Lotus Exige S Roadster at 2012 Geneva motor show

Published: 06 March 2012 Updated: 26 January 2015

Here’s the new Lotus Exige S Roadster, unveiled on the eve of the 2012 Geneva motor show. With a sub-four second sprint to the 60mph mark, it’s Hethel’s quickest soft top ever; we’ve already seen the Lotus Exige S in coupe guise, but this is the open-top Roadster variant.

A hefty 3.5-litre V6 engine lies behind the cockpit which, says Lotus, has received the benefits of its racing technology. Mind you, is there a sports car that doesn’t boast that these days…

Wait a minute – this is the Lotus Exige S Roadster? Wasn’t the Lotus Exige developed as a hard-top version of the roofless Elise?

Yes, quite. Spotter’s badge for you for noticing that. Yes, we’re hoping to get that wee conundrum explained by Lotus at the earliest convenience. But by going backwards, Lotus is going forward – at an extremely rapid pace.

That thumping V6 block propels the S Roadster to 60mph from a standing start in just 3.8 seconds. In comparison, a 991-gen Porsche 911 Carrera with 345bhp does the 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds. In other words, the Lotus – which will hit 100mph in 8.5 seconds – has neck-snapping speed. Top speed is 145mph, fuel consumption is 28.0mpg and CO2 emissions are 236g/km.

So, how it so devilishly quick?

The answer to the pace becomes apparent when we tell you that the Exige S Roadster tips the scales a smidge under 1100kg. There’s a six-speed manual gearbox, but you can also opt for SPS (Serial Precision Shift), which is Lotus’s automated manual transmission system. When it comes to suspension settings it’s rather limited; standard and an optional, more sporting setting as part of the Race Pack, designed for the track.

We’ll stick with the manual transmission thank you. Anything else? That soft top roof for example?

Oh, almost forgot that – speed apart – it’s all about the roof (or lack of one) here. It’s a simple soft-top fabric hood, but we haven’t seen sight of it yet. 

Inside, don’t expect whistles, bells and Alcantara-trimmed tissue boxes. Lotus call it ‘stylish minimalism and functionality’, which is obviously a euphemism for ‘don’t expect much and you won’t be disappointed’.

Who cares about the inside? I love the sound of it. I want to buy one for me and another each for my business partners in China and Springfield, Illinois! How much?

No news on prices yet. But one of you is going to be disappointed. The Lotus Exige S Roadster will be sold in Europe and Asia but not the US. 

>> Click here for more news on the Lotus Exige S roadster from our sister website Parkers

By Stephen Worthy

Former contributor to CAR magazine