Exige S Roadster: Hardcore soft-top

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IOL mot pic mar7 Lotus Exige Roadster 1

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It's the first Exige with a factory-fitted soft top roof.

According to Lotus, it's more raw than a sushi platter. The Lotus Exige S Roadster - dropping its top at the Geneva motor show as you read this - combines its coupé twin's 3.5-litre supercharged V6 grunt with real wind-in-your-hair driving.

It's the first Exige with a factory-fitted soft top roof, and it's typically light, simple and easy to put up and take down. Lotus has, in fact, kept the Roadster's weight down to under 1100kg, less than 20kg heavier than the coupé.

It rockets from a standing start to 100km/h in four seconds flat, on to 160 (100mph in the old language) in 8.5 seconds, and tops out at 233km/h, at an average of 10.1 litres per 100km and 236g of CO2 per kilometre.

LETTING IT OFF THE LEASH

The Roadster comes with a six-speed manual gearbox, but will also be available with a paddle-operated 'automated manual' transmission, which makes life more relaxed in the city and more like and F1 car when it's let off the leash

You never have to take your hands off the wheel, it prevents errors during shifting, and it's lighter and more compact than a conventional torque-converter transmission.

IOL mot pic mar7 Lotus Exige Roadster 2

This is the view most drivers will get of the Roadster.

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The car comes with two suspension settings - Standard for driving on real roads and Race, part of the optional Race Pack for maximum performance on the track use. Race mode also includes a launch-control system.

Inside, the customer can specify a comfort-enhanced plush interior or a more stripped down, sporty option.

The Exige S Roadster will be sold mostly in Europe and Asia; it won't be available in North America. South African distributor Pearl Automotive says you can order one now for delivery in mid-July, but they don't as yet have firm pricing from the factory.

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