In 2004, the Series 2 Exige was introduced. It features a naturally aspirated 1.8 L 16-valve DOHC Toyota/Yamaha engine that produces 190 bhp (142 kW; 193 PS) with the Toyota engine designation of 2ZZ-GE. Compared to the Series 2 Elise, it has a front splitter, fibreglass hardtop roof with roof scoop, rear engine cover, and rear spoiler. The sole purpose of these aerodynamic additions to the base Elise is to create more downforce (almost 100 pounds (45 kg) of downforce at 100 mph (160 km/h) in the Exige versus 13 lb (5.9 kg) at 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) in the Elise).
In February 2005, Lotus announced a limited production run of 50 Exiges, using the Toyota engine with a supercharger. This increased the power output to 243 bhp (181 kW; 246 PS). These vehicles were only available in yellow or black, representing the colours of Lotus Sport, and are badged 240R. They have a projected 0-60 mph (0–100 km/h) time of 3.9 seconds and 0-100 mph (0–160 km/h) of 9.9 seconds, with a top speed of 155 mph (249 km/h) at a cost of £44,000.
The North American Exige was unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show in January 2006.