Lotus_Exige_S_Roadster

The Lotus Exige S Roadster, first shown in pre-production form at the Geneva Motor Show last year, has now gone into production and is on sale in Europe and Malaysia (but not North America). As the name suggests it’s an open-top version of the hardcore Exige S coupe, with little change elsewhere.

It’s the first time an Exige is available with a removable roof, and it completes the Exige range that includes the S coupe and Cup track special. Power comes from the same supercharged Toyota-sourced 3.5 litre V6 engine in the other Exige models and Evora S, tuned to 345 hp at 7,000 rpm and 400 Nm of torque at 4,500 rpm.

Remarkably it weighs 10 kg less than the coupe at 1166 kg; its bonded aluminium chassis proving strong enough to not need extra braces without a roof. As such performance remains eye-wateringly quick: 0-100 km/h in four seconds dead and 160 km/h in a little more than double that. Top speed is limited to 233 km/h, down from the coupe’s 272 km/h, to protect the soft-top roof.

A six-speed manual or Serial Precision Shift (SPS) paddle-operated automated manual transmissions are offered, with a choice of two suspension and interior configurations. In Malaysia you can buy one officially at Lotus’ new flagship showroom in Petaling Jaya. Price starts from RM452,030 – not bad really, considering it’s far more costly than the RM550,000 Porsche Boxster S in the UK.