The $100,000 Lotus you can't drive to the track
The first Exige V6 Cup models have arrived in the U.S.
It's the Exige V6 Cup, a track-only model of a car that Lotus no longer imports due to federal laws requiring "smart airbags" with passenger-seat sensors. On a track, there are no pesky laws or insurance companies to spoil the fun, except it's illegal to drive this Exige home in the U.S. without a trailer.
According to Lotus, three have been imported in the past few weeks and only an additional dozen or so will arrive all year, "depending on demand" for the midengine, $100,450 sports car.
The V6 Cup is an extreme take on the already hard-core Exige S, which features the same supercharged 345-horsepower V6 engine featured in the Evora S, which we can drive to the store (both are plucked from a Toyota Camry). The Cup model adds a full roll cage, fire extinguisher, special front splitter, rear wing, diffuser, adjustable dampers and a forged aluminum suspension that drops this gorgeous little body within a fingernail's length of its tires. As this Lotus weighs only 2,381 pounds, getting to 60 mph takes 3.8 seconds, about the same as a new Porsche 911 Carrera S for the same money.
Unlike the 911 or the race-ready 911 GT3 RS, the regular Exige is the rawest of raw sports cars. It doesn't even have power steering. On the V6 Cup, air conditioning is an $1,800 option, triple that of four 18-inch diamond-cut wheels. Most, if not all, of the V6 Cup cars will race in the Lotus USA Cup, a Lotus-only race series for Lotus owners.
An even hotter V6 Cup R is reserved for Europe, featuring an upgrade to 361 horsepower and a reduction of 88 pounds. A sequential racing gearbox with paddle shifters, as seen above, is also at the ready.
By 2015, Lotus will release a new Exige that will be street-legal in our country. At least we're not completely missing out in the meantime.
[Source: Lotus, account required]
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