At the Paris Auto Show in 2010, Lotus showed off grand plans for the future. They included new model additions like the Elite, Eterne, Esprit as well as a radically different next-generation Elise. Lotus is clearly planning to move upmarket and away from its lightweight-only focus of the past decade. For many, the Elise is the car that got Lotus on the map again here in the United States and around the world. We’ll see how forging a new path works out for them; we think they carved out a pretty good niche before.
In August, Lotus announced Elise and Exige final editions for the U.S. They are no longer able to be sold here due to a few issues; one being the fact that Toyota discontinued the 1.8-liter 2ZZ four-cylinder that powered them. The other is that NHTSA exemptions that enabled the sale of both cars expired.
The engineering to replace their airbag system was too expensive to undertake, especially when they were nearing the end of their lifecycle. We are going to have to wait for the next-generation versions of these cars. However, DuPont Registry is reporting that a new track-only Exige is under consideration in the U.S.
The model in question is the Elige S, which instead of a four-cylinder is powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 making 345 horsepower. Selling as a track car would be a way to get around the governmental requirements. The Elise and Exige were perfect track-day cars; in fact they were better track cars than road cars.
DuPont says the car would be sold for around $85-90,000. Not cheap, that’s for sure, but it offers a lot of performance and kit. Top speed is 170 mph, and 0-60 arrives in 3.8 seconds. Track specs include a full roll cage, racing seats/harness and an electric cut-off switch. Lotus still has the bigger, more luxurious Evora to sell in the U.S for those who want a Lotus they can drive on the road. No word on when the Exige S will be made available for order.