Lotus has been prevented from importing any of its sports cars to the United States because of regulatory issues. However, fans of the brand can still get the 2013 Exige; it will be imported as a track-only racer.
Regulations in the way
Sports car and supercar makers have previously been able to benefit from exemptions that the federal government grants to small car firms concerning airbags. If small car firms are approved for the airbag exemptions, they don’t have to install airbags in their cars to sell them in the U.S. Car makers who focus on designing their cars to be driving machines first and foremost, therefore, don’t have to ruin a fantastic piece of engineering by throwing in an airbag as a token gesture.
However, the federal government has become far less amenable to allowing the exemption and has been refusing to grant it to sports car manufacturers. Lotus, for instance, was faced with not bringing the 2013 Exige S to the United States at all, according to AutoBlog. That said, the firm has decided to make the Exige S a top-notch track car instead of a road car for Yankee Lotus enthusiasts.
Fast as Ferrari with a Camry engine
All cars in the current Lotus line have Toyota engines, including the upcoming Exige S. According to MotorTrend, the previous Exige S240 used a supercharged 1.8-liter inline-four cylinder, which produced 257 horsepower and was able to rocket the tiny Lotus from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.3 seconds.
The 2013 Exige S uses the 3.5-liter V-6 used in the Camry. However, Lotus supercharges it from the standard 268 horsepower to 345 horsepower, good enough to take it from 0 to 60 in 3.8 seconds. Lotus is also fitting the Exige S with a rollcage, five-point harnesses and race seats. It also comes with a “cut-out” switch and a traction control system. It’s a track-day toy, and there is a price for that power combined with Lotus’ legendary handling. The 2013 Lotus Exige S will cost between $85,000 and $90,000 and won’t be road-legal.
New Lotus models to blossom
Enthusiasts who want to get into a Lotus Elise or Exige will have to be satiated by used models, as the airbag requirement is going to keep the brand from importing new models for some time. However, the Lotus Evora is still going to be available at least until mid-2013, according to Lotus’s website, when the Evora will be replaced by the new Elan.
According to AutoBlog, the new Lotus Espirit is slated to follow later that year. The original Espirit was an iconic supercar, competing with Lamborghini and Ferrari models, and the new Espirit is going to do the same. The car will get its own V-8, which should produce at least 570 horsepower.