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Frankfurt 2011: the new Lotus Exige
Lotus wants to remind the world of what it does best. Ignore the spurious employ of a Mr Beatz and the promise of a gazillion new sports cars for the moment, because here are a pair of cars that literally want to tear you a new one.
Welcome everyone, to the 2012 Lotus Exige S and the Evora GTE.
The new Exige S bins the Toyota 1.8 four-pot and its 220bhp high-revving charms, and instead opts for the 3.5-litre V6 straight from the Evora, adhering closely to a Top Gear truism that to become better, you need more.
Lotus tells us performance figures aren’t available yet because they “have not been witness tested”, so we’re going to play the Internet’s favourite game of This Car Which I Don’t Own Will Beat Every Car In The Earth. The old Exige - which was great, don’t forget - did the 0-62mph dash in 4.3 seconds and finished up at 148mph, so with an extra 125bhp on tap and a modest increase in weight - up to 1080kg - the Exige S will likely venture into supercar territory.
The new Exige also gets a new front splitter and gets a slightly - slightly - more modest rear wing than before, as well as a slightly less snarling set of headlamps. Sadly, the roof scoop is gone. RIP.
Three driving modes are available with the Lotus Dynamic Performance Management system, ‘Touring’, ‘Sport’ and, err, ‘Off’. Should you require more testicular abuse, an additional race pack is available that features launch control and “optimised suspension settings” for hardened track use.
Also on the Lotus stand was its most powerful road car ever built: the 438bhp Lotus Evora GTE. Originally intended for the Asian market, it was created to celebrate Lotus entering the global GTE motorsport category.
It comes with an automated manual transmission racing gearbox, lightweight alloy rims and a “clever use of carbon fibre” to help shed 105kg from a standard Evora: the doors, rear wing and front and rear bumpers are now made of the stuff, along with Recaro CF seats too.
Lotus CEO Dany Bahar said: “The response to this model in China has been so incredible, within days we had sold out with 114 orders. In response we decided that the only logical step from a business perspective was to increase production and widen our reach.”
That’s right, Lotus is planning to build more. Watch this space.