2008 Lotus Exige S

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$57,129 — $71,105 USED Shop local deals
(4.0) 2 reviews
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Key Specs
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Overview
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Key Specs

of the 2008 Lotus Exige S. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
    Coupe
  • Combined MPG:
    23 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    220-hp, 1.8-liter I-4 (premium)
  • Drivetrain:
    Rear-wheel Drive
  • View more specs

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Performance potential
  • Handling potential
  • Hard-to-miss styling
  • Racing heritage
  • Gas mileage

The Bad

  • Ride comfort
  • Cramped cockpit
  • Sparse dashboard

Notable Features of the 2008 Lotus Exige S

  • 220- or 240-hp, supercharged four-cylinder
  • New race-spec Exige S 240 and Exige Club Racer
  • Six-speed manual
  • Intended for track driving

2008 Lotus Exige S Overview

By Cars.com Editors
Vehicle Overview
For 2008, the Exige S lineup gets two special editions: The Exige S 240 and a track-tuned Exige S Club Racer. To be sure, even the basic Exige S is a blistering performance car; it's marketed toward high-performance enthusiasts and intended mainly for operation on a racetrack. Other changes for 2008 include new gauges and a tire pressure monitoring system.

Like the Elise roadster with which it shares platforms, the Exige S coupe is built in Britain.


Exterior
Even though the Exige S 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. Both models are flamboyantly styled, and each car's appearance is augmented by a variety of vents and curves — some shapely, others practical in nature.

The Exige S sports a body-colored rear wing and black ground effects aimed to increase downforce. A single exhaust pipe replaces the twin pipes in the Elise, and an updated roof scoop channels air to the mid-mounted engine's intercooler.

Bilstein shock absorbers work with the coil-spring suspension, and cross-drilled rotors and twin-piston Lotus/AP brake calipers are standard. The Club Racer and Exige S 240 have upgraded braking hardware. An optional Track Pack allows drivers to adjust the suspension for shock compression and rebound.

The Exige S 240 sports a new roof, whose design allows more air to re...
Vehicle Overview
For 2008, the Exige S lineup gets two special editions: The Exige S 240 and a track-tuned Exige S Club Racer. To be sure, even the basic Exige S is a blistering performance car; it's marketed toward high-performance enthusiasts and intended mainly for operation on a racetrack. Other changes for 2008 include new gauges and a tire pressure monitoring system.

Like the Elise roadster with which it shares platforms, the Exige S coupe is built in Britain.


Exterior
Even though the Exige S 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. Both models are flamboyantly styled, and each car's appearance is augmented by a variety of vents and curves — some shapely, others practical in nature.

The Exige S sports a body-colored rear wing and black ground effects aimed to increase downforce. A single exhaust pipe replaces the twin pipes in the Elise, and an updated roof scoop channels air to the mid-mounted engine's intercooler.

Bilstein shock absorbers work with the coil-spring suspension, and cross-drilled rotors and twin-piston Lotus/AP brake calipers are standard. The Club Racer and Exige S 240 have upgraded braking hardware. An optional Track Pack allows drivers to adjust the suspension for shock compression and rebound.

The Exige S 240 sports a new roof, whose design allows more air to reach the engine. The Club Racer has black center striping with black detailing on the spoiler and air inlets. Brakes and other components have been optimized for track performance, though the car is still street-legal. Lotus will sell just 20 copies to U.S. customers.

Built on a 90.5-inch wheelbase, the Exige S measures 149.5 inches long overall and is 45.6 inches tall.


Interior
As in the Elise, only two people can fit inside the Exige S. The small steering wheel is barely more than a foot in diameter. An air conditioning-delete option is offered, and composite sport seats come only in black. The instruments have been revised this year to include an LCD screen that displays essential information.

An optional Touring Pack includes leather seats, additional sound insulation, an upgraded stereo system and full carpeting. The Club Racer has embroidered door panels and head restraints, with microfiber upholstery on the seats, doors and center console.


Under the Hood
The supercharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder in the Exige S pumps out 220 horsepower and 165 pounds-feet of torque. Lotus says 80 percent of the torque is available at just over 2,000 rpm, giving the Exige S a flexible power band. In the Exige S 240 and Exige S Club Racer, the engine is tuned to boost output to 240 hp and 170 pounds-feet of torque.

The sole transmission is a six-speed manual. Options include traction control and a torque-sensing limited-slip differential. Meant to distribute power more evenly between the rear tires during competition, the limited-slip differential permits more aggressive acceleration when exiting corners. An engine control system can vary the rpm at which the engine's variable valve timing kicks into motion.

Lotus says the Exige S scoots from zero to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds; the Exige S 240 and Club Racer do it in 4.0 seconds. Combined gas mileage is in the low 20s, atypically high for a car this quick.


Safety
The antilock braking system is specially calibrated for delayed actuation, which allows competition-oriented drivers to perform "threshold" braking. Like all other cars were required to include for 2008, the Exige S now includes a standard tire pressure monitoring system.


2008 Exige S Video

Cars.com's Eric Rossi walks you through the 2008 Lotus Exige S.

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(3.5)
Performance
(4.0)
Interior Design
(3.5)
Comfort
(3.5)
Reliability
(4.5)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

What Drivers Are Saying

(4.0)

Fun.

by Sports car MD from Portland Oregon on March 8, 2010

I have the 2008 S. It is a well balanced car that you can aggressively throw around. A lot of fun to drive and very forgiving. The Exige S is fast, but the top speed could be higher. Don't understand ... Read full review

(4.0)

One good city slicker

by Sports car lover from San Francisco, CA on April 4, 2008

Even thoug the Exige is tiny and has a dissapointing top speed, its very good with handling, and even good with gas too. And you don't even have to give up that many dead presidents either. Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2008 Lotus Exige S currently has 2 recalls

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2008 Lotus Exige S has not been tested.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Exige S received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker