A few folks have been modifying present Lotus Exige S cars, converting them into soft-tops (see comment by wallabyguy here), but now the factory does it for you. And it has made other alterations to make this a most desirable sports car.
This is part of Lotus’s comeback story. The firm has had lots of ups and downs but has always kept to the “less is more” mantra, and its new cars are finally getting the styling right as well. I think owner Proton (Malaysia) has done well by them.
The Exige S Roadster gives what is basically a track and rally car a little more class and some upgrades in appearance. Worldcarfans called it “an Elise with a bigger engine,” but now it’s better-looking too.
Performance comes from a blown 3.5-liter V6 (345 hp) that moves you to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and 0-100 in 8.5. Top speed is 145 mph. Best is its light weight—about 2,400 pounds. A 6-speed manual is standard; you can order Lotus’s Serial Precision Shift (SPS), with paddles and automated shifting.
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How many of you oldsters remember the Lotus Seven (now the Caterham Seven)? Years ago, I drove one for about five minutes and have never been the same since. Lotus and Colin Chapman pioneered the idea of very lightweight, high-performing sports cars, and the world hasn’t been the same since.
But sports cars have gotten more powerful, a lot heavier, and less efficient at getting somewhere. Like many of us.
Now comes a resurrection of the Lotus/Chapman concept, the TEEWAVE AR1, a car that was designed and built in just nine months. The electric powertrain comes from Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV, producing a mere 63 hp and 133 lb-ft of torque. The car is about the size of an Elise or a Miata and weighs just 1,852 pounds.
Range is claimed to be 114 miles; recharging takes six hours. It is 882 pounds lighter than the Tesla Roadster, but the Roadster is a lot more powerful. The TEEWAVE may be peerless in handling, but 0-62 mph takes 11.4 seconds and cries out for a power boost.
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