The Lotus Exige is a high-performance version of the Elise that's available only as a hardtop. The Exige lineup has two models: The S 240 and the higher-performance S 260. Both are marketed to high-performance enthusiasts and are intended mainly for the racetrack. The Exige competes with coupes like the Porsche Cayman S and Audi TTS, but with much more track prowess and less daily-driver friendliness.
New for 2010
The 2010 Exige gets a restyled front end, with larger air intakes to draw more air toward the radiator and oil coolers. Aerodynamic enhancements include a larger front air splitter that extends partially up the front fenders, as well as a larger rear spoiler.
Even though the Exige looks similar to the soft-top Elise, the two sports cars use different sheet metal. Only the door panels are shared. Both are based on the same 150-pound aluminum chassis — featherweight by automotive standards.
- Body-colored rear wing
- Black ground effects aimed to increase down force
- Single exhaust pipe replaces twin pipes in the Elise
- Roof scoop channels air to the mid-mounted engine's intercooler
As with the Elise, only two people fit inside the Exige S. The small steering wheel is barely more than a foot in diameter.
- Composite sport seats come only in black
- LCD screen displays essential information
- Optional leather seats, additional sound insulation, iPod-compatible stereo system and full carpeting
Under the Hood
Lotus says the Exige S 240 scoots from zero to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds and the S 260 makes it in 4.0 seconds. Combined gas mileage for both is in the low 20s, which is atypically high for a car this quick.
- 1.8-liter, supercharged four-cylinder makes 240 horsepower and 170 pounds-feet of torque in the S 240 and 257 hp and 174 pounds-feet in the S 260
- Six-speed manual
- Optional torque-sensing limited-slip differential
- Bilstein shock absorbers and coil-spring suspension
- Launch control feature minimizes wheel spin and clutch wear
- Adjustable traction control can be fine-tuned to vary intervention between zero and 7 percent tire slip, or deactivated entirely
- Standard cross-drilled rotors and twin-piston Lotus/AP Racing brake calipers
- Optional adjustable suspension for shock compression and rebound
- Antilock braking system specially calibrated for delayed actuation, which allows competition-oriented drivers to perform "threshold" braking
- Standard traction control