Overview & Reviews
Minimalism is the operative word behind the Lotus Exige, a dedicated sports car that will appeal to extreme enthusiasts (and probably few others). The edgy Exige is compact and built purely for ultra-high-performance driving.
Unlike other supercars, the Lotus Exige isn't powered by a massive fire-breathing V8, V10 or V12. A high-revving four-cylinder engine is all that's needed to provide extraordinary performance. This is because of the vehicle's lightweight construction. There are few amenities and little sound dampening. Weight-adding safety features are kept to the absolute minimum. As a result, the Exige makes little sense as a daily driver. But as a performance car where Lotus' mantra of "simplificate, then add lightness" is in full effect, the Exige is simply one of the quickest, most dynamic and exciting cars on the road.
Current Lotus Exige
The Lotus Exige is a hardtop coupe version of the company's Elise roadster available in S240 and S260 Sport trim levels, When the Exige first arrived in America, it was a pleasant surprise. Britain has a long history of building small, lightweight enthusiast sports cars, but for the last quarter-century very few of them have crossed the Atlantic. The Exige is uncompromising to such a degree that it doesn't feel legal, even by exotic car standards.
Underneath the dramatic body shell is a car built for no other purpose than to be driven hard and fast. The rear-wheel-drive sports coupe is lightweight and loud. It seats only two. Even the standard air-conditioning system can be deleted to reduce weight. With the Lotus Exige, it's all about minimizing weight. The body structure is made of aluminum. The trunk is small and there's not much additional storage space. Standard features don't include power controls. And safety features are limited to the absolute minimum, so there are no side airbags or stability control and traction control is optional. Power steering? Forget about it.
The S240 is the more spartan of the two Exiges. Purchasing the optional Touring Pack gets you full carpeting, sound-deadening material, a cupholder and a decent stereo. For the more hard-core, there is the Track Pack, which is equipped with manually adjustable Ohlins dampers and height-adjustable springs. The S260 includes both Touring and Track Packs and also adds a boost in power output, a limited-slip differential, numerous carbon-fiber body panels, a front splitter, a rear spoiler and a carbon-fiber race seat.
The Lotus Exige S240 is powered by a supercharged and intercooled 1.8-liter four-cylinder mounted directly behind the cabin. This engine produces 240 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. The S260 kicks output up to 257 hp and 174 lb-ft of torque. The only transmission available is a six-speed conventional manual. Acceleration is a claimed 0-60-mph blast of 4.5 seconds for the S240, while the S260 is estimated at 4.0 seconds.
In our reviews, we found the Lotus Exige to be one of the most precise-handling cars on the market. It's like a hummingbird on four wheels. It's more of a quick car on a twisty road than a crazy fast car in a straight line. Since it was designed with a road course in mind, stopping and steering are just as important as acceleration. And while it was built to do everything well, it wasn't built for everyone in mind. The ride is harsh, getting in and out is difficult and outward visibility is extremely poor, essentially nonexistent out the back. But for die-hard enthusiasts, there's probably nothing more satisfying to drive.
Used Lotus Exige Models
An earlier Exige (based on the first-generation Elise) was never officially imported, so the Exige arrived in the North American market for 2006. In that first year, only the standard model was available. This featured the same 189-hp version of the Toyota-sourced inline-4 engine found in the Elise, and all the other track-ready handling upgrades found on the current Exige. The supercharged Exige S debuted a year later, with 220 hp and 165 lb-ft of torque.
For 2008, the base model was dropped while an even higher-performance version, the S240, debuted. It included bigger brakes and a larger roof-mounted air scoop than the S. That year also saw a new instrument display with a trip computer fitted to both Exige trims. For 2009, the Exige received a handful of aerodynamic enhancements that included a slightly restyled front end and a larger, low-drag rear wing. Also, upgraded Ohlins dampers were added to the optional Track Pack. That year also saw the introduction of the Exige S260, with its more powerful 257-hp engine, even bigger brakes and an even larger roof-mounted scoop.
The S260 was dropped from the lineup for the 2010 model year, but was reintroduced for 2011. That year also saw the debut of the S260 Sport model, as well as a Roger Becker special edition, honoring the recently retired head of Lotus vehicle engineering.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 12.00
EXIGE S - PURE RACER - 2007 Lotus Exige
By "Mr Lotus" - May 24 - 9:56 am
My 2d season with the '07 (1st year) Exige S. This is a pure race car on or off the track and is built around acceleration, handling and braking - it is arguably the best handling car on the road. This is why a strong driver who knows the car's capabilities can win over other high end cars both American and European. It must be understood that to arrive at the final equation of this car's performance there entailed certain cons built-in. But you must maximize the car's capabilities to overcome its modest top-end when competing with other racers. And get a Valentine 1 or be prepared to get multiple tickets or -- be prepared to ditch the 5.0 as the ol' chap found out last night - not rec.
Great Track Car, If You Can Fit - 2009 Lotus Exige
By DM - September 29 - 11:20 pm
This car excels on the track - fast, great grip, tight steering. This car would be difficult on public roads given the small size, hard suspension, and low center of gravity. The small engine works very well in a car this light. However, it can be very loud and a radio is not going to help. I am 5'6" and find it very difficult getting out of the car. For serious racers, this is a great all-around package. No creature comforts.
And I thought my N/A Exige was HOT! - 2008 Lotus Exige
By Al B, Bach - October 9 - 10:36 pm
Well, this is the second Exige I've bought and for those that thought the S version was hot in 07, this limited 240S for US release in 08 is just outstanding. I'll put this simply, this is the street version track car. Not much has changed overall, unless you count the interior is redone, has the launch capability, better, bigger brakes, 4 piston calipers and (gasp) a cupholder! Now, I didn't think that Lotus could improve the Exige, even with the superchager in 07. I waited since my first one was the first release without the SC. I was going to buy the track version, but heard that I should wait. I'm glad I did... so worth it! This Exige is is the BEST! Words can't describe the feeling
Exige, Mighty Mini Supercar - 2006 Lotus Exige
By Al B Bach - September 9 - 5:36 pm
Exige will take you're breath away. Not a practical utilitarian car by any means. This car car is designed for one purpose: to be driven on back twisty roads where the adrenaline flows through your veins. This is a "me" car that spells out individuality with F1 roots. This car is for serious drivers in a small niche track drivers, car enthusiasts and those that want pure performance without killing the pocket book. From its 150lb chassis to the hand layer fiber body it is definitely worth the wait for an order to be processed for the US market. I waited since 2004 for mine since the first US announcement for ramp up in Nov 2005, delivery was Feb 2006. Only 300 made and I'm glad I got mine.
Incredible car, may be the last car like this ever - 2011 Lotus Exige
By scm6079 - January 30 - 6:53 pm
The Exige is an amazing car that Makes you forget about any shortcomings when you take the next corner. Mine is not a daily driver, and although I love the car there are days you need to carry passengers and cargo. This car is incredibly light weight and a type of car I fear may be dissapearing forever as cars continue to grow in size and weight and even lotus themselves is talking about transforming into a Ferrari competitor with much heavier cars. Although cliche, this car really is a useable go-kart for the street.
Street Legal Race Car - 2008 Lotus Exige
By SanDiegan - March 11 - 12:23 pm
This is my second Lotus. My first was an 05 Elise with 190bhp, a soft top, and standard ("Touring") suspension. My new S240 could not be a more different car. This Exige is serious business. The acceleration is spectacular; when you get on the throttle the supercharger sounds like a jet engine and you quickly become one with the driver's seat. I really enjoyed the handling and cornering of the Elise, but the Exige S240 with the Track Pack is not to be believed. The capability of this car to corner hard with minimal body roll is unlike anything you have experienced before (including 360 Modena's and Gallardo's that I have driven).
You Wear this Car - 2006 Lotus Exige
By gtlotus - May 10 - 3:26 am
The Exige and you become one. You can feel everything that goes on. Every bump, every crack. There are no surprises. This is the best Lotus ever. Colin is smiling!
new lotus owner - 2006 Lotus Exige
By jeff pearce - January 9 - 5:20 pm
I researched this car for a while before I bought it. The car is fantastic to drive. The interior space is comfortable but yes it is somewhat spartan. However, it is a sport car and not a luxury car. The acceleration is crazy fast. The feel of the car while driving is like being part of the car itself. I have the upgraded stereo and the touring package so I can listen to great music and smell the wonderful scent of leather. Imagine a smooth ribbon of highway, the sun on your shoulder and your hands wrapped around a machine that is capable of unleashing a fury of raw energy and you are in command. This car is worth every penny and the few negatives, like high maintenances charges are worth it.
An Amazing Car - But Not For Everyone - 2006 Lotus Exige
By XEEEJ - November 7 - 5:40 am
The Exige is an amazing machine. Steering feel, braking & cornering are all phenomenal. The car is also beautiful to look at while being functional. I love mine, but prospective buyers need to know what they're getting. The car is not for everyone and you have to be willing to deal with its total impracticalities. It's basically a 4 wheel motorcycle. The car is best used on twisty back roads or on track. Commuting or highway cruising is a waste, in my opinion. You have to accept the attention that the car draws. It's a surprisingly comfortable car once inside. Ingress and egress are tricky but get easier with a little practice. Nothing comes close to an Exige for the money.
The most fun on four wheels - 2007 Lotus Exige
By AZExigeS - August 16 - 8:43 pm
The 2007 Lotus Exige S is very quick and handles like its on rails. The only other car I want is a Pagani Zonda. My comments: do NOT buy this car if you want luxury. There is hardly anything inside except bare aluminum. Buy a Cayman S instead. DO buy this car if you are a real enthusiast and intend to take it to the race track on the weekends. This is a race car built by a company with Formula One heritage.