Reviewed – Lotus Exige Roadster

5 Jun 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Reviewed – Lotus Exige Roadster
Lotus Exige

DRIVEN: Lotus Exige Roadster

Could the new Exige Roadster be the best Lotus on sale at the moment? We spent 24 hours with one to find out.

T he Lotus Exige is a bit of a performance icon, an Elise on steroids with race car looks. Not any more though, the Exige has become longer and heavier but more powerful. Its looks have also mellowed slightly along the way.

The Roadster takes this evolution one stage further. Not only is the roof gone but so too has the rear wing and front splitter. Has the Exige gone soft?

Well not really. Its looks may have evolved but in the flesh it is a stunning car and certainly has presence. The gunmetal grey with red leather of our test car perfectly compliments what has become a more mature car.

When I tested the Elise earlier in the year I revelled in the #8216;look at me#8217; paint scheme but in this Exige it feels right to be a little more understated. That being said people will certainly hear you coming thanks to the wonderful exhaust note coming from behind you.

Once on the move the Exige is traditional Lotus. Exquisite steering feel with razor sharp turn-in allow you to get the most from any corner. Through each corner the grip is superb and each straight is despatched with a flex of your right ankle.

There is some understeer present if not driven correctly but this is easily remedied with a healthy dose of throttle.

What is different about the new Exige compared to older ones and the Elise is the added length. You also feel the added weight of the engine acting like a pendulum behind you. Not that it is a bad thing. The rear feels more progressive than ever before.

Given a track and several sets of tyres I#8217;m sure I could be hanging the back end of the Exige out like a pro.

Lotus Exige

Inside the Exige Roadster things have moved on too. The interior may look familiar but the quality is much improved. Our test car came with the optional stunning red leather and it added a dose of drama and luxury to the sparse cabin.

Not so much that it stopped being an Exige but enough to make wonder if this could be my dream daily run-around, at least until I start having to be responsible. The test car also came without the optional Race Pack seen on most Exige S V6 coupes. This is no bad thing as the Race Pack only comes into its own on the track and the Roadster is meant for the road.

The Exige Roadster powered by the same Supercharged 3.5L Toyota-sourced V6 that is found in the Coupe version and the Evora S. This gives the open-top Exige a 0-60 of 3.8 seconds and will send it onto a limited 145mph (This is to stop the roof peeling off at speed). Plenty of performance and it feels almost criminal on the road. It has to have every comparable car beat for sheer drama. We tried the Boxster S earlier in the year and it doesn#8217;t have half of the appeal of the Roadster.

In so many ways the Porsche is better and it does feel more evolved but the Exige is the one I#8217;d rather get up on Sunday morning to drive for the sheer hell of it.

Summary

The Exige Roadster is just like the Coupe in the sense that it is more than the sum of its parts. The Platform isn#8217;t new, neither is the recipe but somehow it feels fresh and current whilst feeling like nothing else on sale. The fact that the roof has gone just makes for a more enjoyable experience. The slightly softer set-up improves on-road manners and improvements in quality make the Lotus feel worth its price tag.

Overall the Exige Roadster is a superb piece of kit and shows what Lotus is capable of despite political uncertainty. Hopefully with the brighter future Lotus appears to have, we will see many more great cars coming from Lotus.

Lotus Exige
Lotus Exige
Lotus Exige
Lotus Exige
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