Is the Lotus Exige S The Ultimate Lotus?It's small, light and fiercely powerful. The 345bhp Lotus Exige S may just be the best Lotus yet.
Ultimate like sports or premium, it's a word that's thrown around far too often in the automotive world. Detracting from the power of a word that bites very definition means the best achievable or imaginable of its kind. This Lotus Exige is not one of those. Could this be the ultimate Lotus? The Exige has lineage. In the year 2000, the MK1 was released and it came with a fixed hardtop with the scoop up to 192 brake horsepower and it sounded like the god of war blowing his nose. In 2004, a followup was released. It was a pretty angry take on the S2 Elise. It shared this engine with the 111R, but over its life, Lotus added plenty of supercharges and even made a version that ran on cord. But it's not just the looks that make it ultimate. It's the ride. I'm in a fiberglass and aluminum 1200 kilo-ish rocket. This thing is brutally fast. It goes up through the gears. Bang, bang, bang, bang. And the noise is just incredible. It's a 3.5-liter supercharged V6 sitting right behind the head. So, that's no real surprise. The Exige is incredibly [unk]. That's even up here in this nasty greasiness and that is in part, thanks to Lotus's incredible handling engineering, the thing that's world renowned for. But also it has this little switch down here to my left and that basically controls the Exige's electronic brain. It's something of a first for Lotus. Now, you've got four modes. There's touring which is normal, so you're nice and safe. The sport was hero mode as I like to call it, which means you can put it into a corner and [unk] your foot. You've got a little bit of sideways action [unk] this race which, well, that is quite incredible. What it will do is it will get you around the Lotus test circuit more quickly than you would with everything turned off, the fourth mode. What it does? As you go into a corner, you can plant your foot and the car knows how much grip you've got, how much there is to give, and then adjust the throttle for you. You know, also, I wonder whether the tires are actually made out of glue. Let's have a look at some basic numbers, shall we? The Exige S will do more than 62 in just four seconds and also the Exige S will do 170 plus miles an hour. The Exige makes you feel as though you are electrically charged by your inside, a very small plastic and aluminum bullet heading towards the horizon. So, every time you hit the throttle, it's just boom, you hit the horizon, you turn in, hit the throttle, boom, you hit the horizon. This thing is utterly mad. It flatters you. Thanks to its electronic brain. It sounds incredible. It handles amazingly. What a machine! Seriously. I kept running out of track because there's just not enough space to keep this thing going as much as it wants to, it's begging you to speed up as fast as humanly possible. If you're used to driving an Elise, then this won't be a problem for you because all the controls are in the right place, it's not remotely difficult to drive, and the steering can be a touch heavy when you're going slowly, but this thing's weight or lack of it and its extra length make it really probably have amazing steering feedback. You know exactly what the front wheels are doing. You know exactly what they're going over. You know where the rear is. And it's just there's something about the Exige. It lets you know that yes it could happily eat your face clean off and if you turn everything off, it will, but if you trust this electronic brain and if you let it do its thing in the right place, the feeling this gives you is unbelievable. It gives a little tingle down your fingers and then your back and you just know you're driving something incredibly special. It accelerates unbelievably fast and the brakes are really good too. Wooh. Now, I'm gonna leave Hethel today and I'm really sad that I can't take the Exige home with me because even though it's bright green , it's got big vents and looks like something that, you know, people of the 2045 will be driving in everyday. It's just got a certain magic to it and you just know that the time and the passion that's going to making this the very best it can be. It all seeps through and it just infects you in a way that only that kind of thing can do. So, why is this Lotus Exige the Ultimate Lotus? First, because nothing quite makes you feel the way that this thing makes you feel. It's honed, it's taut, and it's [unk], incredibly fast. It feels amazing. Why is it the Ultimate Lotus? It's because it just is.