Lotus Exige S (2012 - ) expert review | Catalog-cars

Lotus Exige S (2012 – ) expert review

27 Aug 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Lotus Exige S (2012 – ) expert review
Lotus Exige

Lotus Exige

S (2012 #8211; ) expert review

By Andy Goodwin, 1st May 2012

The verdict

At first glance the Lotus Exige S may look like a racing car with number plates, but its supple suspension and big V6 engine, actually makes it a terrific road car as well as a rapid track day warrior.

Full Review

3. Practicality

Stop laughing at the back. It’s more day at the races than weekend in St. Tropez.

The boot is located beneath the rear hatch, in a compartment isolated from the engine and is big enough for one large rucksack. For its track-day role, this betters the Ariel Atom, and is not far off a Caterham. But, if you are thinking of the Exige as a Porsche 911 GT3 rival, this lack of space could be an issue for longer trips.

Only its seats adjust (the steering wheel is fixed) and anyone far over six feet tall will struggle to fit inside. Rear visibility is improved over the previous Exige, but parking sensors are welcome as the mirrors are tiny and sitting so low to the ground can make distances hard to judge.

Lotus Exige

4. Ride and handling

It’s simply otherworldly, and you don’t have to possess a racing license to tap into the action. The Exige S is significantly longer and wider than the Elise and has rear suspension inspired by the Lotus Evora. This has given it the stability to carry so much speed it’s simply in a different performance class to the outgoing Exige – a car no one called tardy.

Around Lotus’ own 2.2-mile test track the Exige S is five seconds quicker per lap than the last Exige, a point of difference so vast Bernie Ecclestone could see it from space. If the standard car isn#8217;t awesome enough, you can also specify Lotus’ optional race pack, which stiffens the suspension by around 15 per cent, includes track-orientated tyres (not suitable for wet roads) and adds a ‘Race’ mode to the stability control system.

On the road, this setup is not as extreme as you might think and most surface imperfections fail to upset its composure. Only the heavy unassisted steering and significant wind and tyre roar start to make long trips uncomfortable. Visibility is surprisingly good and the small size and telepathic steering found in the Exige S fills you with confidence.

Instead of being the twitchy and difficult car to drive you might expect, it is in fact approachable and rewarding.

Likewise, don#8217;t think that the Roadster is significantly softer than the coupe. Although it#8217;s true the soft-top car#8217;s suspension has been tweaked to make it more suitable for on-road use, it#8217;s still unquestionably a pure-bred sports car #8211; and still superb to drive.

5. Performance

The engine is the same 3.5-litre supercharged V6 from the Evora S, with 345bhp and 295lb/ft of torque. That gets this Lotus – whether it#8217;s the coupe or roadster – to 62mph in 3.8 seconds (the same as a £110,000 Porsche 911 Turbo) and even more astonishingly, the coupe from zero to 100mph in 8.5 seconds.

A selector knob offers ‘Touring’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Race’ settings to tailor the driving experience to your situation and skill levels. ‘Touring’ quietens the exhaust and does its upmost to keep the car safe and stable, even if you bury the throttle in a wet bend. ‘Sport’ is described by Lotus as the ‘fun’ setting. It opens a valve in the exhaust, makes the engine more responsive and allows for more oversteer before it will intervene. ‘Race’ is contrary to what you might expect.

Rather than making the car even wilder, it uses an advanced new development of stability control co-developed with Bosch to learn the grip of the track or road you are driving on and provide maximum traction. It’s quite uncanny and allows even Lotus’ own pro drivers to lap a circuit faster than they can without it selected. Steer through the corner, hit the apex, nail the throttle and even on a wet or greasy track it will find every ounce of grip and fire you down the next straight.

Lotus Exige
Lotus Exige
Lotus Exige
Lotus Exige
Lotus Exige
Lotus Exige
Lotus Exige
Lotus Exige
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