Lotus Exige Review
The Lotus Exige is a blindingly fast and visceral sports car armed with great looks, but poor equipment and a noisy cabin make it difficult to live with every day.
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- Aggressive looks
- Very fun to drive
- Great performance
What's not so good
- Dated interior
- Tiring over long distances
Lotus Exige: what would you like to read next?
The Lotus Exige is a stripped-back sports car that could potentially lure you away from such alternatives as the Porsche 718 Cayman and Jaguar F-Type.
Part of that temptation stems from those looks – the exterior of the Exige is marvellous on the eyes. Those headlights have the mean scowl of any quintessential racer. Its boxy grille is contrasted by sweeping curves throughout the entire bodywork and sleek, slashing vents in the doors and sides. And let’s not overlook that impressively giant spoiler!
But the same compliments cannot be extended to the car’s interior. While the outside of the Exige is breathtakingly well-executed, inside, it is the dictionary definition of ‘barebones’. The low height and short, narrow doorways opening make it tricky to get into the driver’s seat. Nothing feels remotely comfortable and this impression continues as you realise that the Exige has few interior features. There’s a radio, manual heating system and… no, that’s pretty much it.
The Lotus Exige is loud, uncomfortable and expensive. But show it a racetrack and you’ll be having too much fun to care!
That said, this is a sports car! So, what’s it like to drive? Happily, the Exige is excellent. Its responsiveness and tight grip are addictive, while its roaring engine sounds superb. In briefer bursts, the Exige is near-perfect – however, on longer motorway journeys, the extremely noisy cabin and firm suspension will soon wear you down.
Speaking of engines, the Exige range gives you three to choose from. Every version of the car gives you a 3.5-litre, V6, petrol with manual transmission. The base Sport 350 trim has 345hp, goes from 0-60mph in 3.7 seconds and can reach up to 170mph. The Sport 410 is a lighter, leaner and supercharged beast, packing 410hp, a top speed of 180mph and a 0-60mph time of 3.3 seconds. Finally, at the top-of-the-range is the Sport 430 has – you guessed it – 430hp, shaving off 0.1 seconds over the 410.
Admittedly, the Lotus Exige is more expensive than the F-Type or 718 Cayman, which both feel more comfortable and include more equipment as standard. However, for drivers that want to experience pure adrenaline, the Exige could prove a very worthwhile investment.