For those Lotus enthusiasts who can't wait for the replacement Esprit, or just want a harder, faster more focussed track-biased version of the Elise then Lotus has released the second generation Exige; with a maximum power output of 260bhp and 0-60mph can be achieved in less than four seconds.
Four high capacity injectors and an up-rated fuel pump add additional fuel under hard acceleration or continuous high speed driving. A lightweight flywheel is fitted (giving even greater flexibility and response to the gear change), a sports-type clutch plate and heavy duty clutch cover transfer the engine power and torque to the lightweight C64 six-speed gearbox (with an aluminium casing) - with the same perfectly spaced ratios as the Lotus Exige S.
Lotus has had plenty of experience with small capacity turbos with the Vauxhall VXR220 Turbo. Like many blown cars it makes rapid progress but in a series of surges. Lotus, long time masters of emerging technologies, sees no such conflict between the need to clean up its exhausts and the desire of its customers to enjoy themselves. In fact, it sees these aims as entirely complementary, and it has even built a car to prove this. Lotus has adopted this standard engine for the Elise and standard Exige, and it can work as it should.
Fuel economy, at 24 mpg city/29 mpg highway, is quite respectable. Fuel economy is rated at 12.4 and 6.5 liters/100 km (city/highway) - which works out to 19/36 mpg. The combined rating is 8.7 liters/100 km or 27 mpg.
Gear change shift lights similarly remain hidden until required.
Additionally, the Exige runs on Yokohama A048 rubber-pretty much racing slicks with a few grooves-and their grip even on public roads is immense. On dry roads, at least.
You can even specify such niceties as air-conditioning, electric windows, carpets and a digital sound system, not to mention colours such as Chrome Orange or Krypton Green.
Warning symbols are secret until lit, keeping the instrumentation free from visual clutter and distraction until necessary.
On the racing track is where the lightweight, supercharged 09 Exige shines. From the driver's seat the track orientated launch control allows you to determine the engine revs you wish to use during a standing start on the track. Having programmed that limit, it will not be exceeded when you then hold down the throttle and sidestep the clutch at departure from the line.
Lotus says the Exige's aerodynamics and conservative rear spoiler offers a whopping 45kg of down force at 100mph - a figure that rivals thoroughbred racing machines. The fastest Exige S dismisses 0-60mph in 4.1 seconds and reaches 100mph from standstill in 12.8 seconds.
Few vehicles, aside from racing cars, motorbikes and extreme theme-park rides, can pull this amount of g-force under acceleration, braking and cornering. This gives a safe, but fun (even exhilarating) experience that you can only get from such a finely honed sports car. Exige models are in a league of their own being instruments of pure driving bliss.