Lotus Exige S V6 hits the U.K.Thu, 26 Jul 2012 00:00:00 -0700
Most recent Lotus news has been generated by a rumor that Volkswagen is considering buying the British brand's parent company, Proton. But Lotus didn't let that keep it from making a little news of its own. The long-awaited first production Lotus Exige S V6 rolled off the line Thursday in Hethel, Norfolk, in the United Kingdom.
The Exige S V6 uses a 3.5-liter supercharged V6 from Toyota that makes 345 hp at 7,000 rpm and 295 lb-ft of torque. That's connected to a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission. The combination is good for a 3.8-second run to 60 mph and a top speed of 170 mph.
The new Exige S V6 has an all-new aerodynamic package developed with help from the Lotus ride-and-handling team at the Hethel test track. It wears Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires and a raised rear spoiler for high-speed grip.
Drivers can choose from three driving modes with a Lotus Dynamic Performance Management (DPM) switch: touring, sport and off. If the optional Race Pack is specified, the system will have a fourth mode that offers maximum traction, a launch-control function and a track-optimized suspension setup.
Suspension parts consist of high-performance Bilstein gas shocks along with Eibach springs in both front and back. An antiroll bar stretches across the front end's strut towers.
Unfortunately for American enthusiasts, the Exige S V6 won't be coming to the United States as a legal road car. It has smart airbags, but not advanced smart airbags like the ones the United States requires. Lotus will, however, send about 25 Exige S Cup cars to the States per year as track-only options for the Lotus Cup Series teams and other racers. Those cars will be race-ready with a roll cage, HANS racing seat, racing harness, fire-suppression system and an electrical cut-off switch.
The Lotus Exige S V6 will cost about $75,000 and will be available through U.K. and European dealers soon. The fully-equipped Cup version will be about $25,000 more. Lotus says it has orders from several hundred buyers.
By Jake Lingeman