Lotus has announced its new Exige S Roadster will be priced from £52,900 – exactly the same as the hard-top Exige S. It’s also slightly lighter than the fixed-head Exige, and matches its blistering acceleration times.
That £52,900 tag makes the 345bhp Exige S Roadster £7500 pricier than a (pre-options list) Porsche Boxster S manual, though the 1328kg Porsche makes do with only 315bhp. Jaguar’s entry-level F-type V6 meanwhile, costs £5620 more, offers less power (335bhp) and weighs almost 1600kg.
What makes the Exige S Roadster lighter than the coupe?
Because the both Exige models share their aluminium tub with the Elise (designed as a roadster from day one) there’s no need to add any strengthening braces in order to whip the roof off it. Deleting the hard-top’s large rear wing and roof panel means the Exige S Roadster weighs in 10kg lighter than the coupe, at 1166kg. The Exige S Roadster uses the same manually-erected fabric roof as the Elise.
But the Exige S Roadster isn’t any faster than the coupe?
Nope – you’ll still hit 60mph in 3.8sec (62mph comes up in 4.0sec) and the top speed is in fact lower: it’s limited to 140mph, while the coupe romps on to 170mph.
Drivetrains are of course identical between both variants: mounted amidships is a 3.5-litre 345bhp supercharged V6 good for 345bhp and 295lb ft. It drives the rear wheels via a close-ratio six-speed manual gearbox. Lotus has confirmed it will consider offering a six-speed paddleshift auto ‘box if customer demand is strong enough.
The Exige S Roadster gets the same chassis set-up as the coupe: there’s the adaptive ‘Lotus Dynamic Performance Management’ system, and AP Racing brakes. Wheels are 17in forged alloys up front, and 18s on the rear, wrapped in sticky Pirelli P-Zero rubber.
It’ll go on UK sale in summer 2013, after a possible debut appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.