In addition to an aging platform, a key reason for the demise of the Elise and Exige in the U.S. was due to an expiration of a "smart" airbag exemption that left the models on the wrong side of government regulations.
That, coupled with the fact that Toyota was no longer supplying the 2ZZ-GE four-cylinder engines that powered them meant Lotus was forced to halt production of U.S.-spec Elise and Exige sports cars.
However, Lotus then went and unveiled the striking new 2012 Exige S at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show, a bigger, and meaner version of the Exige packed with the Evora S’ supercharged 3.5-liter V-6. Sadly, Lotus never mentioned any U.S. launch for the car at its Frankfurt debut but the guys at the duPont Registry claim it will be coming, but as a track-only model.
This means that it should come standard with a full roll cage, racing seats and harness, electrical cut-off switch, and other race car paraphernalia. Expect a pricetag in the vicinity of $85,000 to $90,000 and the vehicle to land sometime next year.
As mentioned, the Exige S packs the Evora S’ supercharged 3.5-liter V-6 and all 345 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque that comes with it.
With only around 2,380 pounds in total mass, 200 pounds up on the previous four-cylinder model, we think you’ll quickly realize why we’re so excited about Lotus’ latest addition. Expect 0-60 mph acceleration of just 3.8 seconds and a top speed in excess of 170 mph. Race settings should include adjustable suspension, launch control, and a number of accessories lifted from the Exige R-GT rally car.
Lotus Exige R-GT rally carEnlarge Photo