The Lotus Exige is a high-performance version of the Elise that's only available as a hardtop. For 2009, the Exige lineup has two models: The S 240 and a higher-performance S 260. Exige models are marketed toward high-performance enthusiasts and intended mainly for operation on a 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.
The S 260 is lighter and more powerful than the S 240 — more than 50 pounds lighter and with 17 extra horsepower.
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.
- Body-colored rear wing
- Black ground effects aimed to increase downforce
- Single exhaust pipe replaces twin pipes in the Elise
- Roof scoop channels air to the mid-mounted engine's intercooler
- Built on a 90.5-inch wheelbase, the Exige S measures 149.5 inches long overall and 45.6 inches tall. For comparison, a Porsche Cayman S has a 95.1-inch wheelbase and is 171.1 inches long and 51.4 inches tall.
As in the Elise, only two people fit inside the Exige S. The small steering wheel is barely more than a foot in diameter.
- Air conditioning-delete option offered to reduce curb weight
- Composite sport seats come only in black
- LCD screen displays essential information
- S 240's optional Touring Package includes leather seats, additional sound insulation, an upgraded stereo system and full carpeting
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 hp and 170 pounds-feet of torque in the S 240 and 257 hp and 174 pounds-feet in the S 260
- Six-speed manual
- Available torque-sensing limited-slip differential on S 240; standard on S 260
- Bilstein shock absorbers and coil-spring suspension
- Standard cross-drilled rotors and twin-piston Lotus/AP brake calipers
- Optional Track Package allows drivers to adjust the suspension for shock compression and rebound; standard on S 260
- Antilock braking system specially calibrated for delayed actuation, which allows competition-oriented drivers to perform "threshold" braking
- Traction control available on S 240; standard on S 260