Avid followers of Lotus news (which is essentially all of us) might recall that we reported on the launch of the Emira GT4 last year. It was a big deal: the manufacturer’s return to motorsport was designated a ‘key pillar’ of its growth strategy, and the car itself suggested that Lotus was still serious about finding ways to go faster around a track. And while the car was to be built in partnership the RML Group, it was also considered the first product of Lotus Advanced Performance, an in-house division setup to consider all things advanced. And performance-based.
Well, it has apparently spent a year doing what it says on the tin. Despite looking very much like the finished article back in May - and reportedly selling out the initial production run - Lotus has evidently taken the time between then and now to fettle the original concept to a fairly significant degree. For a start, where previously there was 400hp supplied by the Toyota-sourced, supercharged 3.5-litre V6, there is now as much as 455hp and 369lb ft of torque. Obviously that figure is subject to Balance of Performance, but who doesn’t like the prospect of more power at 7,000rpm? No one, that’s who.
Elsewhere, it is the transmission which has seen the most significant alteration - in the sense that it’s completely new. Lotus had previously identified xTrac as the maker of the GT4’s sequential ‘box; now it says that Hewland will supply the six-speed paddleshifter.
The result, you might expect, is probably fairly similar (wonderfully brutal acceleration) although it obviously means new control systems and additional work on integration. A limited-slip diff remains baked in, and the suspension is still courtesy of two-way adjustable Ohlins TTx dampers and double wishbones front and rear. The car is said to weigh 1,360kg in its base spec.
In terms of other ‘enhancements’, Lotus suggests it has been gently refining everything from the Competition-spec brakes to the cooling packs - and while we can’t see much difference in the heavily optimised aerodynamic pack, the manufacturer has apparently been optimising this, too. “The Emira road car was such an excellent starting point for a GT4, and we’ve now further refined and tuned the package with the team at RML to create what we believe is a highly competitive and performance-oriented race car,” commented Gavan Kershaw, Lotus’s Director of Vehicle Attributes and himself a former British GT Championship winner.
“We know our customers are keen to get behind the wheel and we’re looking forward to seeing their results,” he added. Presumably ‘very keen’ would be a more accurate description given the time that has elapsed since the GT4 was unveiled - but no matter, the car is now in production at a dedicated RML facility in Wellingborough, and Lotus reckons the first customers will be taking delivery this summer. Moreover, Lotus says it has put no limit on the number that will ultimately be built, so if the thought of a new and improved GT4 has suddenly seized you, the car costs from £179,000 plus taxes. Happy lapping.
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