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by Tim Beissmann

The Lotus Exige S Roadster has been unveiled at the Geneva motor show, combining the grunt and agility of the V6-powered coupe with the thrill of open-air motoring.

The new model marks the first time an Exige has been offered with a factory-fitted soft-top roof, which has been designed in typically lightweight fashion.

With a total body weight of less than 1100kg, Lotus says the Exige S Roadster is one of the lightest six-cylinder convertibles in the world.

The Roadster inherits its engine from the Exige V6 coupe, which debuted at last year’s Frankfurt motor show and is set to go on sale in Australia at the end of 2012. The Roadster’s 3.5-litre V6 should mirror the output of the coupe and the Evora S, which both produce 257kW of power and 400Nm of torque.

The Exige S Roadster sprints from 0-100km/h in 4.0 seconds – making it just two tenths slower than the $487,500 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster. Its top speed of 233km/h.

The racy soft-top comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission and will also be available with Lotus’ six-speed paddle-shift semi-automatic gearbox.

Two suspension settings have been designed to ensure the car behaves itself both on the road and on the track. Additionally, the Roadster’s launch control function can be used when ‘Race’ mode is selected.

Customers can choose between a stripped out, minimalist interior or go for a more comfortable, well-appointed cockpit.

Lotus says the Exige S Roadster has been developed primarily for Europe and Asia. The car is expected to be available in Australia in 2013, with prices and specifications to be revealed closer to its local launch.

Lotus sold just 12 Exiges in Australia in 2011. Nine of those sales came in the final four months of the year following a massive price cut in August that saw the Exige S drop from more than $110,000 to $79,990. Lotus has sold two Exiges in Australia so far this year.




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