2012 Lotus Exige S - Frankfurt Auto Show

After showing off the Exige's swan-song "Final Edition" models at last month's Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, Lotus debuted an all-new version of the raw sports car at the Frankfurt Auto Show. Featuring updated interior and exterior styling, the redesigned Exige S boasts new technology, improved performance and - most importantly - a new, more powerful engine.

Under the Exige's mid-mounted hood lurks its new powerplant: a Toyota-built 345-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 borrowed from the automaker's larger Evora S sports car. That replaces last year's 1.8-liter four-cylinder - also a Toyota engine - which goes out of production later this year. The result is a stunning power-to-weight ratio thanks to an increase of nearly 100 horsepower over the high-performance 2011 Exige S 260, and more than 120 horses over the standard 2011 Exige S.

But the redesigned Exige's performance will be bolstered by more than just its new engine. The all-new Exige S is also loaded with exciting new high-performance technology like Lotus's Dynamic Performance Management system, which allows drivers to switch between Touring and Sport modes. An optional Race Pack adds launch control and another driving mode, dubbed "Race," which Lotus says allows for maximum traction out of corners. The sporty Exige S also offers a high-performance tire package that includes track-oriented Pirella P-Zero Corsa tires.

The exterior of the new Exige features a new front splitter and rear spoiler, along with updated front and rear fascias. The Exige also features two new option packages: the premium package, which focuses on comfort- and style-oriented features, and the premium sport package, which Lotus says "focuses on creating an internal space optimized for ultimate driver involvement."

"Anyone who has ever driven an Exige will tell you that it's not for the faint-hearted," said Danny Bahar, Lotus's chief executive. "The new Exige S skips a few rungs on the ladder to give the driver the ultimate Lotus experience. Quite simply you can't get more Lotus than the Exige S."

Lotus has not announced pricing for the all-new Exige, or a timeline for its US debut - provided the automaker plans to bring the coupe stateside at all. Lotus also has yet to detail future updates to its open-top Elise, which will depart from the US market after its own "Final Edition" models sell out.


See more coverage of the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show.


JEFFREY ARCHER is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.