RAC Cars News


Lotus Exige S Roadster Details Emerging

By raccars Published

The Norfolk manufacturer's fastest ever soft top is due in showrooms later this year and is already available for order. At £52,900, the Roadster carries the same price as the Exige S hard top. Interested parties may be lucky enough to get a preview at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

The 345bhp two seater sports car comes in at about 10 kilos under the hard top's weight and with similar performance statistics. It hits a limited top speed of 145mph, versus the coupe's 170mph and should go from standstill to 60mph in less than four seconds, while 0-100mph should take about 8.5 seconds.

The supercharged 3.5 litre V6 powered Roadster is more expensive than the basic Porsche Boxster S manual variant, but is also more powerful by about 30 horses. On the other hand, it's cheaper than the entry-level 335bhp V6 F-Type Jaguar and still has 10bhp to its advantage.

The Exige has the Lotus Elise to thank for its lightweight aluminium frame, which was conceived as a roadster right from the start and so came with the necessary rigidity built in, where other cars have needed to add weight-increasing strength and stability features to fit the later soft top models. The Exige in roadster form benefits too from the deletion of the hard top version's hefty rear wing and roof to save those 10kg. The Exige also has the Elise to thank for its manually controlled fabric roof system.

Mechanically the roadster is the same as the hard top Exige. It's rear wheel drive, with a centrally mounted engine and comes with a tight, six speed manual transmission, although rumours are afoot that customer demand could prompt a paddleshift automatic transmission option. Similarly, the hard top's intuitive Lotus Dynamic Performance Management deals with any handling issues, while there are AP Racing brakes and Pirelli P-Zeros to each corner – with 17 inch alloys wheels to the front and 18 inchers at the back.

For buyers not satisfied with the above, there is the option of a race pack with track tuned dynamic controls, along with the choice of sporty or comfort cabin specifications.

With the existing Exige S, Exige Cup and Exige Cup R models, Lotus has confirmed the Exige S Roadster will be the ultimate model in the range and the first examples should be visible on the streets by the end of summer.

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