The 2009 Lotus Exige was built to appeal to a very specific audience: driving enthusiasts who want to feel like they're on a racetrack. In fact, given the opportunity, this little car could hold its own against many racecars. It has more than enough pep and spectacular steering responsive to satisfy even the most demanding driver.
That being said, consumers have to sacrifice a lot of things to get this level of performance. The 2009 Lotus Exige's pep largely comes from its light weight. Lotus Cars had to throw out a lot of features to get the car extra skinny. Don't expect a remote starter or a DVD player. Buyers are lucky to get a stereo. Driving the 2009 Lotus Exige should be enough entertainment alone.
Body Styles: Coupe
Engines: 1.8-liter inline four-cylinder
Transmissions: six-speed manual
Models: Exige S 240, Exige S 260 Sport
For 2009, Lotus Cars dropped the Exige S model, and the S 260 Sport model is lighter and more powerful than before.
The 2009 Lotus Exige gets a lot of hype because of its high performance and handling standards, but most drivers are attracted to the car's awesome exterior design. Even though the Exige is extremely small, it still stands out in traffic. This little coupe has the look of a European sports car. Whether drivers are hauling down the interstate or sitting still in a traffic jam, they can feel as cool as James Bond sitting in an Exige.
Don't expect a lot of fluff from the 2009 Lotus Exige. Lotus Cars intentional eliminates unneeded features to make its cars lighter. After all, lighter means faster. The 2009 Lotus Exige S 240 does come with few attractive features, though, including air-conditioning, power locks and windows, and a four-speaker Alpine stereo. The S 260 Sport has those features plus the interior options that come with the Touring Pack, which includes iPod connectivity, more sound insulation, black leather upholstery, and a cup holder.
Even when you add the Touring Pack, the interior is quite sparse. Take the 2009 Lotus Exige for a test drive, and you will know what a car's tires feel like. Racecar drivers stay connected to the road by feeling every imperfection. They don't want a smooth, quiet ride; they want to know the road's every detail. That's what the 2009 Lotus Exige gives them. Some might call it a lot of noise. Car enthusiasts, however, will call it the only way to drive seriously.
Without the extra sound insulation, consumers have to wonder why Lotus Cars even includes an Alpine stereo. In many cases, the road noise will drown out any music they turn on. They could blast their music at full volume, but it eliminates the point of hearing and feeling the road pass underneath them.
This claustrophobic, noisy, rumbling interior isn't for everyone. But then again, it isn't supposed to be.
Performance & Handling
The 2009 Lotus Exige has excellent performance and handling. The Exige S 240 offers 240 horsepower and 165 lb-ft of torque. The Exige S 260 Sport has a little more power with 257 hp and 174 lb-ft of torque. This might not sound all that impressive to drivers used to SUVs and heavy trucks. In fact, 257 hp is more than enough power for this lightweight car. It has enough pep to hit 60 mpg from zero in just over four seconds.
The car's tight suspension and responsive steering gives it dreamlike handling, which consumers will need for a car this small and quick.
The 2009 Lotus Exige is about performance, not safety. After all, more safety features would just add weight to this roadster. If federal mandates require a safety feature, then the 2009 Lotus Exige has it, which means that it only has anti-lock brakes and traction control.
EPA Fuel Economy
Exige S 240: 20/26 mpg city/highway
Exige S 260 Sport: 20/26 mpg city/highway
- A focus on no-holds-barred performance
- Connection between driver and road
- Decent fuel efficiency
- Sharp steering
You Won't Like
- Claustrophobic interior with few features
- Difficult to enter and exit
- Rough ride
- Lots of road noise
- Poor outward visibility
- Few mechanics can service the Exige properly
A car all about performance and appearances.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Lotus Elise
- Jaguar XKR
- Nissan GT-R
- Porsche 911
- Audi R8