing, because you hear very little (less than a standard Elise). This is primarily because developement has taken place under supervision of the German TUV. A friend of mine standing at the side of the road when we passed him, said it was surreal because all he could hear was the swishing of air.Cat bypass and maybe a couple of bespoke boxes will change that.
Sounds a superb bit of kit Ken.Don’t hear too many complaints from the t***s that believe only a K series rattlebox should live in the back of an Exige!
I have to say it… I hope you guys are aware of Prototype Racing’s work? I mean:"There will always be people looking for this kind of performance and currently you will not find anything under ï¿½150,000."Think again… http://www.prototyperacing.com
"There will always be people looking for this kind of performance and currently you will not find anything under ï¿½150,000."Well I looked at prototype racing’s figures.Honda K20A 220 bhp 152ft/lbs at 7000rpm.Esthi Sorry in my books, that does not compare.Gadget, I think most people’s loyalty here lies with Lotus or more specifically the Exige that Lotus brought us. The majority don’t have a specific affinity to the ‘K’ series engine and I suspect they would have bought the car with almost any lightweight performance engine. Personally I feel that it is very tappety and in some areas close to its engineering limits. Ideal unit for the standard Elise with 118 bhp but most reviewers and owners view the engine as the weakest link.[This message has been edited by Ken Pegg (edited 25 February 2003).]