A new V6 engine will be chief amongst a vast array of changes to the Exige in 2012, as Lotus aims to bridge the gap between its current range and its five-strong line-up of new sports cars due from 2013.
No Exiges have been produced for the European market since December 2010 when its 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine fell foul of emissions regulations. Autocar understands Lotus boss Dany Bahar is planning to fully back and improve the current range of Lotuses before the new models – starting with the 2013 Esprit – are phased in.
An early V6-equipped Exige test mule was scooped last summer when Lotus first experimented fitting the Toyota-sourced 3.5-litre V6 from the Evora within the Exige’s mid-engined, rear-drive layout. That mule had a significantly wider track as Lotus tried to accommodate the engine in the Exige and the latest, further developed mule pictured here has a significantly lengthened wheelbase.
Scooped testing at the company’s Hethel headquarters, this Exige appears to be almost entirely new from the B-pillars back. At the front, revised front styling is also evident. Lotus design boss Donato Coco says the current Lotus models look “too weak” and he wants to give them a bolder, more aggressive look inspired by the range of new sports cars previewed at last year’s Paris motor show.