Factory Tour Thread

Hapkin

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Gentleman and ladies. @Next Decade and I truly had a unique experience. We're going to collaborate offline and put it all together. Then post it publicly. We have to be very careful given that we saw so much that we can't disclose and I want to be respectful of the company, especially given that there is some emerging collaboration at a higher level with us.

For now, I will give my impressions on a very high level and then we'll drill down into the details together later. We have extraordinary details that I have not read on the forums yet.

First off, having now driven the car hard at Hethel in a late stage sports suspension manual V6 first edition prototype I can say without a doubt that it drives significantly differently than the Evora GT. The front end is both more planted as well as responsive and stable at the limit, it is tuned brilliantly and more smoothly driving than Evora GT. The engine feels very similarly powerful to the Evora GT, but you run out of revs a little faster and I did find myself bouncing off the red line at least two or three times on the main straight. Annoying.

Suspension in sport does not feel overly stiff, but the body itself is extremely stiff as far as torsional rigidity is concerned. There is a slight amount of body roll but for the most part it is very flat in transitional stability and steady state cornering. You do feel a slight bit of weight transfer that as people have said before is more communicative rather than destabilizing and contributes to confident driving not unconfidence.

Transitional stability in the chicane is extremely impressive. Car wants to rotate nicely and you can be very aggressive with initial turn in and then again applying throttle leaning on the LSD to rocket out. I consistently turned in too early until I adjusted to how fast the rack is and how willing the nose wants to turn. You can trail brake to get the rear to come around easily and predictably. The back end is always totally planted. Neutral to slight understeer at corner exit depending on how exuberant you are. Not really set up as oversteer type of car compared to my M2CS.

Hard threshold breaking in a straight line is a non-issue. Totally undramatic and very stable without any fade whatsoever though with a very familiar smell of hot brake pads by the end of the session. Excellent brake feel and modulation. Not soft and squishy on mine.

The shifter is very short, shifting, positive, notchy and while not by any means, perfect is better than the Evora GT in my opinion. I did mis-shift at least twice in part because I'm used to left hand drive cars and this was a right hand drive one. However, it was into third from 4th which has been a pain point for some people.

Steering is glorious. So much better than any EPAS system that I have driven yet still responsive and quick ratio. Not super sticky on center, totally predictable and not like progressive ratio systems that I don't trust and are hard to predict.

Interior is night and day better. Kef audio is at the level of a better Bose system on cursory use but not Mark Levinson, Bang and Olufsen level.

Paint quality and the production versions are excellent, fit and finish, panel gaps, the thunk of doors closing is significantly improved on production versions compared to the prototypes on the track. Very much a noticeable difference for all of the above.

I will post seperately about GT4 and Evija which we also so being flogged though I can't share pics. Inspiring.
 

Hapkin

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kitkat

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Gentleman and ladies. @Next Decade and I truly had a unique experience. We're going to collaborate offline and put it all together. Then post it publicly. We have to be very careful given that we saw so much that we can't disclose and I want to be respectful of the company, especially given that there is some emerging collaboration at a higher level with us.

For now, I will give my impressions on a very high level and then we'll drill down into the details together later. We have extraordinary details that I have not read on the forums yet.

First off, having now driven the car hard at Hethel in a late stage sports suspension manual V6 first edition prototype I can say without a doubt that it drives significantly differently than the Evora GT. The front end is both more planted as well as responsive and stable at the limit, it is tuned brilliantly and more smoothly driving than Evora GT. The engine feels very similarly powerful to the Evora GT, but you run out of revs a little faster and I did find myself bouncing off the red line at least two or three times on the main straight. Annoying.

Suspension in sport does not feel overly stiff, but the body itself is extremely stiff as far as torsional rigidity is concerned. There is a slight amount of body roll but for the most part it is very flat in transitional stability and steady state cornering. You do feel a slight bit of weight transfer that as people have said before is more communicative rather than destabilizing and contributes to confident driving not unconfidence.

Transitional stability in the chicane is extremely impressive. Car wants to rotate nicely and you can be very aggressive with initial turn in and then again applying throttle leaning on the LSD to rocket out. I consistently turned in too early until I adjusted to how fast the rack is and how willing the nose wants to turn. You can trail brake to get the rear to come around easily and predictably. The back end is always totally planted. Neutral to slight understeer at corner exit depending on how exuberant you are. Not really set up as oversteer type of car compared to my M2CS.

Hard threshold breaking in a straight line is a non-issue. Totally undramatic and very stable without any fade whatsoever though with a very familiar smell of hot brake pads by the end of the session. Excellent brake feel and modulation. Not soft and squishy on mine.

The shifter is very short, shifting, positive, notchy and while not by any means, perfect is better than the Evora GT in my opinion. I did mis-shift at least twice in part because I'm used to left hand drive cars and this was a right hand drive one. However, it was into third from 4th which has been a pain point for some people.

Steering is glorious. So much better than any EPAS system that I have driven yet still responsive and quick ratio. Not super sticky on center, totally predictable and not like progressive ratio systems that I don't trust and are hard to predict.

Interior is night and day better. Kef audio is at the level of a better Bose system on cursory use but not Mark Levinson, Bang and Olufsen level.

Paint quality and the production versions are excellent, fit and finish, panel gaps, the thunk of doors closing is significantly improved on production versions compared to the prototypes on the track. Very much a noticeable difference for all of the above.

I will post seperately about GT4 and Evija which we also so being flogged though I can't share pics. Inspiring.

Enjoying reading this -- this is better to me than any other reviews I've seen or read. Feel free to nerd out more about the handling dynamics you felt and comparisons to other cars. I'm eating it up and happy to hear you're enjoying it.

From one SF Bay //M driver to another 👍
 

TomE

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Gentleman and ladies. @Next Decade and I truly had a unique experience. We're going to collaborate offline and put it all together. Then post it publicly. We have to be very careful given that we saw so much that we can't disclose and I want to be respectful of the company, especially given that there is some emerging collaboration at a higher level with us.

For now, I will give my impressions on a very high level and then we'll drill down into the details together later. We have extraordinary details that I have not read on the forums yet.

First off, having now driven the car hard at Hethel in a late stage sports suspension manual V6 first edition prototype I can say without a doubt that it drives significantly differently than the Evora GT. The front end is both more planted as well as responsive and stable at the limit, it is tuned brilliantly and more smoothly driving than Evora GT. The engine feels very similarly powerful to the Evora GT, but you run out of revs a little faster and I did find myself bouncing off the red line at least two or three times on the main straight. Annoying.

Suspension in sport does not feel overly stiff, but the body itself is extremely stiff as far as torsional rigidity is concerned. There is a slight amount of body roll but for the most part it is very flat in transitional stability and steady state cornering. You do feel a slight bit of weight transfer that as people have said before is more communicative rather than destabilizing and contributes to confident driving not unconfidence.

Transitional stability in the chicane is extremely impressive. Car wants to rotate nicely and you can be very aggressive with initial turn in and then again applying throttle leaning on the LSD to rocket out. I consistently turned in too early until I adjusted to how fast the rack is and how willing the nose wants to turn. You can trail brake to get the rear to come around easily and predictably. The back end is always totally planted. Neutral to slight understeer at corner exit depending on how exuberant you are. Not really set up as oversteer type of car compared to my M2CS.

Hard threshold breaking in a straight line is a non-issue. Totally undramatic and very stable without any fade whatsoever though with a very familiar smell of hot brake pads by the end of the session. Excellent brake feel and modulation. Not soft and squishy on mine.

The shifter is very short, shifting, positive, notchy and while not by any means, perfect is better than the Evora GT in my opinion. I did mis-shift at least twice in part because I'm used to left hand drive cars and this was a right hand drive one. However, it was into third from 4th which has been a pain point for some people.

Steering is glorious. So much better than any EPAS system that I have driven yet still responsive and quick ratio. Not super sticky on center, totally predictable and not like progressive ratio systems that I don't trust and are hard to predict.

Interior is night and day better. Kef audio is at the level of a better Bose system on cursory use but not Mark Levinson, Bang and Olufsen level.

Paint quality and the production versions are excellent, fit and finish, panel gaps, the thunk of doors closing is significantly improved on production versions compared to the prototypes on the track. Very much a noticeable difference for all of the above.

I will post seperately about GT4 and Evija which we also so being flogged though I can't share pics. Inspiring.
Thanks for the write up - I've also copied your post to the Track Experience thread
 

KusaKusa

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Interesting that there are driving impressions for the Evija! To the best of my knowledge, no one has publicly stated that they've driven the production version or even a very late prototype. Not sure if there's been a press event yet.
 

NicolasB

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Interesting that there are driving impressions for the Evija! To the best of my knowledge, no one has publicly stated that they've driven the production version or even a very late prototype. Not sure if there's been a press event yet.
There was a typo, I believe, but he saw them being flogged, didn't drive them himself.
 

xen

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I'm loving this, but it's also all a bit strange isn't it? 🥰😅
Suspiciously serendipitous.

If contrived works great as a customer service / PR strategy…

If fortuitous would be great to have some context…don’t think many “regular” folk have had the pleasure of bumping into lotus senior management on a routine factory tour.

Either way the end-result is the same; more information and better community engagement - both of which are great to see. Keep the information coming.
 

TomE

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Suspiciously serendipitous.

If contrived works great as a customer service / PR strategy…

If fortuitous would be great to have some context…don’t think many “regular” folk have had the pleasure of bumping into lotus senior management on a routine factory tour.

Either way the end-result is the same; more information and better community engagement - both of which are great to see. Keep the information coming.
Based on what you already know about Lotus, do you think it was planned in advance or just a fortuitous occurrence that some seniors found some factory tour participants on the day? ;)

It’s great that Lotus took the opportunity to do an “access all areas” tour with customers and looking forward to the write up.

I’ll still keep saying it: it’s a shame Lotus haven’t done this as part of a proper comms strategy and regular updates and engagement. Maybe this is the start of some improvements.
 

Next Decade

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Based on what you already know about Lotus, do you think it was planned in advance or just a fortuitous occurrence that some seniors found some factory tour participants on the day? ;)

It’s great that Lotus took the opportunity to do an “access all areas” tour with customers and looking forward to the write up.

I’ll still keep saying it: it’s a shame Lotus haven’t done this as part of a proper comms strategy and regular updates and engagement. Maybe this is the start of some improvements.
It absolutely was not planned. We were the only three people of a max 8 group. I could tell something was aloof when we walked in and the entire executive team was there… after speaking with Ken, they knew Daniel had plans to visit this month, but did not know the exact date until shortly prior.

It was purely coincidental.
 
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digilotus

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It absolutely was not planned. We were the only three people of a max 8 group. I could tell something was aloof when we walked in and the entire executive team was there… after speaking with Ken, they knew Daniel had plans to visit this month, but did not no the exact date until shortly prior.

It was purely coincidental.
You folks got so lucky, well done! A trip to remember for sure!

P.S. We're all dying here for more news and photos! :LOL:
 

Next Decade

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You folks got so lucky, well done! A trip to remember for sure!

P.S. We're all dying here for more news and photos! :LOL:
I’m at a layover headed back to the states. Working diligently on it now. Just lots of info so I want to take my time writing this up because it covers so many topics. Then I need to collaborate with Hapkin and do a final draft.

Sorry guys, I think Hapkin and I are very similar in the fact that we’re perfectionists lol. Mech. Engr meets Doctor.
 

digilotus

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I’m at a layover headed back to the states. Working diligently on it now. Just lots of info so I want to take my time writing this up because it covers so many topics. Then I need to collaborate with Hapkin and do a final draft.

Sorry guys, I think Hapkin and I are very similar in the fact that we’re perfectionists lol. Mech. Engr meets Doctor.
All good. I'm in a similar profession so understand completely.
 

Hapkin

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You know every tiny detail is going to be analysed on here, so take your time to be happy with it before you publish!
Exactly. To confirm it was pure luck. I was frankly shocked they were all standing there when we walked in the door and had to take the opportunity and walk up and shake the MD's hand. That led to meeting all the others. Props to all of them for spending the time to really speak with us. Not at all superficial or political. Nick our tour guide had to break us all up lol.

This experience was 1000% more fun, and in more detail than I expected.
 

GetawayDriving

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Exactly. To confirm it was pure luck. I was frankly shocked they were all standing there when we walked in the door and had to take the opportunity and walk up and shake the MD's hand. That led to meeting all the others. Props to all of them for spending the time to really speak with us. Not at all superficial or political. Nick our tour guide had to break us all up lol.

This experience was 1000% more fun, and in more detail than I expected.

Very cool. Sounds like this fellow American missed this and you guys by about 48 hours. I did the Academy on Saturday.
 

DJS

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I know you guys are going to do a write up on the finer details and I’m looking forward to that, but the one all important question from me is are they actually going to be delivering cars in October and November and if so to where?

When I was on my tour I met Matt Windle he came over and introduced himself which was a nice touch, also when I was there I got invited to the grand opening of the new Colin Chapman facility, this was pot luck. This was back in April when the there was hardly anything happening production wise.
 

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Hapkin

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I know you guys are going to do a write up on the finer details and I’m looking forward to that, but the one all important question from me is are they actually going to be delivering cars in October and November and if so to where?

When I was on my tour I met Matt Windle he came over and introduced himself which was a nice touch, also when I was there I got invited to the grand opening of the new Colin Chapman facility, this was pure pot luck. This was back in April when the there was hardly anything happening production wise.
They were building, and had finished several customer cars. Every car on the modular final assembly line was a bought customer car. Game on.
 

Next Decade

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I know you guys are going to do a write up on the finer details and I’m looking forward to that, but the one all important question from me is are they actually going to be delivering cars in October and November and if so to where?

When I was on my tour I met Matt Windle he came over and introduced himself which was a nice touch, also when I was there I got invited to the grand opening of the new Colin Chapman facility, this was pure pot luck. This was back in April when the there was hardly anything happening production wise.
I had typed this up before Hapkin responded, but got on a plane...anyways, to add on.

As we first arrived, there were approximately 20-24 cars all wrapped up (plastic protection added) and ready to go outside the facility. This tells me that it's not a coincidence to have seen several trucks moving in and out the next day. I know they were the proper trucks because they had one outside next to them at the end of our tour. Nick confirmed it when asked how they were loaded. You've probably seen them; ones with the canvas (?) walls on both sides to easily display the cars and hold two a piece.

Side note, Even though I was told during the tour that the status board was not up to date, it showed 418 cars completed to date out of the planned 630? don't have the numbers in front of me at the moment but it seems about right. During the tour I was perusing the codes on each part and taking notes of the highest numbers I saw, which was around 556(?) while looking at the seats they had arranged and wrapped in plastic...don't quote me on that. Either way it all kinda makes sense. The biggest issue is supply chains causing 95% complete cars to sit due to single or minor components unavailable. I saw approximately 25 cars sitting in an "I'm missing X queue" per Nick. I'll have a nice writeup on the seats for you guys soon so people can stop bitching lol, I'm happy with them and honestly impressed.

Good news is that it looked like they had their final Customer QC/paint inspection line stacked to the brim with cars ready to be inspected, get prepped, and join the others I mentioned outside earlier. I'm unsure about their ability to move them (volume wise), but even if it were only 6 per day...I think we'll be seeing a bunch of content coming very very soon.

Sorry for the unorganized collection of thoughts in an attempt to answer your simple question lol. Best I can do on a plane. I hope that helps.
 
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