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Lotus Exige S 2014 review

EXPERT RATING
8
You now have a choice of hard top (coupe) or soft top (roadster) versions of Lotus' Exige S following the arrival of the low slung "drop top" this week.

You now have a choice of hard top (coupe) or soft top (roadster) versions of Lotus' Exige S following the arrival of the low slung "drop top" this week. And they're the same price at $126,990.

Gulp, that's a fair wad of cabbage but when you look at what you get in the sexy two seater -- with supercar performance, it's a bargain.

Design

The Roadster is slightly different to the coupe in dynamic set-up with moderately softer suspension and a more road-oriented feel as well as being 10kg lighter at 1166kg. This is a long way away from previous offerings from the UK sports car specialist some of which tipped the scales at around 800kg.

The engine is "mid mounted" biased more to the rear of the car and is hooked up to the rear wheels through a six-speed close ratio manual 'box.

Powertrain

But the Exige S Roaster makes up for it in the engine department. Gone is the wild, supercharged four-pot Toyota 1.8-litre of previous Exige S models to be replaced by a potent 3.5-litre, supercharged Toyota-sourced V6.

Lotus completely rejigs the (Aurion) engine in conjunction with the blower installation adding their own engine computer and other goodies to make it do what they demand. And that, readers, is called "stand and deliver."

Driving

How does this grab you? A 0-100kmh in 3.9 seconds, arguably better than Porsche steering precision, race level AP brakes, super grippy Pirelli tyres and an extruded box section aluminium chassis with no flex at all. It's the consummate driving enthusiast's car with a raw feel that's fading fast from similar cars, some of which cost tens of thousands more. In comparison to the Lotus, they are not nearly as engaging.

Cornering is sensational and the thing grips the road like a magnet. The engine achieves 257kW/400Nm output and gets going really hard right off idle with no detectable power band, no surge. It's "all go" to the welcome accompaniment of a high pitched exhaust wail from the twin, centre mounted tail pipes.

Biased options 

Some electronic management systems are used including a form of torque vectoring to compliment the three (or optional) four position drive modes that include Touring, Sport and Off. Pay that bit more and you gain Race mode complete with Launch Control, Race Setting and suspension mods. It's well endowed for track day events and club level motor sports...or more.

The body is a type of high-tech resin cladding on what has come to be the Lotus-standard box-section chassis.

Components

High quality proprietary parts adorn every area of the car - Eibach springs, Bilstein dampers, AP brakes, Harrop supercharger, forged alloy wheels, but the interior is fairly basic looking. It's pretty much the same as earlier models from Lotus made slightly more luxurious in the dash department and with other minor tweaks and additions.

The cabin is compact placing the two occupants close together.

The "soft top" comprises about one square metre of vinyl fabric that you roll back manually.

Practicalities 

In practical terms, the Roadster consumes a combined 10.1-litres/100km from a 42 litre tank. The aerodynamics are rated at a surprising Cd41. It has 17-inch front and 18-inch rear tyres.

The "boot" is small and the sports seats are reasonably adjustable. Tall drivers can fit in easily. Four option packs are available to tailor your Exige S Roadster to your liking.

Verdict

Awesome, near Ferrari performance, raw and engaging drive feel, striking looks at a fraction of the price. A credit to the philosophy of Lotus founder Colin Chapman.

Pricing Guides

$75,735
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$70,400
Highest Price
$81,070

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
S 3.5L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $70,400 – 80,960 2014 Lotus Exige 2014 S Pricing and Specs
S 3.5L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $70,510 – 81,070 2014 Lotus Exige 2014 S Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8
Pricing Guide

$70,400

Lowest price, based on third party pricing data

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