The Lotus Elise is designed to satisfy the needs of performance purists who like to let loose on the weekends. Lotus Cars founder Colin Chapman had a simple formula for making cars faster: “To add speed, add lightness.” More than 25 years after Chapman’s death, his company’s automobiles continue to embody this mantra—and none more so than the new Lotus Exige S 260 Sport. At 2,020 pounds with a full tank of fuel, the 260 Sport is 57 pounds lighter than its immediate predecessor, the featherweight Exige S 240. Lotus kept the 260 Sport lean by using carbon fiber for the roof, rear engine cover, side scoops, front splitter, and rear-wing spoiler. Even the bucket seats are made from the woven composite material. Lotus modified the 240’s supercharged 4-cylinder engine—first used on the Elise SC— for the 260 Sport, boosting output to 257 horsepower and 174 foot-pounds of torque. A launch-control feature catapults the car to 60 mph in less than 4 seconds—a figure sure to pique the interest of weekend racers. However, like the 260 Sport itself, potential buyers will have to move fast: Lotus plans to ship only 50 to North America.
Pros: A Lotus that you can drive every day without the weekly visits to the chiropractor.
Cons: Backseats are fit only for children.