Starting with the release of the Exige Cup 240 in '06, Lotus has built up quite the following for its track-focused but built-for-the-road model. For the 2010 variant called the Exige Cup 260, Lotus shaves off a few pounds by upping the carbon-fiber treatment.

Design-wise, the front end was restyled with a more angular air intake and a new aerodynamic splitter. By adding a carbon-fiber roof panel, rear tailgate, center tunnel, front splitter, side air ducts and rear spoiler, more than 25 pounds of weight was shaved - a hefty contribution to the close to 84 pounds total cut from last year's model.

Handling is improved with its 30 percent stiffer rear chassis, forged alloy wheels wrapped in Yokohama A048 rubber and two-way adjustable Ohlins dampers. Stopping power comes from huge 12.1-inch front and 11.1-inch rear cross-drilled and ventilated brake discs with AP Racing and Brembo calipers. Buyers can opt for a programmable launch control system that allows the driver to choose the number of RPMs they wish to use during a standing start.

Taking design cues from the Exige GT3 racecar, the 260 has a supercharged and intercooled four-cylinder Toyota engine that makes the sprint to 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds. It lays down 257 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque and comes standard with a lightweight flywheel, torque-sensing limited-slip diff, sports-type clutch plate and a smaller battery that further cuts weight.

he car retails for just under $75,000 in the U.K. and is street legal within the entire European Union and North America.


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