There was so much "like the 4c" in your post I'm wondering if you already have, or would consider just getting a 4c
I won't lie, a 4C is definitely a contender for my next toy, whenever I can get around to buying another. That said, it was just the car that was on my mind and since it had many of the features I'd like to see, it made sense to bring it up. I loved my Exige and I miss it daily. We sold it because of another opportunity that came up which we could not pass. I like where the design language Lotus has been using is heading and for some reason, I want nothing more than to have another British car, I just find them to have a certain "je ne sais quois" that nothing else I've had (or can afford) carries with it.
I like small, power plants that come boosted from the factory because it is easier and cheaper to get a quick aftermarket power boost via a tune than it is to install an entire turbo or SC system. I like smaller cars and specifically light, small cars, that don't have to rely on brute force to be fast (note I said "have to rely on" meaning if they've got 600+ hp I'd love it but I don't want it to HAVE to have 600+ hp to perform). And as far as transmissions go, my wife could drive a DCT/PDK but not a traditional manual. She has no desire to learn to drive a stick. I want a car that both of us can enjoy even if I am that one that enjoys it more often
Also, I've had plenty of stick shifts, I'd like the next car to have flappy paddles. If I want unfettered driver involvement, I'll get on one of the motorcycles.
Lastly, lets be honest for a moment. To sell well in the US, it is going to have to cater to more than just the Lotus purists. The population at large wants amenities like automatic transmissions or at least clutchless shifting, ABS, power-steering, air conditioning, a good stereo, and horsepower & torque. 0-60 times may not be overly important in the grand scheme of a good track car but in the US it is practically THE measure of the value of a sports car.