2005 Lotus Exige 240R

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If the Lotus Elise isn't hard-core enough for you, then the Exige may do the trick. By slapping a blower on top of the 1.8-liter four-cylinder from the U.S.-spec Elise, Lotus has increased output to 243 hp, up from 190. Torque is also up from 138 to 174 lb-ft. That might not sound like a lot, but the Exige's whole raison d'tre is to be light, not powerful. It weighs not much more than 2000 pounds, making it one of the world's lightest sports cars. In power-to-weight terms, it equates roughly to a Ferrari 360 Modena, but it's faster. Stand on the throttle, and the needle hits 60 mph in less than four seconds, thanks in part to supersticky Yokohama rubber. Although built around the same bonded aluminum tub as the Elise, the Exige is different in that it has an even more aggressive suspension and a non-removable hardtop. The roof scoop provides cold air to the intercooler, while the rear-deck spoiler and diffuser apply a significant of amount downforce at 100 mph. Sixty-thousand euro seems a fair price, especially since you could embarrass much more expensive cars at the track. But alas, this Exige will never make it to this side of the Atlantic, as it has no air bags. We just may have to move to Europe.

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