The Lotus Exige returns at today’s Frankfurt motor show as a lightweight, high-performance supercharged V6 sports car.
Lotus promises the 1080kg, 345bhp machine will offer “raw performance, agility and unparalleled ride and handling”. Performance figures are not yet available, but the most extreme road-going Lotus yet is likely to crack the 0-100mph sprint in under 8.0sec — putting it within a second of the Ferrari 458 Italia.
The Exige has been unavailable in the UK since its previous Toyota-sourced 1.8-litre, four-cylinder engine failed emissions tests. Rather than find a similar four-pot, Lotus took the opportunity to radically revise the whole car.
This new S version, complete with the Evora S’s 3.5-litre V6, will bridge the gap between Lotus’s current range and the five new cars due from 2013. They were previewed at last year’s Paris motor show. Lotus CEO Dany Bahar says the Exige S, which is noticeably larger than before, “skips a few rungs of the ladder” over the outgoing car.
The aerodynamic styling is typified by a large, fixed rear spoiler, a new front splitter and the bolder front-end looks previewed on the Paris show cars. Although not shown here, the interior, Lotus claims, has also had a major overhaul. The two specs are Premium and Premium Sport.
The Exige S features grippy Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres and a ‘Lotus Dynamic Performance Management’ system offering three driving modes: Touring, Sport and DPM Off.
Buyers can also specify a Race Pack that adds a fourth driving mode — Race — which provides “maximum possible traction out of corners”, a launch control and track-optimised suspension.