Two-wheel drive, supercharged, and sideways in the dirt. That's the future of at least one Lotus model, according to the latest reports. The company is said to be planning an Exige-based rally car for IRC or WRC competition.

Combining two of our favorite things in the world (lightweight British sports cars and stage rally) the Exige rally car would see at least 300 units built for homologation purposes, but that figure could reach as high as 500 or 600 cars built, according to CAR.

The cars would be sold to privateers and run as customer efforts, supported by, but not run by, the Lotus factory. They're being built to fit in below the current Super2000 rally class, but it's not yet clear what series they'll run in, or what the specs on the car will be like.

Given the road-going Exige S's 240-horsepower output, high-revving engine, 2,057-pound curb weight, and supercar looks, we can't wait to see what it's like in rally trim.

The car is expected to be completed in time for the 2012 season. Too bad the U.S. versions of the Elise and Exige are ending production in August.